6 questions to ask yourself before relocating with pets

6 questions to ask yourself before relocating with pets

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Moving abroad is a major decision that requires quite a bit of forethought and forward planning - even more so if you add animals to the mix. If your pet is an integral part of your family, you’ll probably want to relocate with them. To make sure the transition is as easy as possible for you and your four-legged friend, Crown Relocations has put together this list of questions you should consider. 

If you’re considering relocating with a pet, it’s important to start planning as soon as possible. Not only does the animal’s welfare need to be taken into consideration, but also pet import laws in your destination country. You may have to consider things like vaccines and pet passports, so it’s important to get your affairs in order well in advance of your intended move date. Here are some top questions to consider before relocating internationally with your furry family members. 

1. Can my pet physically handle the move? 

First of all, you need to consider the potential effect the move will have on your pet. Not only is it stressful for your pet to have to move to a new country and adapt to a new house, neighbourhood, and environment, but the actual process of moving itself can be a major toll on animals. 

If your pet is not considered a service animal, and you are travelling by air, your pet will most likely be placed in the pet cargo portion of the plane. These areas are temperature regulated but can be extremely loud and stress-inducing. If your pet is old or not in the best of shape, it may not be able to handle long-distance travel. This is a factor you should consider together with your vet. 

2. Is the duration of the move worth the hassle to myself and my pet?

It’s also worth considering the length of your move. If you’re only relocating for a short time, it might be worth it to recruit a friend or family member to look after your pet while you are away. Although it's always hard to be away from your furry companion, this option could save you time, money and stress. 

If your move abroad is going to be longer or even permanent, you may decide it’s worth taking your animal with you. In this case, it’s best to start planning as soon as possible. 

3. Is my pet eligible to travel to my destination? 

It’s a good idea to start by doing some research about what your destination country requires in terms of bringing pets. Rules vary, and some countries have much stricter pet import rules than others, so check the laws of your destination country. Some countries don’t allow certain types of animals or specific breeds. Some regulations depend on the country of origin, and which region you’ll be travelling to, so some careful research is needed. 

Import and export policies get thorny when dealing with exotic pets, such as wild birds protected by international trade laws. This is due to the fact that, if the owner ever needs to move the pet again, they need to demonstrate that the animal was brought into the country legally.

You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with other regulations besides import restrictions, for instance, required documents and vaccinations, quarantine periods, microchip requirements, and so on. 

4. Does my pet need a passport?

If you’re moving to Europe, you will need a pet passport (if you’re coming from another EU country) or an EU animal health certificate (if you’re travelling from a non-EU country). This passport details all of the vaccinations and treatments your pet has received, and includes a description of the animal alongside your name and contact information. 

To get a pet passport, you need to prove your animal has been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and had treatment for tapeworm. Your vet should be able to issue your pet passport. Normally, this has to be done within 10 days of travel.  

5. How much time should I allow to prepare for the move?

Just like sorting out your own move and getting your documents in order, the process for organising a pet relocation can be a long one, with waiting times as long as six or seven months in some countries like Australia and New Zealand. If you don’t start preparing early enough, you may be forced to transport your pet at a later date, after you’ve already made the move, which may not be ideal. 

It’s also worth paying close attention to the timeline of each of the steps. It may be that certain things need to be done at certain times, with set gaps between the different stages. You need to factor all of this into your relocation timeline. 

6. Could a relocation company help?

If you’re unsure about arranging your pet’s international relocation on your own, there are a number of companies and services that could help. With a bit of notice, pet relocation services can help arrange every aspect of moving your pet abroad, including making you aware of import rules and even arranging transportation. 

Most reputable pet relocation companies are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). 

IPATA is an organisation of pet transportation professionals: local pet taxis and veterinarians, major corporations, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. Because of IPATA’s standards for membership, affiliates can safely coordinate door-to-door service for the most precious of cargo, our pets! International requirements vary from country to country, so working with a quality pet relocations company that is up to date on the latest import requirements is critical.

Worth it in the end

After all the stresses of moving, pet owners are happiest when their pet arrives safely at their new home. Through careful planning and open communication with a pet relocation agency, your pet will travel safely, soundly, and in accordance with the laws of your new home. Pet owners around the world will agree; their house is not a home until their best friend is resting beside them.

With over 50 years of experience, Crown Relocations are experts in helping families make the move with their four-legged friends. They work with a network of IPATA specialists to make sure your pet arrives at its destination safe and sound, anywhere in the world. Get in touch to see how Crown Relocations could assist with your move.

Daniela  Stoyanova


Daniela Stoyanova

Daniela Stoyanova is a Moving Consultant for Crown Relocations.

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