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Moving with Your Pets

Moving to a new country with your pet? Then here is some information you need to have, to do it right.

Should you take your pets with you or not?  This is always a very difficult decision, particularly if you are moving overseas. Where you are moving to plays a large part in this decision. You might want to consider some points:

  • Some overseas countries, such as the UK, require lengthy, and sometimes expensive, quarantines, which you may be unwilling to put your pet and your family through. Even Hawaii has a 30 - 120 day quarantine period, dependent on the breed, for all animals entering the state. 
  • If you are transferring to a part of the world with any possible emergency situations, such as earthquakes or political upheaval, in the case of an evacuation, pets must often be left behind.
  • Lastly, the way animals are regarded by the culture of the country that you are moving to may make it unsafe for you to take your pet with you. Check the Paguro website for pet information listed for the location you are relocating to, to help with this decision.

If you decide not to relocate with your pet, there are few options: 

  • Contact friends and neighbors to see if anyone is willing to take on your pet.
  • Advertise in your local neighborhood paper or magazine and on your Company’s billboard. 
  • Put up notices in your local vet offices. 
  • Should you have small pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, mice and/or gold fish, think about donating them to your local school. 
  • Finally, there are organizations that will take your pet for you and, normally for a small donation, try to find your pet a new home.

Travel arrangements

  • Polices on the transportation of pets and the requirements regarding importing pets in overseas countries change regularly so if you are relocating your pet yourself, you must obtain all the up to date policies and requirements once you know that you are moving.
    Check Paguro for pet requirements listed for the country you are moving to.  In addition you should contact the airlines to obtain their requirements, the consulate of the country you are relocating to.
  • Regardless of the method of transportation, you must have your pet’s documents in order. To do this, you need to visit your vet. Explain that you are relocating and want to prepare your pet’s travel and health certificate requirements. Following an exam, your vet should provide you with a health certificate and a certificate of rabies vaccinations. The rabies tag should be attached to your pet’s collar.
    Check with the vet for any additional vaccinations they recommend. Also test for heartworm and talk to the vet about appropriate travel medications. Note that some countries require this health certificate to be dated no more than 30 days prior to the arrival of your pet in that location.
  • By far the easiest way to relocate overseas with your pet, is to contact a local pet transport company. They offer a full door-to-door service for the relocation of your pet. This includes up-to-date and relevant information on which requirements there are to import your pet into your new country. In addition they provide information on translating any required certificates, provide country specific information as relates to your pet, provide travel kennels that meet government and airline standards, make the necessary travel arrangements, arrange pick up and delivery to your home at your new destination, organize pre-flight boarding and port of entry services.
  • If you are travelling to a country that requires a quarantine, make sure you have booked your pet a place as sometimes there are few kennels available and there is a waiting list . It might happen that you have to leave your pet in someones care before it can travel to the kennel, make sure you have the possibility of doing so, should you travel before your pet can leave the country.
  • If you and your pet are traveling to your new location by car, carry all pet documentations in the car with you, as you will need to provide this as you cross borders.

Travelling by plane

If your relocation involves air travel for you and your pet, you should note that each airline has different requirements and their policies change regularly. It is advisable to make reservations early.  There are three ways your pet can travel on an airline:

  • In the cabin with you. If you are traveling with your pet, some airlines allow small pets to travel with their owners in the cabin, but only if the pet carrier fits under the passenger seat. The number of pets allowed in the cabin is limited and done on a first come first served basis.
  • In the cargo hold of the plane. If you do not accompany your pet on the same flight, then your pet will be shipped in the pressurized cargo hold of the aircraft. In this situation you need to go to the cargo terminal, no more than four hours before the flight, to check in your pet. However, check if there are any seasonal restrictions on pets travel as in some countries pets are not accepted on flights during certain seasons, due to severe weather conditions like excessive heat.
  • As excess baggage on the same flight as you. The convenience of this is that you and your pet arrive at your destination at the same time. Most airlines apply special restrictions during peak season, so check if there is availability. During this time your pet may have to travel as cargo. Check with your airline.
  • Try to arrange travel on direct flights and avoid peak times so as to decrease the possibilities of any delays and time in transit. Airlines do charge for pets traveling whether in the cabin or in the cargo hold.

Pet carrier

  • To travel on an airline, your pet should be in a carrier. You can normally arrange to buy one of these from the airline or purchase one from a pet store. There are, however, minimum standards for carriers as to size, strength, sanitation and ventilation. Your airline will give you exact details.
    Carriers have to be FAA approved. Generally, the carrier should be large enough for your pet to be able to stand and freely move around. The carrier should also be well ventilated and leak proof with a securely locking door. Water should be available for your pet while it is in the carrier. The carrier should be strong enough to be handled during transportation. Note that if you are traveling to the UK, they have strict specifications as to the size of the carrier, determined by the size of the pet, and will not accept entry of any pet unless these specifications are met.
    Note: Due to the extreme heat in summer in some countries, airlines may not take your pet out of the country or bring it in. Please call in advance to see the status.

Travelling tips

  • To travel on an aircraft, dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and must have been weaned for at least five days.
  • If puppies and kittens less that 16 weeks of age are in transit for more that 12 hours, food and water must be provided. Older animals must have food at least every 24 hours and water at least every 12 hours. Written instructions for food and water must accompany all animals shipped, regardless of the scheduled time in transit.
  • Animals may not be exposed to temperatures less than -12 C (or 10  Farehneit) or above 30 C (or 85 Farehneit) unless a certificate accompanies them signed by a veterinarian stating that they are acclimated to  lower/higher temperatures. This means that some airlines refuse to transport pets during the peak summer months and at certain times during the winter.
  • It is advised that - before traveling - you accustom your pet to the kennel/carrier in which it will be transported.
  • Do not give your pet solid food in the six hours prior to the flight. A moderate amount of water and exercise before and after the flight are recommended.
  • If your vet has prescribed medication to help calm and sedate your pet, try a test dose before the flight, to see how your pet reacts.
  • Lastly, make sure all your details are clearly marked on the kennel and that your pet is wearing a tag with the same information.
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