If you already have a sense of where you're headed, check with the airlines about whether to get a hard or soft-sided crate.
Start crate training (for more on this, see here for a dog or here for a cat). Ultimately, the goal is to give your pet good associations with the crate so that he feels comfortable spending some time there. So, keep the treats coming.
HSUS recommends crate training for at least a month beforehand, if possible.
Getting the right documents
So now that you've got the gear, and your pet is finally warming up to the idea of becoming an expat, it's time to research the destination country's requirements. Check out this resource from Pet Relocation, which keeps country requirements updated weekly. Then, visit the vet for a few key documents and discuss any health-related questions you have with your vet.
1. The rabies vaccine. Even if your pet has had a rabies vaccine in the past, you'll need to make sure it's in the right timeframe before you depart.
For instance, if you're thinking of moving to Canada, the rabies vaccination must be more than 30 days old but not more than 1 year old, if you got your pet a one-year vaccination, and not more than 3 years old if he got a 3-year vaccination.
2. International health certificate. To get your furry family member ready to be an expat, you'll need to get him a special health certificate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
An international health certificate for your pet must be filled out by an accredited veterinarian, and then endorsed by one of the USDA's veterinary services area offices.
But that's just to get your pet out of the U.S.
"Your destination may have other specific health requirements for entry of animals," the USDA explains. "These requirements are established by the importing country, not the United States."
3. Printed health records. It's a good idea, even with the health certificate, to bring a printed copy of your pet's health records, should any questions or concerns come up. And some places require it, on top of the international health certificate - even Canada.
4. Microchipping and ID tags. While not all countries will require microchipping, some places, like Canada, recommend it. Microchipping, even if you aren't traveling, is something you should do anyway.
ID tags are also a good idea, in case the unthinkable happens and your pet gets lost, especially during flights.
The HSUS says to get a collar that can't get caught in crate doors and make sure it has your name and an address and telephone number where you can be reached. The HSUS also recommends bringing a current photo of your pet along with you, especially if he has to travel in the cargo hold.