Moving Pets Overseas
Moving overseas is stressful for your family and even more so for your pet. Our move consultants have assisted customers with moving pets overseas in the past and can offer a few tips to make the process easier:
Allow plenty of time to prepare for your pets’ relocation.
Start preparing your pet(s) for their overseas move, now. Ask your moving company about their pet relocation services. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for complete physical examinations and ask for copies of your pets’ medical records. Your pets’ age and condition will determine if they can fly. Pets that are young or elderly, those that appear aggressive or overly sedated might be denied boarding. Keep in mind that it is up to the airlines to make the last minute judgment call. Getting their physical well-being and medical records together, will save you a lot of stress down the road, and potentially, quite a lot of money.
Investigate your new country’s quarantine / customs regulations.
Domestic pet regulations differ from country to country. Not every country accepts pets and not all species are allowed. Also, contact the airlines as many species of animals cannot be shipped. Prior to traveling, airlines will require your pets’ health certificates, proof of rabies vaccination, microchip information, etc. Preparing those documents requires substantial lead time. Check with USDA-APHIS for the latest information.
Decide on your pets’ travel arrangements.
Making prior arrangements with the airline to ship your pet is an absolute must in all cases. Weigh your options:
- Cabin pet reservations might be available for small animals, as long as their carrier fits under the seat. However, check with your airline specifically as this option may not be available on international flights.
- Live Cargo means that the pet flies on the same flight as you do, on its own ‘ticket’. You will bring the animal to the airport at the time of your flight check in. They will be loaded onto the plane in their carrier and placed in the live cargo hold.
- Unaccompanied cargo means that the pet is shipped at origin once you have arrived at destination. If you ship your pet early, make sure that you make arrangements on the receiving end for pickup from the airport.
Check which airlines fly pets to your destination.
Regulations might limit the total number of pets on any given flight, so make sure that you book early. Some airlines do not accept pets at all, some don’t accept them at certain times of the year.
Ask the airline about blackout periods.
As weather gets too hot or too cold, airlines will not ship pets, as it is not safe for them to travel. These blackout periods can occur with short notice. The airlines advise you to call a day ahead to check weather conditions.
Purchase airline approved carriers /crates.
Federal and international regulations stipulate what size/type/brand of carrier can be used to ship your pet. If it is deemed inappropriate (too big, too small, not in good condition) your pet will be denied boarding on the plane. Check with your airline before purchasing a pet carrier.
Make sure that your pet feels comfortable in their carrier.
Familiarize your pet with the kennel ahead of time. Make sure you provide water inside. Special clip-on water dispensers are available in pet stores. On long transit, you may attach a small bag of food to the outside of the crate. You may also line the bottom of the carrier with paper, but do not include blankets or toys that your pet could get entangled in.
Allow additional time for airport check-in.
You might be asked to go to a separate area of the airlines’ departure gate to check in your pet.
For additional information, ask your move consultant about moving pets or contact a pet relocation specialist like PetRelocation.com to handle your pets’ travel arrangements for you.