Moving Internationally With Pets


Relocating abroad, whether by choice or for work, is a significant decision that demands careful consideration and thorough planning. The complexity of such a move multiplies when you have furry companions to bring along. Moving internationally with pets is far from a straightforward endeavor and can be quite stressful for both humans and animals. However, with diligent research and a thoughtful approach, you can make the process smoother for both you and your four-legged friends.

It’s crucial to understand that international pet relocation is not something that can be rushed or done at the last minute. Give yourself ample time to prepare. Alongside the numerous tasks associated with an international move, you must ensure that you take all the necessary steps to safeguard your pet’s well-being. Remember, your pet depends on you to ensure their safe transition to their new home.

One of the first steps is to thoroughly research the pet import regulations in the country you are moving to. Different countries have varying and sometimes strict rules regarding pet imports. Some nations may not permit certain types of animals, while others restrict specific breeds. For instance, New Zealand has stringent restrictions, disallowing birds, reptiles, mice, ferrets, and certain other animals. Understanding the specific rules, required vaccinations, and potential quarantine periods is essential.

Consulting with your veterinarian is paramount when planning an international move with pets. Your vet can assess whether your pet is fit for the long journey, as factors like age, health, and temperament play a significant role. They can also help ensure your pet meets the health requirements set by the destination country.

Consider enlisting the assistance of a pet relocation service if the process feels overwhelming. Companies like PetRelocation, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), and Happy Tails Travel, Inc. specialize in navigating the complexities of international pet transport. They can help you adhere to import rules, arrange travel logistics, and handle customs procedures.


Timing is crucial in international pet relocation, and the process can be lengthy, often taking up to six months in some cases. Starting early is vital to avoid having to separate from your pet for an extended period. A dedicated relocation coordinator can help you stay on track and complete each step promptly.

Getting your pet accustomed to their travel crate is a crucial aspect of the process. Creating a positive association with the crate is essential. Gradually increasing the time your pet spends in the crate can help them adjust.


Contact your chosen airline to inquire about their policies and guidelines for traveling with pets internationally. Airlines may have additional requirements beyond the destination country’s regulations. Clarify how layovers and flight delays are handled if your pet is flying in cargo.

Ensure you have all the necessary documents in order, including vaccination records and health certificates. Multiple copies and proper signatures are crucial to avoid delays or complications during your journey.

If you are moving with a less common pet, such as a bird or reptile, be sure to research specific requirements for that type of animal, as regulations can vary.

In summary, moving internationally with pets demands careful planning and attention to detail. Start early, consult with experts, and ensure you adhere to all regulations to ensure a smooth transition for both you and your beloved pets.


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