Pets are a big part of the family and an important consideration when making plans to move overseas. Here, the team from Crown Relocations answer five key questions to help make your global pet relocation a little simpler.
#1 Can my pet physically handle the move?
If travelling by air, your pet will likely be transported in the plane’s pet cargo area. These areas are temperature-regulated but can be loud and stress-inducing. If your pet isn’t in the best of shape, through illness or age, they may not be able to handle long-distance travel as well as others. Only you and your vet can make this assessment.
Every pet flies in a temperature-controlled, oxygenated and pressurised environment, just like in the passenger cabin. The International Air Transport Association’s Live Animals Regulations are the leading standards for transporting animals on commercial airlines; their sole objective is to ensure all animals are carried safely and humanely by air.
#2 Have I allowed enough time to prepare for this move?
It depends on the destination. Many pet relocation companies require at least 30 days’ notice to arrange travel plans, due to flight availability and vaccination, health and even quarantine requirements.
For some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, the wait time can be extensive, so plan your pet’s move at least six to seven months out. For other countries, the wait time is typically less than one month.
#3 Can I afford to bring my pet with me?
Many variables determine the cost of moving your pet such as size, weight and where your pet is moving from and to. You need to budget for everything from microchipping, vaccinations, health certificates from vets (which many need to be translated and notarised at a consulate), any required import permits, customs clearance, any quarantine costs (in New Zealand or Malaysia, for instance) and the physical pet carrier itself. Then there are the transport costs themselves, which can be around US$1,500 when the pet is transported in the cargo hold, depending on the dimensions of the carrier and the specific import requirements of your new country.
#4 Is my pet eligible to travel to my destination?
Rules vary, so check the animal import laws of your destination country. Some countries don’t allow certain species or breeds, and there are some regulations depending on country of origin. Also be aware of required documents, tests, vaccinations and so on. This allows you to make an informed decision about your pet and prepare properly for a move.
#5 Is the duration of my move worth the hassle to myself and my pet?
In a perfect world, you could ship your belongings and then bring your pet along with you. But pet relocation can inevitably be stressful – and we get it. You want your pet with you, they’re a part of your family.
If you’re only relocating for a short time, it might be worth it to recruit a friend or family member to keep your pet while you’re away. Although it’s hard to be away from your furry companion, this option could save time, money and stress for your pet.
If your time frame makes sense to bring your pet, start the planning process as soon as possible.
Your pets are family, so make sure they’re treated well throughout the move. Choose a company that specialises in international pet transfers, is a member of IPATA (Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association), and has expertise in customs, registrations and more. Crown has worked with a number of pet transport companies and can recommend a company to ensure your pet is moved safely and comfortably.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.