Find Out How to Move Cold-Blooded Pets

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How to Move Cold-Blooded Pets

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Unlike furry animals deemed by society to have real feelings (see all dogs and cats), moving cold-blooded pets may seem less stressful to the animal, but is perhaps even more nerve-wracking to them because you cannot provide comfort like you would to a warm-blooded mammal.

However, there are ways to reduce stress when moving with your cold-blooded pals that don't involve belly rubs or soothing words.

Look up pet travel regulations

First things first, confirm that you can actually transport your pet between provinces/territories or overseas depending on where you're moving to.

Different areas have different regulations and before making the move, ensure that you're allowed to actually transport your pet.

Prep for the move

If you choose to move your animal outside of their normal habitat, get them adjusted to their carrying crate or container (preferably one which is difficult to escape from) several weeks in advance and keep their eating schedule as normal as possible.

To limit the stress on your pet even further, begin moving preparations as close to their actual transportation time as possible. Chances are they will be confused and bewildered by this transition so limit their travel time as much as you're able.

Right before moving them:
  • Remove any and all obstacles from their cage or tank that could damage them during travel (hanging plants, moveable rocks, etc.)
  • Drape the tank/container in a heavy sheet or towel to minimize extreme weather and to reduce their stress levels
    • Take care to still maintain ventilation in spite of the aforementioned step
  • When moving an animal that requires moisture, make sure to layer the bottom of their tank or crate with wet towels

Travelling by car

As with other pets during a move, cold-blooded animals need to be transported in a well-ventilated, temperature-controlled environment such as your car -- even more so than their warm-blooded animal friends. Never place them in your moving truck, as this is cruel to the animal and against most moving company's regulations.

When travelling via car:
  • Place your pet in a stable and secure area where they won't be jostled too much
  • Keep heat or air conditioning at a comfortable temperature for their well being (this is of course dependent on the type of animal)
  • When stopping at a rest stop, be quick and eat in the car with your cold-blooded friend
    • Keep the car running to maintain a temperature controlled environment
    • Don't lengthen their move unnecessarily with more breaks than is needed
When travelling with your pet long distance, be more cautious of their stress levels and well being. When stopping for the night, confirm that the hotel or motel allows pets. Assuming they do, bring your pet inside with you and return their tank to the way it was before your move, sticking to their regular feeding schedule.

Travelling by mail

Sure it may not sound very glamorous, but sending your cold-blooded pet through Canada Post is also another option available to you if you are travelling over long distances. It should be noted however that the CP is not liable for anything that may happen to your pet during the travel process.
  • Accepted animals - animals that don't omit noxious odours, worms, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snails and tadpoles
  • Non-accepted animals - snakes, turtles, baby alligators, caimans or any warm-blooded animal
When mailing cold-blooded animals:
  • They must be free of disease
  • They have to be mailed using Expedited Parcel or Regular Parcel services through the Canadian Post
    • These services can only be used between April 1 and October 31
    • Animals must reach their destination time within 3 consecutive business days (not counting weekends or statutory holidays)
  • Boxes must be clearly labelled: "Live Small Cold-Blooded Non-Poisonous Animal Specimen"
  • The animal has to be smaller than 25 centimeters
  • It cannot require water, food or attention while travelling through the mail system

Travelling by plane

In addition to transporting cold-blooded animals by car and mail service, most airlines will also allow your pet to be shipped as cargo during a flight. Check with your airline first to learn their policies as all companies have different guidelines.

When choosing this option (which is more expensive than sending them via mail but ultimately less stressful), label your pet's carrier, noting that there is a live animal inside that requires a well-ventilated environment that is kept at room temperature.

After your move

Once you have made it to your new home (regardless of the means), immediately find a quiet, temperature-controlled spot for your cold-blooded friend away from the hustle and bustle of the moving process.

Set their home up in the way they are accustomed, refill their water dish and just let them be as they need to recover from the long ordeal they just underwent.

Only after they begin acting normal and readjust to their routine may you start changing around their habitat.

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on July 1, 2014 - Moving Expert
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