Help Me Move My Pet

International Travel with Older Pets

Monday, October 6, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Yifat
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Mix
From: Israel
To: The Netherlands



Your website is very useful, thanks!

I have a 10-year-old dog that I will have to fly during January (as cargo). I would like to know how dangerous it can it be for a relatively old dog (this flight will be about 5 hours long), and also how much time the dog is left in the cold between the time the airplane lands and the time we get her?

I am really worried about this so hopefully your answer can help me.

Thank you,



Hi Y,

Thanks for reading our site, and thanks for your question!

The most important thing for you to do to ensure a safe flight for your dog is to choose a pet friendly airline. If a carrier has solid procedures that put a high priority on pet health, temperature shouldn't be a big issue (airlines like KLM, United and Lufthansa do not allow animals to be exposed to the elements for any significant amount of time, for example).

Pets should ideally be the last to be loaded onto the plane, the first to be removed upon landing, and they should be transported across the runway in a temperature controlled vehicle. The cargo area is temperature and pressure controlled, also, and if you've helped your dog to become acclimated to the travel crate, the experience will be made even more manageable.

Additionally, here are a few tips for traveling with an older pet. Essentially we recommend talking to your vet before making a decision, and then if you go forward take extra care with hydration and the above-mentioned safety tips.

If you think you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door services, please give us a call or fill out our free quote form. If you'd like to search for agents on your own, we recommend checking the directory available on IPATA.org.

Good luck with everything, and please let us know if we can be of service!


Traveling Internationally with Service Dogs

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

We recently received a question via email asking how to bring a service dog to Australia, and thought it would be a good opportunity to go over a few basic rules and best practices for traveling internationally with an assistance animal.

  • Traveling with service dogs means following different airline procedures for the most part, as airlines often allow pets in the cabin in these instances. Here are the instructions for traveling with a service animal via United and via Lufthansa, for example.
  • Here is an overview of the rules for service dogs for Australia; owners must fill out an application to be approved before they can complete the import steps. Usually pets entering Australia must undergo a 10-day quarantine in an approved quarantine facility, but service dogs can fulfill the quarantine at home with their owners.
  • Be prepared to show official paperwork proving your support animal is legitimate (this will likely be a letter from your medical doctor or mental health professional).
  • Typically service animals need to fit on the floor in front of the passenger chair (and can't sit on the seat), and they travel free of charge.
  • Space can be limited in the cabin, so contact the airline well in advance to tell them you'll be traveling with a service animal.
  • Even though airlines probably won't require that service animals adhere to usual animal rules (traveling in the cargo area, etc.), countries still will. Find out what vaccinations and paperwork will be required for import and allow a few weeks to prepare.
  • Note that carriage can be denied if an animal is loud or acting in a way that disturbs other passengers -- properly trained service animals shouldn't be a problem, but people who bring a noisy Chihuahua along as an emotional support animal may not be accepted to fly.
  • In addition to verifying country import rules, whenever you're planning to travel by air with a service animal it's a good idea to contact the airline directly to find out about the procedures (information isn't always available online and it can sometimes change).

service dog

Photo Credit: www.servicedogproducts.com


Need some help? Please contact us to speak to a Specialist!

Will Tomorrow's Lufthansa Strike Affect Pet Travel?

Monday, September 15, 2014 by Pet Friendly Airlines

Update: The planned pilots' strike for 9/16 has been cancelled. Lufthansa flights should be operating smoothly tomorrow.

Lufthansa pilots are planning an eight hour strike on Tuesday, Sept. 16, however the airline has announced that no cancellations are anticipated and pet flights will still take place. Some intercontinental flights will run earlier or later than originally scheduled, but Lufthansa aims to keep delays and irregularities to a minimum.

The strike is set to run from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. CST, and long-haul flights departing from Frankfurt (Lufthansa's primary hub), will be affected.

Pets flying internationally are often routed through Frankfurt, where they can take advantage of Lufthansa's Animal Lounge. Whenever a delay occurs (due to a strike, weather or other reason), the staff on hand is trained and ready to take good care of pets until they are cleared to move forward to their next destination.

If you or your pet will be flying with Lufthansa tomorrow be sure to check the current schedule carefully, and please contact us if you have any questions.


Photo Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

U.S. Department of Transportation Expands Airline Reporting Requirements

Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Caitlin Moore

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, more airlines will be required to report incidents involving the loss, injury or death of an animal during transport. This expansion of the current rule is meant to "provide consumers with a fuller picture of an airline's safety record," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Currently just 14 airlines have to adhere to reporting rules, but the expansion will mean that 27 carriers will now be responsible for filing annual reports detailing specific incidents as well as the number of animals carried. The definition of "animal" includes dogs and cats and also covers commercial shipments.

So what are the implications of this? As we told nbcnews.com, greater transparency is a good thing, and hopefully this will inspire every airline to do better when it comes to transporting pets. There are a handful of pet-friendly options out there now (we feel confident flying with a select few carriers, suck as KLM, Lufthansa and United), but it would be heartening and better for everyone to see greater attention paid to pet safety across the board.

Remember, pet travel is actually pretty safe overall, but there is certainly room for improvement. The pet travel industry continues to grow, and it's well past time for airlines offering pet travel options to truly commit to making their services as safe as possible. Greater accountability will help with this, and this new DOT rule is a step in the right direction.

If you'd like to know more, the Department of Transportation issues a monthly Air Travel Consumer Report and makes it publicly available on its website. If you're thinking about moving with a pet and have questions about it, please contact us.


pet in cargo

Cargo pet travel. (Photo Credit: Sandy Robins)



Incredible Experience Spotlight: Jasper's Journey from Texas to Paris

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Name: Tracey
Pet's Name: Jasper
From: Austin, Texas
To: Paris, France

I had no idea where to start in arranging Jasper's move from Austin to Paris. I Googled it and up popped a company called PetRelocation. I noticed they were based in Austin so I gave them a call.

I spoke to Matt, who completely understood all my concerns and assured me that they could handle it. He didn't pressure me and only when I was completely happy with all the information did he pass me on to Anna, who could get into the specific details of the move. She too was terrific, no question was too small or too stupid (and I had many). She sent me suggested timelines, and even when the airline we had chosen stopped flying live animals she worked tirelessly to find a suitable alternative (even discarding certain airlines whose reputation with live animals didn't meet their standards).

Anna liaised with the vet all the way and even made herself available at the appointment times in case of questions by me or the vet. All formalities were taken care of both in the United States and in France, and Jasper was delivered to my door exactly as promised. It really is a "door-to-door" service. Even after Jasper arrived, Anna checked in with me to make sure he was settling in and had no ill effects from the journey.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this company to anyone who had to move a pet overseas. It is such a stressful time, and for someone to take over every aspect of your pet's move is amazing.

Thank you, PetRelocation.


jasper on the stairs


jasper by the water


Pet Air Travel to China

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Yi
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: Mixed
From: Berlin, Germany
To: Shanghai, China

Hello There,

I have a pet cat (three years old) that I wish to bring to China from Germany and I have a few questions that I hope you can help me answer:

1. How easy is it to bring a pet to China and will there be a quarantine period? I've read conflicting documents that there's no quarantine for animals coming from the EU, to ones that say that there's a 30-day quarantine period.

2. How easy will it be to bring the cat back to Germany from China? Is there a quarantine period? Should I get a EU pet passport before I fly to China so it's easier for the animal to come back here?

3. What will be the cost (door-to-door or airport-to-airport) to bring the cat from Berlin to Shanghai? I just need a ballpark figure so I can work out the details of the move.

Thank you so much for your help and I look forward to hearing from you soon!




Hi Yi,

It's great to hear from you and we'd be happy to offer some information.

To start, take a look at the pet import requirements for China. Whether or not you face a quarantine primarily depends on the port of entry, and we highly recommend hiring some professional assistance so as to avoid any delays in helping your cat make a smooth transition into the country.

We also recommend choosing a pet friendly airline and working to help get your cat as comfortable in the travel crate as possible. Here are a few helpful pet travel tips to get you started.

If you're looking for door-to-door services we'd be happy to speak to you further and offer a cost estimate, but roughly speaking our charges for a move like this would start at around $2500 USD. If you just want help for part of the move, we recommend checking with IPATA.org or Globy Pet Relocation to find local, knowledgeable agents.

As far as returning to Germany, you can find more information here and here. China is a "third country" so the rules are a little different (and not as easy) as if you were returning from another EU country. That's not to say it's impossible, though (and there isn't a quarantine) -- you'll just need to make sure you follow the guidelines carefully.

Again, please let us know if you'd like some help with any of this, and good luck with everything!

Flight Decisions for Cat Travel to Canada

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Chelsey
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: DMH
From: Western Australia
To: Saskatchewan, Canada



I am having a difficult time getting clear quotations from pet travel companies. Nothing is clear or itemized. Is is possible to have my cat travel as cargo with me for flying from Australia to Canada (at least two stops so this complicates things) or will I have to send her separately?

I'm assuming having her as my cargo will be cheaper? Who 'prepares' the animal at the airport, do I get to drop her off or does a vet have to prepare the crate from Australia? Will this complicate the exportation/importation process, having myself or a friend having her as cargo?




Hi Chelsey,

Thanks for your questions! Pet travel can definitely be confusing if you've never done it before, and we'd be happy to offer some information.

First, take a look at these frequently asked pet travel questions for an idea of how things work. You have some choices to make -- you can handle the move yourself (secure the paperwork, book the flight and check her in at the airport, etc.) or you can hire some assistance, which will cost more but will also remove a lot of the time and stress from the situation. Here are a few reasons why people choose to hire professional help with a pet move.

Also important for you to look at are the pet import requirements for Canada. You will need to visit the vet before you move and secure the correct health documents.

Finally, since it sounds like you're looking for more information about the details of pricing, here is an explanation of why it costs what it does to hire a pet transportation company to help with a move.

This is a lot of information, but feel free to take your time to look over it and then let us know if you have further questions. We arrange door-to-door pet travel services and would be happy to discuss logistics with you and give you an estimate if you're interested. The pets we move travel via cargo and usually aren't on the same flight as the pet owner -- this makes things easier by allowing the pet owner to take care of their own travel details and arrive ahead of their pet if they'd like to.

Hopefully this sets you off in the right direction. Please contact us if you'd like to talk more about your cat's move, and either way good luck with everything!


Researching Dog Travel to India

Monday, April 7, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Dr. A.
Number of Pets: One
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Pomeranian
From: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
To: New Delhi, India


Dear PetRelocation,

My daughter, who is working in Hartford, CT, wants to send her pet dog permanently to India. Is this possible? How would it work?


Dr. A.


Hi Dr. A,

Thanks for your question. Moving pets to India requires quite a bit of careful paperwork and preparation, as the country made changes to their policy last year and now operate with strict rules meant to target animal breeders. Please take a look at this overview of India pet import requirements for an idea of what to expect.

We also recommend double checking with the Ministry of Agriculture to find out about the most current policies, as they could change at any time. As always, we recommend choosing a pet friendly airline and discussing specific procedures and policies with them, as well.

Many people decide to hire pet travel experts to assist with relocations like this, especially if you'd like the dog to fly unaccompanied. If you'd like to find out more about the door-to-door services we offer, please fill out our free quote form or give our office a call. You're also welcome to visit IPATA.org to locate local agents who may assist you.

Good luck with everything, and we hope to hear from you soon.



Dog and Cat Travel to New Zealand

Monday, December 9, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Erika
Number of Pets: 6
Pet Type: Five dogs and one cat
Pet Breed: Chihuahuas & American Bobtail
From: Midland, Texas, United States
To: Auckland, New Zealand

Dear PetRelocation,

I'm really confused about moving all of my animals to New Zealand. Is there a certain number of animals that I can move? Do I have to wait a certain number of days after all shots before importing them? Really desperate for help!!




Hi Erika,

Here's a good resource for you to check out: it's the official government guide to bringing cats and dogs into New Zealand. Since there are several steps (vaccinations, documents to secure, etc.), it's important to set up a timeline and follow it closely.

You will also need to secure the correct travel crates for your pets and check with the airline about any restrictions they may have. It's likely that, since you have so many pets, they will end up traveling on a couple of different flights. Keep in mind: for most of the pet relocations we arrange, pet owners and pets fly separately (and that's just fine).

If you'd like to find out about the services we offer, please fill out our free quote form. Hopefully these links help to get you started... Be sure to let us know if you have more questions, and good luck with everything!


Pets, Actually: Casting Call for Pets Arriving at Heathrow

Friday, December 6, 2013 by Caitlin Moore

We were recently contacted by a British documentary team looking to feature a post-flight pet reunion in their upcoming "Arrivals and Departures" project. We thought it sounded like fun, so we're helping them spread the word!

Here's the casting call:

A new British ITV documentary is following interesting stories of people flying in and out of London Heathrow Airport. We have covered lots of strong departure stories of people emigrating, travelling for work, and those embarking on poignant foreign travel. 

We are now looking for ARRIVAL stories – if you are flying an animal into Heathrow Airport between now and March 2014 please get in touch!


0044 20 3301 8524

If you've always wanted to reenact the opening scene from Love Actually with your pet, now's your time to shine.

Good luck and have fun!



Pet Move of the Month: 12 Pets from Thailand to the United States!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by PetRelocation.com Customer

We're used to working with pet lovers, of course, but sometimes a client comes along whose dedication and kind-heartedness is simply unparalleled. Recently we were contacted about moving 12 pets -- 10 dogs and two cats -- from Thailand to California, and the more we got to know the pet owner Margot, the more we were in awe of her loving spirit.

Of course we knew this would be a great move to spotlight for our Pet Move of the Month. Read on to learn more about this menagerie of special pets... As you can see they come from diverse backgrounds and are all incredibly lucky to have ended up in the care of a compassionate animal advocate.

Meet a few of the pets:



Laisee was abandoned at a construction site and never had the chance to be socialized with people until Margot came along.



Arun is a proud and talkative tabby rescued from a Bangkok tourist attraction.



Phuan was a young stray with mange when Margot found him and nursed him back to health. He found his way into her garden and never left!



Bijoux is very friendly! This pup came from a breeder and was destined to be euthanized at the age of four due to bad skin problems. Margot didn't let that happen.



Doemer is an "ex-stray golf course dog" who decided that living under the shrubs of Margot's house would be a smart choice. Needless to say, she ended up taking him in.



As a kitten, Ketjil was dropped over the fence of Margot's garden in Bangkok and she's been part of the family ever since.


Dogs Duvel, Ukje, Setha, Lulu, Coco and Lily made the trip, as well. Margot is still busy settling in to her new home, but here are a few words from her:

I knew I was going to be in over my head taking on this adventure but didn't know how else to organize getting my animals to stay with me while starting a new life -- it'll all work out in the end and thankfully I could afford to have them transported by an organization like PetRelocation. I must admit that I did go through a phase of wanting to fly back and forth, taking them as excess baggage with perhaps Lulu and Lily having to be flown as cargo.

Tomorrow morning the movers will start to deliver the contents of the container shipped over from Bangkok with my furniture and all -- really exciting! There is a lot of work to be done yet, but nonetheless it's all moving towards establishing my new home in a very new part of the world to me, together with my beloved pets!


All the pet crates, lined up and ready to go!

In closing, I want to share with you that, while I'm sitting on a couple of dog cushions writing, a gas fire is burning. It's quite chilly outside and windy too, for us especially being used to the tropics. All the dogs are hanging out so very peacefully around me, with a little snore here or there. It beats music or TV and makes things incredibly cozy -- every night it's been like that. It's so very comforting during this huge transition. When I give myself a chance to be mellow, they follow suit and sigh a sigh of peace!

Many thanks again,



Thanks to Margot for sharing her move (and her story) with us. It was a pleasure and a privilege to help keep this wonderful family together. The PetRelocation team wishes them good luck with everything!

"How do I move my pets to Zambia?"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Roland
Number of Pets: 5
Pet Type: three dogs and two cats
Pet Breed: Boerboel, Jack Russel, Pit bull
From: George, South Africa
To: Ndola, Zambia

How do I go about transporting my animals to our new home in Zambia?




Hi Roland,

Moving your pets to Zambia will mean taking a look at the import requirements and also attending to basic logistics (you'll probably be flying?). Here are the pet import requirements for Zambia -- it looks like you'll need vet health certificates, import permits, and proof of updated rabies vaccines for your pets.

You'll also want to secure the correct travel crates for your pets, and check with the airline you'll be using to find out what their policies are regarding pets. As you can see, this will all take a little time and attention to detail so it's a good idea to start planning well in advance of your move.

If you have further questions and would like to find out more about our services, please fill out our free quote form. Thanks for checking in with us, and good luck with everything!


Pet Move of the Month: Liza and Val's Big Journey

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by PetRelocation.com Customer

As many of us know by now, planning a pet move can require lots of delicate and time-consuming planning. Just ask Melissa, a client we've been working with for months to arrange her dog and cat's move from Sri Lanka to Reno, Nevada.

You may remember this dedicated pet owner from an interview we posted about using technology when planning a pet move. Being so far away, Skype and email came in very handy as we worked with her to settle the logistics for Val and Liza's relocation.

Melissa was kind enough to check in with us once again now that her pet move is finally complete. Read on for more great insights into the process from a customer we'll miss working with... Thanks again, Melissa!

Had you ever moved a pet internationally before this?

I had not, but I have a friend who had a very bad experience when she attempted to move her cat without assistance. Ultimately, she had to leave him behind to an uncertain situation. I didn't want to imagine experiencing such a situation.

What were some of your concerns going into the move?

I was particularly concerned that moving my animals from Asia to the USA included the potential for more problems than moving in the reverse. Asia is not particularly pet friendly nor pet sensitive. My concern was not so much that they would be mishandled in any way, but more that their needs would be neglected.

Also, rules and regulations can change without notice or be subject to the authority of the moment.  I was very concerned that the animals could be delayed or denied entry at some point en route.



Did anything surprise you about the international pet moving process?

I can't say I was particularly surprised by anything. I would have thought the process to be more standardized across airlines or facilities. Having had some exposure to the convoluted logistics with which Bethany (my Super Agent) had to contend made me all the more certain that choosing PetRelocation was a very wise choice.

How did Liza and Val handle the travel process, and how are they adjusting to the new location?

We moved Liza, a 75 lb. mixed breed dog, and Val, a 7 lb. mixed breed cat through a convoluted, three country, two day (nearly 24 hours of flying) journey, and neither arrived the worse for wear. They were a little thinner, a little hungry and thirsty, but alert and healthy when they arrived.  

We haven't moved into our permanent residence in Reno so they're still bouncing around a bit. The cat isn't all that pleased with his restrictions and confinements but Liza is taking everything in stride. We've always told her she was an American dog and she certainly seems to have adopted the sense of entitlement rather easily. Her nose went into sensory overload the first time she went into a pet store and she quite enjoys herself with all the humans at the outdoor cafés. I'm sure Val will be happy once he can claim his own space and saunter at will.



What is life like so far in Reno as compared to Sri Lanka? Do you think it’s a pet-friendly place to be?  

I don't think there is a pet friendlier place anywhere in the USA. Sri Lanka has far more instances where animals are domesticated but neglected in some way (or feral).

What advice do you have for people who might be planning a move?

Ask yourself what you are willing to experience or what you're prepared to do if your animal is denied passage at the airport. Are you prepared to leave it behind? Reschedule all your own travel plans? Put it down? Those are fairly all of your options. How do you problem solve and find a solution at such a critical point? If you are not prepared to deal with the worst case scenario, you need to seek expert assistance.  

My "move" dates were uncertain so I ended up working with the agents at PetRelocation for 16 months before we traveled. We had worked out every detail of the move, and even with that much advance preparation there were last minute changes by the airlines that necessitated Bethany to rework details. With all the details to which I was tending for my own relocation, having to deal with glitches in the animal travel would have been too much.

I needed Bethany to be the expert and make the executive decisions and she was there for me and the animals, tending to every detail. She was able to work her magic without date or route changes. No matter how much of a micro-manager you might be, there are times when you need to enlist an expert and let them do their job; a pet move is a prime example.  

Cat Travel from the United States to Hong Kong

Monday, September 30, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Peggy
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Cats
Pet Breed: Ragdoll
From: Seattle, WA
To: Hong Kong

I am planning to send my cats from Seattle to Hong Kong in Dec. I am now in Hong Kong, but I can be back in the States in Dec. Some of the airlines (like EVA) do not accept animals. However, I have looked up Delta, which has a "SHIP YOUR PET IN CARGO" service.

Does the owner have to drop the pets off and pick them up or it can be a different person? How much would it be? They both already have their rabies vaccines. What else I should do? Do you cover all those services? If so, how much would you charge for that?




Hi Peggy,

Thanks for your questions. Traveling with pets internationally is a process with many moving parts, but with a good amount of planning and attention to detail it's possible to arrange all kinds of complicated relocations. Begin by taking a look at the pet import requirements for Hong Kong. You write that your cats have their rabies vaccines, but be aware that there are several steps you need to follow and you must do so in a particular order. "Start early" is the best advice we give to pet travelers!

Most of the pets we move fly in the cargo area of the plane on a separate flight from their owner. You need someone to check the pets in for their flight and then meet them on arrival and take them through customs, but it's not necessary to actually fly with them. If you hire us to assist you, we would have our agents take care of these tasks. We would also work to choose a pet friendly airline (one with established pet policies and a good safety record).

The cost of a pet moves depends on a few factors, but with a few more details we'll be able to give you an estimate. Please fill out our free quote form if you'd like to find out more about our services.

Thanks again for reaching out, and good luck with your upcoming move!


Guinea Pig Travel to the United States

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jeff
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Guinea Pig
Pet Breed: Guinea Pig
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
To: Rancho Santa Margarita, California


Dear PetRelocation,

We purchased our guinea pig in Canada. Is there any special paperwork required to bring her into the United States?




Hi Jeff,

The United States has pretty straightforward import rules when it comes to pets; in fact, for guinea pigs, the USDA does not impose any animal health requirements (please see here).

That being said, it would be wise to contact the airline you're using to see what they say about  transporting guinea pigs. You'll probably still need a vet health certificate stating your pet is fit to fly, and you'll need to have your guinea pig securely confined to a travel carrier that allows plenty of good airflow and meets the standards of the airline.

We've moved several guinea pigs in our day! See the picture below for an idea of what to expect. (Remember that it's important to for them to stay hydrated before a flight.)

Hope this has been helpful. If you have any more questions, please contact us. Good luck!


Flying to America (with Pets in Tow)

Monday, September 23, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Victoria
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dog and Cat
Pet Breed: Mixed
From: UK
To: Maine, USA

Dear PetRelocation,

Hi my name is Vikki and I'd like to know what I need to do in order to move my dog and cat with me when I relocate to Maine to be with my American partner from the UK.

They are already vaccinated to UK standards, and will have the rabies vaccine at least 30 days before I intend to fly. I may also add they have been microchipped, and I also understand that I will need a health certificate stating that both animals are fit to fly. Is there any other documentation I need?




Hi Victoria,

It sounds like you're on top of things! Here's a rundown of the pet import requirements for the United States -- as you can see, the rabies vaccine and health certificate are the key elements here, and you seem to have those covered (be sure to get the health certificate within 10 days of departure).

Other than what you've mentioned already, we recommend booking your pets' flight with a pet friendly airline (we often use United due to their PetSafe program) and make sure you have the correct travel crates.

If you have any other questions or would like to find out about our door-to-door services, please fill out our free quote form. Again, it sounds like you're doing a great job with your preparations so far and you're well on your way to a smooth trip. Good luck with everything, and thanks for checking in with us!

International Dog Travel: Italy to the United States

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Valentina
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Cocker Spaniel
From: Italy
To: Virginia, USA

Dear PetRelocation,

I'll finally go to Italy to take my sweetheart and move him with me to Virginia. What certificates and vaccines would I need?

He is more or less 25 pounds and I'm flying Lufthansa. Would I be able to take him with me on the plane, or will they put him in a different space? I'm stopping in Frankfurt for a connection flight. What do I have to do?

I can't wait to have him here!!!

Thanks a lot,


Hi Valentina,

Congratulations on bringing your sweetheart home to you! Bringing pets into the United States requires a bit of preparation but it's not as exhaustive a process as it would be for many other countries (and there is no quarantine). Take a look at the pet import requirements for the US for an idea of what to expect.

In addition to having an updated rabies vaccine and health certificate issued by your vet within 10 days of departure, you'll need to contact Lufthansa to make arrangements for your dog's flight. It's important to know that you don't necessarily have to be on the same flight as your dog. In fact, most of the pet moves we arrange entail owners flying separately -- it's often easier to do it this way.

Your dog will fly in the cargo area of the plane in a  temperature and pressure controlled area. Lufthansa is one of our top choices when it comes to moving pets, as they have established policies and a long record of safety. Take a look at our blog for more information about Lufthansa's Animal Lounge in Frankfurt, where your dog will most likely  have a chance to stop and take a break between flights.

If you have any more questions or are interested in finding out about out services, please contact us here for a free quote. Hopefully it won't be too long before your dog is with you where he belongs! Thanks for your message, and good luck with everything.


"Can My Large Dog Fly In-Cabin?"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jennifer
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Soft coated Wheaton/Golden retriever mix
From: US
To: Japan-Tokyo


Desperately trying to find a way my dog can ride in the cabin of a plane to relocate to Japan. She is 40 pounds so "too large" by all standards I can find but hoping someone can give me an alternative (service dog, therapy dog, specific airline?). We are too scared for her to fly under the plane in cargo.




Hi Jennifer,

This is a common question as many pet owners are not aware of the conditions within airplane cargo holds and are afraid of shipping their pets that way. A 40-pound dog is indeed too large to travel in-cabin on most (if not all) airlines and will have to ride as cargo.

Apart from very small pets, only trained and certified service or support dogs with legitimate documentation are sometimes allowed to accompany their owners in-cabin. If your dog is not a certified assistance dog and you are simply trying to find a way around following pet air travel regulations, you will not be allowed to fly your pet in-cabin. Falsely labeling a pet as a service animal is harmful to the validity of true service animals (and the reputation of owners) if the mislabeled dog misbehaves.

That being said, flying a pet as cargo is very safe and may in fact be more comfortable for your dog. Check out this post where we address questions about flying pets as cargo and another where we disprove myths about shipping pets as cargo. You'll learn that cargo holds are pressurized and climate-controlled, and aren't that different from the conditions in which human passengers fly in the cabin. Assuming you book with a pet-friendly airline (such as United) and that your dog's crate is airline-approved and appropriately-sized, your pet should ride safely and comfortably as cargo on his trip to Japan.

If you have any more questions about pet travel to Japan, be sure to contact us. Thanks for your question and good luck with your move!

Pet Travel Question: Should I Sedate My Cat for Travel?

Monday, August 19, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Anke
Number of Pets: Three
Pet Type: Dogs, Cat
Pet Breed: Mastiff, Bloodhound, Siamese mix
From: Austin, TX
To: Denver, CO


I'm taking my cat on the plane but am super concerned about having to take him out at security. He can be aggressive when anxious. My vet prescribed 10mg Acepromazine for my 15.5Ibs cat but I feel reluctant giving it. What are your suggestions? Sedative or not?




Hi Anke,

This is an important question. Owners sometimes wrongly assume that their pet's travel will be less stressful if they are sedated. However, sedating a pet when flying is dangerous and is one of the worst things you can do for the safety of your pet.

Sedatives can interfere with regular breathing and other bodily responses, and pets may react differently and unexpectedly to medications when they are in the air. In fact, most airlines will not fly a sedated pet, as over-sedation is a frequent cause of animal death during air transport. Check out a couple of posts where we address the dangers of sedating pets during air travel, such as No Sedation when Flying Pets! and Anxieties About Pet Travel: Don't Sedate - Get a Pet Travel Crate!.

The best thing you can do to ease your cat's anxiety is to make sure that he is properly crate-trained. Check out our tips for crate-training cats. The more comfortable your cat is with his crate, the less anxious he will be during travel, and the less likely that he will show aggression at the airport.

Should you have any more pet transport queries, feel free to contact us. Thanks for your question and good luck with your move!

Pet Move of the Month: Three Cats Adventure to New Zealand!

Monday, July 15, 2013 by PetRelocation.com Customer

This month's featured pet move is quite a story. It's always an honor to make arrangements for a repeat customer (this is the third pet move for this family), and helping  these three very loved kitties make their way to New Zealand from Canada was an experience that reminded us why we love doing what we do.

Just take a few minutes to read the story of Rufty, Jesse and Pippin and you'll see what we mean (you might need a tissue or two -- we sure did). Thanks so much to Jude, the cats' owner, for writing such beautiful answers to our questions, and please join us in congratulating our very special Pet Move of the Month!

This wasn't your first time moving internationally with pets. Can you tell us a little about the experiences you've had?

Moving four cats from Canada to New Zealand was a huge task, and not one we had anticipated. I had moved my cats before and knew how big a task it is. My two cats (Tufty Toes and Pippin) originally lived in LA, and when I moved to India to be with my husband, they came too. That was a tough move and I hated putting the cats through it -- India is not an easy place for pets. We left India after a year, and with lots of job insecurity, I had no idea where we were going to end up. Wonderfully, my parents in Canada offered to give our cats a loving home in their apartment in Victoria, alongside their two cats Rufty and Jesse! What a lifesaver that was, and they all did so well.

After quite a bit of reluctant globetrotting my husband and I have ended up living in New Zealand, where he works at Weta on Peter Jackson's movies. We are so lucky to be here and just love it (it's also where I grew up). Of course we really missed the cats, but the main thing was they were happy and loved. Little did we know how life could suddenly change! In October 2012 my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain tumours, and he died 19 days later. He really wanted my Mum to come back to NZ to live with us (this is her home country) and to bring the four cats, so my husband and I flew to Victoria to help get everything ready for the big move.



What were some of your concerns going into the move?

It was all so sudden and we were very unprepared to take such an epic process on. My first thought was "Rachel at Pet Relocation!"  She had helped me through the two previous moves already, and I knew I'd be in great hands. She promptly got me organised with Sarah and Tyler, who handled the move right to the end. At first, we didn't realise all the quarantine requirements and vaccination schedules that would be required for travel to New Zealand. When we found out that the cats would need to wait six months from the date of their rabies shots, it was quite a shock. Mum was leaving right away, and we were faced with the thought of five months of boarding before the cats could fly. I have to say -- they were anxious and tear filled days as we wrestled with what to do.

My dear cat Tufty was a very old gentleman at this point. He had traveled the world with me, and I hated putting him through it again. He had lost a lot of weight, lost most of his sight, and definitely was in the last period of his life. He still loved food and laps and beds and cuddles, so we just had to hope that he would cope with it all.



The cats moved over to the mainland to live with the wonderful Kathy at Phat Cat Inn near Vancouver. Sarah had found it and what a gem! We really can't thank Kathy enough -- it's a big job to take on cats for such a long stay.  She sent us regular emails and photos and we were sure that the cats were being loved. We couldn't have asked for more! She got to know them intimately, which really helped to make sure they were content.  It was this close attention that helped us through a really sad time. In May, it became obvious that Tufty just wasn't doing well anymore. He had started off well, being bold and adventurous, and adapting quickly, but he became completely blind, and had anxious periods that were affecting the others as well. It was awful, but we knew that we had to make the best decision for him. A 12-hour flight to New Zealand was out of the question, and I couldn't live with the thought he might die on the flight. In the end, after a few days of extra pampering and love, we had him put to sleep. I have to say -- it's a terrible thing to decide from the other side of the world, and makes me shed a tear just writing about it. We all know (and Kathy and the vet agreed) that it was the right thing to do, and this is life with animals, isn't it. How lucky I was to have loved him.

So, it was a tough last few weeks before the move, but as the flight date approached we were beyond excited. Poor Kathy had to say goodbye to the gang, and I'm sure they will have missed her. They spent a night in downtown Vancouver before the long flight to New Zealand. Then they had a comfort stop and another flight down to Wellington before the drive out to quarantine! Tyler kept us fully up-to-date at every step with flight tracking and updates from her agents in New Zealand. So many steps for the cats -- so many different environments and people before they finally got released from their 10-day quarantine. I was worried by the time they made it to their new home they would barely resemble the fun personalities we used to love!

The day they arrived was just amazing -- one of those days you'll treasure forever. We lifted their giant crates into the living room and opened the doors. They were all big eyes and careful steps -- very apprehensive at first, but so bold and inquisitive. Rufty the Brave was the first one to figure it all out. Within a few minutes he was purring and purring, a blissful expression on his face as he was showered with love. He didn't stop purring for several hours -- even walking round the house with his motor running loudly.



Jesse took only a little longer. He walked around, ogling through all the windows at the views outside. There was a moment when I reached down and tickled his chin and suddenly his expression changed and he started purring. I could see that the penny had dropped and he was sure this was all really happening and he was safe. It was wonderful watching that moment of comprehension -- so clear and full of happiness.

My little girl Pippin has always been the shyest and most timid. She looked all around and then found a really good spot to hide under a chest of drawers. I visited often, and she curled into a ball and slept contentedly. We all expected she would take a couple of days before really venturing out (as she had done in previous moves). It was a huge surprise when, five hours after arriving, she came out to the living room, found a rug she used to love in LA, and rolled and rolled and rolled all over it. She was so happy! Purring and rolling and playing with a toy. Amazing! She looked all around, had a wash and then joined the other two in the sunshine in Mum's bedroom. Utterly incredible.

I've never seen such obvious expressions of contentment and happiness in animals as that day. There was no doubt they knew they were home with their people, and everything was okay now.  It's only been eight days since they arrived, but they are completely at home. All their little personality quirks, games and tricks they used to play -- everything is back.  I doubt there is a happier house in all of Wellington!



Did anything surprise you about the international pet moving process?

Although it's a huge and arduous process, it's also a well-oiled machine, and moving from countries like Canada and New Zealand is not hard (if you have someone organising it for you!).  I hope we never have to do it again, but I can say with conviction that even a crazy move like this is possible and your pets will be ok at the end of it.

What is life like in New Zealand so far? Do you think it’s a pet-friendly place to be?

New Zealanders love animals, and it's as good a place as any for pets, I think. We're used to having indoor cats -- which is great for their health and lifespan and also for native wildlife -- but most people in New Zealand think that is cruel. Lots of native species have died out from predation by cats and dogs, so I'm glad we're not contributing to that, while still having happy cats! I'm sure it's a particularly wonderful place for dog owners as well -- so many lovely parks and wild areas to enjoy right in the cities. We're very spoilt here.



What advice do you have for people who might be planning a move?

If you think there could ever be an occasion in the future you may have to move countries, make sure your pets have all their vaccinations up to date (most importantly rabies).  And try and plan well in advance. If you have to wait for six months after blood tests confirming the vaccine is working, that can be hard.

And otherwise... call PetRelocation!  They will hold your hands and paws the whole way through. It's not a cheap thing to do, but if you need help, PetRelocation is the best you can get.

Please contact PetRelocation with your questions about moving pets to New Zealand or anywhere else life may take you, and happy traveling, everyone!