A few countries such as Australia require you to hire a commercial pet transport company to handle your dog or cat’s importation. By and large, however, you can make the arrangements yourself. But should you? Do you really want to? The answer might be yes if you can book a single direct flight, you can travel on the same plane as your pet, and you are absolutely certain you know what paperwork will be required.
You should be so lucky. Most international moves are much more complex than that, often in every respect. Chances are good that getting to your destination will require a stop, a layover and/or multiple planes along the way. Your pet may not be eligible to fly with you (and, take it from the pros, the best itinerary for a dog or cat may not be the same as yours). Airlines have other rules that present barriers for private pet parents but not for pet travel professionals.
In short, here’s what it takes to move a pet overseas:
- Health and import documentation. This varies by country. You may need only a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination, but your pet may also need specific immunizations, treatments, or even a blood titer test that takes 6 months to complete. You may need an import permit, or special document endorsements.
- Pet-friendly flight reservations.
- An IATA-approved travel crate in the correct size. Get it early, so your pup or kitty can get used to it.
- Someone to make sure your pet arrives on time at the right terminal and gets checked in smoothly – and someone to meet them and usher them through customs on arrival.
It can feel exhausting and worrisome. Are you sure – absolutely certain – that you’re doing everything right?
What can trip you up?
Weather, for one thing. If the weather is too hot or too cold, airlines will not accept pets for travel. You don’t always know about the weather until the last minute, so working around this can be frustrating in summer or winter. Summer is the busiest travel time, too, which can increase flight scheduling for pets as well as people.
Language barriers. Moving to a country where you don’t speak the language? What will you do if there’s a question about your pet or her documentation? Foreign customs agents don’t necessarily speak English. With a professional tracking your pet’s every move, you have someone who can communicate clearly in every way. We speaks the languages of people as well as the lingo of the pet transport industry.
Inability to get the information you need. It can be intensely frustrating (and frightening) if you cannot find reliable details about documentation required to import your pet to your destination country. Some countries post clear, complete information on their official government website. But what if they don’t? Information you find online can easily be wrong or out of date, and sometimes every person you speak with (even at a given airline) provides inconsistent answers. As pros who move pets around the world every day, we know exactly what you’ll need no matter where your precious companion is headed.
Choosing the wrong pet transport company. Sadly, there are especially heartless crooks out there who impersonate businesses for the sole purpose of scamming their customers. It’s happening in the pet transport world – fake business scams as well as fake puppy and kitten scams. With your money and your beloved pet’s safety and comfort at stake, it is critical to verify that any company you speak with regarding your pet’s travel is indeed legitimate. Ask lots of questions – and expect to receive friendly, knowledgeable answers and advice.
You have to prep your pet, too
Moving to a foreign country is exciting, but moving itself is no fun. That’s doubly true for dogs and cats because they don’t know what’s going on. On top of everything else on your to-do list, you will want to carve out time to extra spend with your pet before you leave, so she knows she won’t be left behind. You’ll also want to learn how you can help her adjust once you arrive at your new home. But there are only so many hours in the day.
Allowing a team of professionals to handle her travel arrangements will give you peace of mind and free up precious hours you can devote to one-on-one pet time. We can handle every detail or just the most onerous parts such as flight arrangements. You can be confident all is well, your furry friend will have the best possible travel experience, and that we’ll have your back – and her back – every step of the way.