How to Move Your Pet Abroad

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How to Move Your Pet Overseas

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Moving with a pet is often difficult, but if that move is to another country, your animal can be a real headache to move. Pets moving abroad face possible transport issues, quarantines, medical tests, and occasionally they are not allowed in some countries at all. As a pet owner, what do you need to know about moving your pet overseas?

Should you move your pet abroad?

Before you commit to bringing your animal to another country, you need to consider whether that is a good idea. The regulations for importing pets vary country to country, but the process is almost always stressful and costly.
  • Is your pet sick? Most countries require a clean bill of health for travelling pets and the trip may be too stressful for a sick pet.
  • Some countries flat out deny entry for certain pets. Dogs and cats are typically allowed in most countries, but birds, rodents, and reptiles are hit and miss.
  • If you will be returning home after a relatively short period of time, it may be safer, easier, and cheaper to leave your pet with a friend or family member in your home country while you travel abroad.
  • When researching the foreign area, you could find that indigenous diseases and predators present a health risk for your pet. Will your pet be happy and healthy in the new environment?
  • In some countries, you may be more concerned with the humans than the natural environment. In some regions pets are not as revered as they are in western countries. It may not be uncommon or even illegal for neighbours to hurt other people’s pets.
Unfortunately, if your move is permanent and your pet is not allowed or able to enter your destination country, you may have to give it away. If that’s the case, try to find a friend or family member who wants your pet rather than sending it to a shelter.

Preparing your pet for the move

If you are committed to moving your pet overseas, you need to prepare it for the journey. Almost all countries require vaccinations and a health certificate. You will need to bring your pet to the vet and have her fill out some paperwork and update your pet’s immunizations. The exact paperwork and necessary information varies depending on the destination, so make sure you visit the country’s embassy, consulate, or website to know exactly what you will need to do to certify the health of your pet.

Additionally, many countries require that your pet has an implanted microchip that can transmit medical information. If your pet does not already have this chip, it may have to undergo the procedure before you can move.

Your pet should be allowed to get familiar with its cage or kennel that will be its home for the trip. You should check with the airline to see what containers are required for traveling animals. Of course, you need to choose a pet-friendly airline first.


The flight to another country may be difficult for you, but it can be far worse for your pet. Different airlines have different rules for transporting pets, so you should research all the options for moving your pet overseas.

There are several factors that can affect the cost and feasibility of transporting your pet on the airline:
  • How big is your pet? Can it fit in the cabin as a carry on? Is it the type of animal (usually small dogs) that the airline permits in the cabin?
  • Can your animal be checked luggage?
  • Is the temperature cool enough for your pet to travel in the plane’s cargo area? Will the airline allow this? Some airlines restrict pets in cargo to only the cooler months to avoid dangerous situations for the animals.
  • Are you going on the same flight as your pet? If you are not and plan to have the pet shipped separately, it is usually much more expensive.
  • Is your pet healthy and well-behaved? Sedation is sometimes a last resort, but it is not ideal for the animal’s health.
  • Visit the International Air Transport Association’s page on pets for more information.

After the trip

Once you get to your destination, your pet may be subject to a mandatory quarantine, even if it is certified as healthy. This means that your pet will still not be living with you for some time after you both arrive in your new country. Quarantines can last up to six months. This is normally done to make sure the pet does not have recently contracted diseases or parasites.

If your pet makes it through the checkups, trip, and the quarantine, you finally can have some time with your friend in a new country. Your pet will likely be agitated by the travel quarantine and new environment, so take some time to help it adapt to its new surroundings. Try to use familiar toys and treats to make your pet comfortable. Don’t be surprised if you need to re-house-train dogs or cats when they move to a new area. Meanwhile, you should familiarize yourself with local leash and pet waste laws, and find the nearest sources of veterinary care and pet food.

If you are patient and loving, your pet should soon adjust to the new area and be able to comfortably live in your foreign home.


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on January 15, 2015 - Moving Expert
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