The Pet Food Ingredient Game

About 25 years ago I began formulating pet foods at a time when the entire pet food industry seemed quagmire and focused on such things as protein and fat percentages without any real regard for ingredients. Since boot leather and soap could make a pet food with the “ideal” percentages, it was clear that analytical percentages do not end the story about pet food value. I was convinced then, as I am now, that a food can be no better than the ingredients of which it is composed. Since this ingredient idea has caught on in the pet food industry, it has taken on a commercial life that distorts and perverts the meaning of the underlying philosophy of food quality and proper feeding practices. Is health reducible to which ingredients a commercial product does or does not have? As contradictory as it may seem to what I have just said, no it is not. Here’s why.AAFCO ApprovalThe official Publication of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) gives wide latitude for ingredients that can be used in animal foods. As I have pointed out in my book, The Truth About Pet Foods, approved ingredients can include*:dehydrated garbageundried processed animal waste productspolyethylene roughage replacement (plastic)hydrolyzed poultry feathershydrolyzed hairhydrolyzed leather mealpoultry hatchery by-productmeat meal tankagepeanut hullsground almond shells(*Association of American Feed Control Officials, 1998 Official Publication)Simultaneously, this same regulatory agency prohibits the use of many proven beneficial natural ingredients that one can find readily available for human consumption such as bee pollen, glucosamine, L-carnitine, spirulina and many other nutraceuticals. It would be easy to conclude that reason does not rule when it comes to what officially can or cannot be used in pet foods.From the regulators’ standpoint, they operate from the simplistic nutritional idea that the value of food has to do with percentages and that there is no special merit to any particular ingredient. They deny the tens of thousands of scientific research articles proving that the kind of ingredient and its quality can make all the difference in terms of health. They also are silent about the damaging effect of food processing and the impact of time, light, heat, oxygen and packaging on nutritional and health value.The 100% Complete MythConsumers are increasingly becoming alert to the value of more natural foods. Everyone intuitively knows that the closer the diet is to real, fresh, wholesome foods, the better the chance that good health will result. Unfortunately, people do not apply this same common sense to pet foods. Instead they purchase “100% complete” processed foods, perhaps even going the extra mile and selecting “super premium” or “natural” brands, thinking they are doing the best that can be done. They surrender their mind to a commercial ploy (100% completeness) and do to their pets what they would never do to themselves or their family – eat the same packaged product at every meal, day in and day out. No processed food can be “100% complete” because there is not a person on the planet who has 100% knowledge of nutrition. The claim on its face is absurd. Understanding this simple principle is more important than any pet food formulation regardless of the merits of its ingredients. Everything that follows will begin with that premise, i.e., no food should be fed exclusively on a continuous basis no matter what the claims of completeness or ingredient quality.Genetics Is The KeyPets need the food they are biologically adapted to. It’s a matter of context. Just as a fish needs to be in water to stay healthy, a pet needs its natural food milieu to be healthy. All creatures must stay true to their design. What could be more obvious or simple? For a carnivore the correct genetic match is prey, carrion and incidental fresh plant material, and even some fur and feathers, as well as the occasional surprise of unmentionables found in decaying matter. It’s not a pretty picture to think that “FiFi” with her pink bow and polished toenails would stoop to such fare, but that is precisely the food she is designed to eat. Since that is her design, matching food to that design (minus the more disgusting and unnecessary elements) is also the key to her health.The Disease PriceWe may prefer to feed a packaged, sterile, steam- cleaned, dried, farinaceous chunk cleverly shaped like a pork chop, but let’s not kid ourselves, that is not the food a pet is designed for….regardless of the claims about ingredients on the label making one think it is five-star restaurant fare. Pets may tolerate such food for a time, but in the end nature calls to account. The price to be paid is lost health in the form of susceptibility to infections, dental disease, premature aging, obesity, heart and organ disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other cruel and painful chronic degenerative diseases. Because our pets are not out in the rigors of nature where they would quickly succumb to such conditions and end their misery, they languish in our protected homes and under veterinary care that does not usually cure but merely treats symptoms and extends the time of suffering. That suffering begins with the way in which we are feeding our pets, not the ingredients in a supposed 100% complete pet food.The Perfect FoodWhat is the solution? It is simple and something I have been preaching for the past 25 years. Return pets to their environmental roots. They need – daily – interesting activity, fresh air, clean water, romps in nature, lots of love, and food as close to the form they would find in the wild as possible. Fresh, whole natural foods fit for a carnivore and fed in variety are as good as it can get. Anything less than that is a compromise. Compromise the least if health is the goal. (Same principle applies to you and your family.) To get a packaged food as close as possible to that goal requires the right starting philosophy of feeding (described above) and the expertise to design and manufacture such foods.Enter The ProfiteersElements of these principles (often distorted or misunderstood) have been taken up by an endless line of pet food entrepreneurs. The low fat craze led to low fat pet foods. The high fiber craze led to high fiber pet foods. The “no corn, wheat or soy” craze led to no corn, wheat or soy pet foods. The “omega- 3” craze led to pet foods with fish oil. The “variety” craze led to pet foods supposedly offering variety. The “four food groups” craze led to all four bundled into a package. The “raw” craze has led to raw frozen pet foods. The list is endless and the race for pet owner dollars is at a fever pitch.One can only feel sympathy for a concerned pet owner as they stroll along the huge array of pet food options in pet food aisles. Unfortunately, armed with only sound bites and lore they may have heard from a friend, breeder, veterinarian or on a commercial, they make choices that not only do not serve the health of their pet but may directly contribute to weakened immunity and disease.The first thing consumers should keep in mind is the ideal diet for pets as described above. No packaged product regardless of its wild claims is ever going to equal that. The next best thing is to home prepare fresh meals. (Contact Wysong for recipes and instruction.) If that is not always possible, then products should be selected that are as close to the ideal as possible. (More suggestions below.)Raw Frozen Pet Food DangersAt first glance, considering the perfect feeding model I have described – raw, natural, whole – the best food may seem to be one of the raw frozen pet foods now clamoring to capture the “raw” craze. I’m sorry to say that some of these purveyors even use my books and literature to convince pet owners that their frozen products are on track. They take bits and pieces of good information and distort it into something that pretty much misses the point and misleads consumers. Also, these exotic frozen mixtures of ingredients of unknown origin, manufacturing and freezing conditions are most certainly not economical nor the best choice. They may, because of the water content and raw state, be outright dangerous.Human GradeThen there are claims about “USDA approved” ingredients, “human grade” ingredients and ingredients purchased right out of the meat counter at the grocery store. Again, at first glance – and superficiality is what marketers like to deal with – it may seem that such foods would have merit over others. But such labels only create a perception of quality. People would not consider the food pets are designed for in the wild – whole, raw prey and carrion – “human grade” or “USDA approved.” Because something is not “human grade” does not mean it is not healthy or nutritious. For example, chicken viscera is not “human grade” but carries more nutritional value than a clean white chicken breast. Americans think that chicken feet would not be fit for human consumption but many far eastern countries relish them. On the other hand, “human grade” beef steaks fed to pets could cause serious nutritional imbalances and disease if fed exclusively. Pet foods that create the superficial perception of quality (USDA, human grade, etc.) with the intent of getting pet owners to feed a particular food exclusively is not what health is about.Pet Nutrition Is Serious Health SciencePet nutrition is not about marketing and who can make the most money quickly. Unfortunately an aspiring pet food mogul off the street can go to any number of private label manufacturers and have a new brand made. These manufacturers have many stock formulas that can be slightly modified to match the current market trend. Voilà! A new pet food wonder brand is created.Pet foods are about pet nutrition, and nutrition is a serious health matter. There is an implied ethic in going to market with products that can so seriously impact health. But the ethic is by and large absent in the pet food industry. Starting with the 100% claim and on to all the fad driven brands that glut the shelves, health is not being served. Nobody other than our organization is teaching people the principles I am discussing here. Instead, companies headed by people with no real technical, nutritional, food processing or health skills put themselves out to the public as serious about health … because that is what the public wants to hear and what sells. Never mind whether producers really understand or can implement healthy principles. The façade sells and selling is the game. Ingredients are important, true, but not less important than the expertise and principles of the producer who is choosing them, preparing, storing, processing and packaging them. Consumers place a lot of trust that nondescript processed nuggets are what consumers are being led to believe they are. Many a slip can occur between the cup and the lip. There are many slips that can occur between the cup of commercial claims and what ends up in the lips of the pet food bowl.Consumer BlameThe consumer is not without guilt in this unfortunate – steady diet of processed pet food – approach to pet feeding. They want everything easy and inexpensive. They don’t want to learn or have to expend too much effort, and they want something simple to base decisions on like: “corn, wheat and soy are evil,” or “USDA approved,” or “human grade” or “organic is good.” They also want something for nothing and think they can get it in a pet food. People want prime choice meats, organic and fresh foods all wrapped up tidy in an easy open, easy pour package, hopefully for 50 cents a pound. They may even pay $1 or a little more if the producer can convince them about how spectacular their product is or how much cancer their pet will get if they choose another brand.Are By-Products Evil?In the processing of human foods there are thousands of tons of by-products that cannot be readily sold to humans. Does that make them useless or even inferior? No. Such by-products could include trimmings, viscera, organs, bones, gristle and anything else that humans do not desire. Should these perfectly nutritious items be buried in a landfill? As I mentioned above, while Earth’s resources continue to decline and people starve around the globe, should we feed our pets only “human grade” foods and let perfectly edible – and sometimes even more nutritious – by-products go to waste? How is that conscionable or justifiable for either the consumer or the producer?Road Kill and Euthanized PetsThis shift to “human grade” for pet foods is partly due to a variety of myths that have gotten much stronger legs than they deserve. Lore has spread in the marketplace that road kill and euthanized pets are used in pet foods. I have never seen the proof for this outrageous claim and after twenty years surveying ingredient suppliers I have never found a supplier of such. However, fantastic myths easily get life and the more fantastic they are the more life they have. It’s the intellectually lazy way and what lies at the root of so much misery. Sloppy superficial thinking is what leads to racism, sexism, religious persecution and wars. People would like to think the world is sharply divided into right-wrong, good-evil, black-white. Marketers capitalize on this by trying to create such sharp distinctions for consumers to easily grab on to: human grade = good/all others = evil; organic = right/all others = wrong; rice = white/corn and wheat = black. Such simplistic and naïve distinctions are quick and simple for advertisers and salespeople to use to sway public opinion. But nobody stepping back and using common sense would ever think that something as complex as health could ever come from what is or is not in a processed bag of food. Reality is not black or white; it is in shades of gray. Grayness requires some knowledge, judgment and discernment before making choices. It’s a little more work but is what we all must do if the world is ever to be a better place and people and pet health are to improve.What To DoHow do concerned pet owners wanting to cut through all the marketing clutter negotiate a path? It is very simple if the basic principles I have discussed above are kept in mind. Here are tips on how to implement an intelligent health and feeding philosophy:1. Learn how to feed fresh food. Alternate these with honest processed foods fed in variety, and complement these foods with well- designed supplements.[How To Apologize To Your Pet]
http://www.wysong.net/PDFs/apology_pamphlet.pdfDon’t get all particular and paranoid about balancing nutrients and ingredient do’s and don’ts. Rotate, vary, mix it up and fast once in a while. Trust in nature, not some marketing hype. (Use the same principles for yourself and your family if you want optimal health as well.)2. If you must have human grade or organic foods for your pet, go buy the real thing at the grocery meat counter. Take it home, cut it up and feed it raw. Freeze the remainder into small meal portions and use them for subsequent meals. Don’t turn your brain off and go buy “organic” or “human grade” pet foods that for their cost could only contain hints of the real thing. Pet food manufacturers may be clever at marketing, but they are not magicians. One thing is certain; they do not buy ingredients and then sell them to you for less than what they buy them for.3. Use appropriately designed supplements such as Call Of The Wild™ and Wild Things™ to balance raw meals and help make them safe if you are not skilled at such meal preparation.4. The best raw, processed food alternative to fresh foods from the grocer is non-thermally processed dry foods – not raw frozen ones. (See Wysong Archetype™.) Use this food for alternate meals and as top dressing to heat processed foods.5. Check the credentials of the person making the decisions in the company whose products you buy. Don’t go to a plumber for brain surgery and don’t expect serious healthy products from business people.6. Steer away from brands that are pushing any particular hot buttons such as “natural,” “no by- products,” exotic ingredients (quail eggs, watermelon, persimmons, etc.), organic, omega-3, rice and the like. Although these features may bring some merit to a food (if they are put in at other than “pinch” levels), they are not an end in themselves and if the packaged food is fed exclusively can cause more harm than good.7. Steer away from brands that fear monger. For example, there is the no corn or wheat scam – “buy our brand; it has no corn or wheat.” (Just saying a product has “no” something is enough to scare the non-thinking public to the brand that doesn’t have the boogeyman ingredient. Profiteers know this and play it to the hilt in the pet food industry.) The truth is, grains are put in dried nugget foods because they contain the starch necessary for the extrusion process. Starch is pretty much starch regardless of whether it comes from corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, millet or whatever. Grains also help decrease the cost of pet foods. They contribute some nutrition but in a properly formulated meat-based pet food the majority of the nutritional value comes from the meat. It is true that animals may develop allergy to corn or wheat but that can happen with rice or any other grain or ingredient as well. Problems are prevented by varying the diet. That is why Wysong has developed the range of formulations it has and puts them in small portion packs so the foods can be rotated. Of all the Wysong formulations, the ones with corn are chosen on almost a 5:1 ratio over all others and are the diets we receive the thousands of raves about, even in those pets supposedly allergic to corn![Wysong Testimonials][http://www.wysong.net/testimonials.shtml]This is not to tout the merit of corn, or any grain in pet food for that matter. They are sort of a necessary evil in dried extruded foods and any of them can bring some benefit if rotated in the diet.8. Do not feed any product exclusively. Variety is the spice of nutrition and the road to good health.9. Features to look for in a packaged product would be those that bring the product close to the raw-whole-fresh-natural standard described above: active enzymes, probiotics cultures, natural preservation and protection against food-borne pathogens, proper packaging, intelligent formulation and balance, micronutrient dense, freshly produced, fresh ingredients – and the expertise to do all of this, not just say so on a package or brochure. (Some brands trying to get on the raw food bandwagon make outright false claims about “cold” processing.)10. The company should be able to intelligently explain what they are doing in terms of processing, packaging, product preservation and prevention of food-borne pathogens. It is one thing to simply put a certain ingredient into a food, quite another to protect it until it is consumed. For example, Wysong owns its own manufacturing facilities in order to go beyond industry standard techniques. Special portion pack, light- and oxygen- barrier bags, modified atmosphere flush and natural ingredients to prevent oxidation and food- borne pathogens are part of all Wysong products. (See technical monographs on Packaging, Antioxidants and Wyscin™.)11. Most important, learn. Support a company that helps you learn the truth and teaches you how to be at least somewhat independent of commercial products. Demand that producers provide proof for their claims in the form of good logic, evidence and science. Try to discern the company’s true motives, your pocketbook or your pet’s health. Learn how to go beyond The Pet Food Ingredient Game.Wysong R. L. (1993). Rationale for Animal Nutrition. Midland, MI: Inquiry Press.Wysong, R. L. (2002, June 19). Why Modern Medicine is The Greatest Threat to Health. The Wysong e-Health letter. Wysong Institute, Midland, MI.[The Wysong e-Health letter]
[http://www.wysong.net/health/hl_884.shtml]Wysong, R. L. (2002). The Truth About Pet Foods. Midland, MI: Inquiry Press.Wysong, R. L. (2004). Nutrition is a Serious Health Matter: The serious responsibility of manufacturing and selling. Midland, MI: Inquiry Press.Wysong, R. L. (2004). The Thinking Person’s Master Key to Health (60 Minute CD Discussion) Wysong Institute, Midland, MI.Wysong, R. L. (2005). Comparing Pet Foods Based Upon What Matters: The First Study of its Kind in the Pet Food Industry. Midland, MI: Inquiry Press.Wysong, R. L. & Savant, V. (2005). The Case AGAINST Raw Frozen Pet Foods. Midland, MI: Inquiry Press.For further reading, or for more information about, Dr Wysong and the Wysong Corporation please visit http://www.wysong.net or write to [email protected] For resources on healthier foods for people including snacks, and breakfast cereals please visit [http://www.cerealwysong.com].

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Moving Guide: Moving with Pets

Americans and their loved pets move on average every seven years. If you have a pet or pets, remember that they also experience stress, particularly from moving. In many cases, moving can be even more stressful on pets, as the home is their habitat. Pets can also become very frightened when faced with unfamiliar situations. Careful organization and planning can make the moving process easier and less stressful for both you and your pet. Our guide offers tips and advice to help you and your pet through this process.Pet travel warningo Never move a sick pet – the move may aggravate his symptoms and be dangerous to his health.o The Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to transport puppies and kittens less than eight weeks old by air.o Pets cannot be moved on a moving van with your household belongings.o Pets are generally not allowed on trains or buses, unless they’re guide-dogs accompanying blind or otherwise impaired persons.o Book a direct flight if you are traveling by plane. If your pet is traveling in freight he may be sitting outside with the freight for a long period of time between flights and as the freight is being moved from plane to plane. If the weather is either too hot or too cold your pet will suffer. An insulated crate will certainly help this situation if it cannot be avoided.Air TransportYou may transport your pet by air either accompanying you or as air freight. Some airlines provide counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee. Remember, not all airlines accept pets for transportation, so be sure to inquire when you are making your travel arrangements. Also be sure to check about charges and insurance charges for transporting your pet.It is important that you book your air travel as early as possible. Airlines that accept pets for transportation will have specific regulations and guidelines regardless of whether the pets are accompanied or unaccompanied. For example, you may be required to be at the airport several hours in advance of the flight to check your pet in and your pet may need a special crate. The airline may be able to provide to you a crate for the trip, or you may have to purchase one from the airline.The airline will have guidelines on the crate types allowed and your local pet supply company will be able to sell you the required crate. You pet should be able to stand and turn around with ease and there should be adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper or other absorbent material. Add a favorite toy on move day to give a sense of security. Try to get your pet accustomed to the crate at home before the big day.On move day, feed and water your pet at least 5 hrs before the flight departure time and water again at least 2 hours before departure. Remember to administer any medication or veterinarian-recommended tranquilizers before departure. When you arrive at the airport, exercise your pet and check that you have provided all the necessary information to airline staff regarding your name, correct new address and alternate contact name in case of emergency.Some airlines allow passengers to bring pets into the cabin with them, provided they fall within a specific size range and stay in a carrier for the duration of the flight.By road – In a motor vehicleUnless you are planning a very short road trip, do not feed or water your pet for a couple of hours before leaving. You may decide to put your pet in a crate during the road trip, but be sure he is able to stand and turn around with ease and that there is adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper, towels or other absorbent and cushioning material. Adding a favorite toy will help give a sense of security. Exercise your pet regularly during the road trip, but always use a leash because your furry friend can easily get lost or hit by a car if he wanders off.Do not let your pet hang his head out the window while the car is moving. While many dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat. And, never let the windows down so far that your pet can jump out.WarningNever leave a pet in a hot car during the summer or in a cold car in the winter. Temperatures inside a car with closed windows escalate dramatically when it’s parked in the sun. Even if it’s pleasant outside, it takes only a few moments to reach over 100 degrees inside the car – which can be fatal for small occupants. If you absolutely have to leave your pet briefly, and the day is hot, park in the shade, lock the car doors and crack the windows open several inches to provide cross-ventilation. Check on him regularly. If the day is very hot, it is best not to leave your pet in the car at all.Pet’s travel bagDon’t forget to pack a travel bag for your pet! Following is a list of items you may wish to include;o Food and can openero Food and water disheso Any medication your pets needso Treatso Favorite toyso Leasho Grooming brusho Bags to clean up after your peto Newspaperso Cleaner and paper towelWhatever mode of transport you use for your pet, make sure you are in compliance with state and local regulations for animals in your destination city, along with current copies of.o ID tagso Health recordsPets ID tagsThe state where you are moving may have different laws regarding animals and their entry across state lines. It is important that you understand the requirements so that you can comply with them, so contact the state veterinarian for specific information. It is not uncommon for pets to need an entry permit in order to enter a new state. As well, in many towns and cities the number of pets per household may be limited. You will be required to obtain a local license for your pet within a certain deadline, such as 30 days, so find out what it is. You don’t want to pay a fine for not keeping your pet’s license current!HealthYou may need to obtain a health certificate for your pet from a licensed veterinarian and this can be used in the event it is required for entry to your new home state. The Department of Agriculture may request to see the health cert at your destination airport or could even be patrolling the highways if you are driving. A health cert is generally valid for 10 days, so be sure to have the inspection scheduled just before you move. The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination of your pet and check that he is current with all inoculations.DogsWhether traveling by air or by car, moving can be even more stressful for a dog than for a human, although some dogs adapt better than others. Hold off on packing your dog’s bedding and toys until the last moment so that he can be comforted by the presence of familiar things. If you’re traveling a long way, avoid feeding your dog for 12 hours before the journey in order to prevent travel sickness. If you know your dog suffers from travel sickness, ask your veterinary surgeon about medication.If you plan on flying to your new home, do your best to book a direct flight. If your dog has to be transported by freight and the flight is not direct he may have to sit out in the hot or cold weather as the freight is boarded to the new flight. Check with the airlines for details. If your dog is small enough, he may be able to travel in the passenger cabin with you. He will need a special pet carrier, which you can purchase at your local pet store. Ask the airline what crate specifications they require.If traveling by car, have your dog’s nails cut to avoid damage to the upholstery. Carry an adequate supply of plastic bags and use these to clean up after your pet at any rest stops you use. Never let your dog hang his head out the window of a car when it’ s moving. Even though most dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat.Never leave your pet alone in a car, especially in hot weather. The temperature inside the car can quickly rise to an unbearable level, even on what feels like a pleasant afternoon.Once you arrive at your destination, be sure to get your dog back in to his routine of eating and exercise. If you have moved to an apartment building and your pet dog was used to having a yard to play in, you’ll need to be extra considerate. Walk your dog more frequently, at least until he gets used to his new living situation. Be patient and make allowances for indoor “accidents.” Don’t punish your pooch, as this may make the problem worse. Clean the mess to remove the soil and smell. Once your dog has settled in, the accidents should stop. Use positive reinforcement to teach him where he needs to go. Always praise him when he relieves himself in the correct place.One way to help your dog settle in more quickly is to create a comfortable sleeping area for him. If your new home has a yard, check the fencing to make sure that it is secure, of sufficient height and ‘hole-free’ before letting your dog run loose. If your dog is able to escape, exercise him on a lead until you are able to make the necessary improvements.CatsIt’s commonly accepted that cats get very attached to places and typically hate to move. Cats get particularly comfortable with routine, and don’t like their environment to change. This can make moving especially difficult for humans and their cats.In the days leading up to your move, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. It is best to crate your cat during the moving process, and it may be helpful to ask a friend or family member to keep an eye him.If you are traveling by air, you may need to purchase an airline-approved carrier for you cat. You airline should be able to provide you with all the details. If you are traveling by car you may also want to use a crate or carrier so your cat cannot roam about the car, or escape through an open window or door.Once you are in your new location, be careful to keep your cat indoors until he becomes comfortable in his new surroundings. Do not allow your cat outdoors, because he may try to return to you old home … and that’s obviously dangerous for him, especially if you’ve moved far away. Supervised outings are advised until your pet gets used to your new home. You can use a long leash on your cat and connect it to a stake in the ground, allowing your pet to wander the length of the leash for the first few days. Let your cat explore all the rooms of the house and be sure to check that outside doors and windows are closed before you begin.Birds and Small PetsOf all pets, birds are probably the most sensitive to changes in temperature and environment. Your pet bird can be moved in the cage in which it lives. When you are moving with your pet bird, be sure to use a cover for the cage. This can keep the bird calm and protect it from drafts. Place the cage in a shallow box to collect any gravel, feathers or droppings that may spill during transit. Remove any containers of food and water before moving the cage to avoid spills en route. Do feed and water your bird at its regular times, as birds, like all small animals, can become dehydrated very quickly in warm weather.Some states require a health cert for birds entering the state. The USDA may inspect this cert either at the airport or during routine roadway inspections. Have your pet bird inspected by your veterinarian prior to traveling. Some health certificates are valid for a brief period of time. Ten 10 days is a common window for a health certificate.HorsesThere are several ways to transport horses. Your horse can be transported by air freight, by towing a trailer or by hiring a specialized horse transporting company. The horse transport company can use either air or road to transport horses.By AirMany airlines accept horses as air freight. In general, they will only transport horses on direct flights. You will be required to have a stall constructed to the airline’s specifications, and you will need to ensure your horse has the necessary health checks completed prior to moving to your new home state. Remember that requirements vary by state, and airlines will request a health certificate. The USDA may also be at the destination airport conducting inspections and may request to see the health certificate.By RoadDepending on the distance you need to travel, towing your horse in a trailer behind your car or truck may be an option. If you do not own a trailer, you may consider renting one, but you’ll want to be sure you’re experienced enough to safely load and trailer your horse. You can also pack tack and feed in the trailer.If your trip requires overnight stays you will need to book stables en route for your horse. These stables will require a health certificates appropriate to horses only, and if they do not you probably don’t want to board your horse there. Your veterinarian should be aware of the applicable laws of the different states and will be able to provide you with the necessary health certificates. (Contact information regarding states entry requirements is at the end of this guide.)If you are unable to find a stable or lodgings for your horse in close proximity to your hotel, inquire whether the hotel will allow you to keep the trailer in the parking lot overnight. In inclement weather this is not advisable. Feed and water your horse per the normal routine and clean out the stall when you have an overnight stop.ReptilesMost states have strict government regulations regarding the entry of reptiles. See the states regulatory contact list at the end of this guide to find out what you need to do before moving your reptile from state to state.As a general rule, the carrier that a reptile is transported in needs to be kept moist. Place the reptile in a cloth bag and fasten the top of the bag, making sure to leave the reptile enough room to move about, then place the bag in the shipping container. Use foam peanuts for cushioning and place damp paper or cloth in the shipper to keep the environment moist. Make sure there are air holes in the shipper for ventilation. If you are traveling overnight with your reptile you may need to place him in the tub of your hotel room at night for a nice long soak. Check if the hotel allows pets first.Do not ship reptiles in excessively hot or cold weather, as their shipping container may be left outside for periods of time, leading to stress and possibly death.Snakes must be handled with extra care, especially if they are venomous. Most airlines require double crating for snakes, which means putting the snake in one crate and then placing this crate in another, larger crate. Adequate ventilation is a must. The airline may provide you with stickers to put on all sides of the crate and you will need to write the type of snake on this label. You should also write on the sticker whether the snake is venomous or not.**WarningRemember to keep the surroundings of all reptiles moist, but not wet. Placing a damp cloth inside the container is one of the best ways to keep your reptile’s environment appropriately moist during transit.FishFish are notoriously difficult to move safely from one location to another, but it can be done effectively and efficiently with some planning. It is advisable to sell or give away as many fish as you can before you move to help ease the burden. However if this is not an option, this guide will help you understand what you need to do.Depending on the size of your aquarium, and the number and type of fish you have, it may be easier to separate them into a several smaller tanks. If the aquarium is 5 gallons or less it may be just as easy to move the entire aquarium. Place some cellophane over the top of the aquarium and remove all heaters and aerators. Place the container in a cooler box or Styrofoam container to regulate the temperature and keep it constant for up to 48 hours. Be sure to open the cellophane every four to five hours to change and refresh the air. This option may be the best for tropical fish, which don’t do well in smaller containers with overcrowding or sudden changes in water and temperature.Never leave the container in the car overnight, as the temperature changes may be too drastic for the fish. If you plan to be traveling to your destination for a couple of days with your fish it is advisable to purchase a portable aerator to keep the water well oxygenated. Always pack your aquarium last in the moving truck so that you can unload it quickly at your destination.If you separate your fish into smaller containers or fish bags, you should try to use the aquarium water in order to keep the environment as constant as possible. In the event you do not have enough water for all the smaller containers, add fresh or saltwater appropriate to the type of fish. It is advisable to allow each container of water to settle for a few hours after filling. If you have only a small number of fish and are moving a short driving distance, you can move the fish to their new location by using plastic bags half-filled with water and half-filled with air. As a general guideline, each fish should have at least 1-2 gallons of water. To maintain the temperature, place the bags in an insulated container or Styrofoam container.Most fish can go without food for a couple of days without any problems, but it is important to add healing agents to the water, as the fish may become bruised en route. This is not uncommon and you can purchase healing agents at your local pet supply store.When you arrive at your destination set up the aquarium as quickly as possible. You may need to treat the water to neutralize any chemicals; your local pet store can advise you of any treatments the local water may need.Turn the aerator on for a while, and then add slowly and gently add the fish to the tank one at a time. Wait until the water settles, and feed them as usual.New CommunityPLEASE, PLEASE be responsible when you move and check beforehand with your new community to find out if pets are allowed. Some apartment and condominium complexes may not allow pets, and you certainly don’t want to find that out on moving day.Some of the most common reasons that people leave their pets with shelters are “we are moving “and “my landlord doesn’t allow pets.” Remember, pets do not know why their owners are leaving them behind, so do your homework beforehand to save all that heartbreak. Consider your options carefully, as pets should be considered a lifetime commitment. If you are absolutely unable to take your pet with you, you owe it to this creature to find him a good home.State and local regulationsYou need to make sure that your pet has some sort of easily read ID attached to its body. For dogs and cats this can be a collar, while a tag around the leg is appropriate for birds. The ID tag should have your pet’s name, destination address, your name and telephone number. It is also a good idea to have an alternate’s name and number on the tags in the event that somebody finds your lost pet and is unable to get in touch with you. You should also have rabies tags for your pet; depending on the state where you live this will most likely be a requirement. For air travel, your pet may be required to wear special travel tags, which the airline will provide.