Moving Pets Overseas
How to Keep Your Pet Safe
|Moving your pet overseas is very
Don’t plan on moving abroad
with your pets on the spur of the moment. First, investigate
whether your dog or cat will be subject to quarantine.
Countries that do quarantine newly arriving animals usually
require proof of a neutralizing antibody titration test
for rabies performed more than six months before the
date of importation. Even countries that don’t
require a quarantine period require a health certificate
and proof of a current rabies vaccination.
The U.K.’s Department for Environment,
Food, and Rural Affairs is expanding its PETS (the Pets
Travel Scheme) to the U.S. and Canada. Pets will no longer be subject to a
quarantine as long as they undergo a rabies test, wait the 21 days for the vaccine to take effect,
and obtain an import license.
Domestically, dogs and cats can fly
in the cabin if their crate is small enough to fit under
the seat, as checked baggage, or as cargo. Some airlines ban
animals flying as checked baggage on those going as cargo when temperatures are extreme.
The airlines advise you to call a day ahead to check weather
conditions. Some airlines ban pets flying with checked baggage as a standard due to instances of risk to them, so please check with your airline as to their precise policies.
American Airlines and Delta Airlines websites
explain industry regulations for transporting live animals
as well as guidelines for purchasing International
Air Transport Association (IATA) approved shipping
crates. Airlines can refuse to ship pets if their crates
do not conform to the IATA standard.
Transporting your pets out of the country
is not as simple as booking them a ticket and waving goodbye
as they board the plane. When my partner and I moved our
beagles to New Zealand, because of the country’s strict
regulations, we hired a pet relocation service to make these
arrangements for us. Jet Pets booked Charles’ and
Beatrice’s flight to New Zealand and handled their
inspection by the USDA vet. They went over their health
certificates and other paperwork, furnished us with IATA-approved
crates, and took them to the airport. As part of their service,
they can also pick up animals at LAX, board them, and transfer
them to their international connections.
Jet Pets owner David Hasenauer says
the biggest problem he sees with moving animals overseas
occurs when owners show up with incorrectly completed health
documentation for their pets. “We have had owners
trying to tell their vets how to fill out health certificates
without any idea of the correct method and vets deciding
not to perform tests because they thought they where unnecessary.
It’s better to talk to the USDA for the correct method
of completing any health certificate for the foreign country
that you’re traveling to.”
Qualified Pet Services (QPS) picked
up our dogs at the Auckland airport and transported them
to their facility nearby. To help pets adjust, Sarah Newnham,
QPS’ quarantine liaison, recommends that owners furnish
their animals with familiar items such as old blankets or
clothing. “It’s comforting for pets to have
something with their owners scent on it,” she says.
Charles and Beatrice received weekly
visits from a veterinarian and staff members stopped by
every couple of hours to check on them, feed them, and clean
Taking your pet overseas isn’t
cheap—the bill to bring Charles and Beatrice with
us totaled $5,500.
For More Info
The websites below contain
information about importing pets into various countries
and Hawaii. The European Union is currently revising
its health requirements with the intent to standardize
regulations across individual countries.
a great deal of information and services helping you to move
your pet to many different countries, often
Below are some other helpful
sites by country.
Pet Relocation Services:
Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) maintains
a lengthy list of pet relocation services and
offers guidelines on choosing a good one.
LISA WILLIAMS lives
in Whitianga, New Zealand.