Help Me Move My Pet

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!


Pet Travel News: United Announces Opening of New O'Hare PetSafe Kennel Facility

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by Caitlin Moore

The new kennel facility at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) that we've been hearing about is now open for business, offering a new level of care for pets flying through ORD as part of United's PetSafe program.

The kennel is located inside United's ORD Cargo Facility and includes 28 individual enclosures so that animals of different species can be housed in separate ventilated, temperature-controlled areas. This is the third facility of its kind, resembling amenities already in place at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Liberty International Airport in Newark.

From an official United statement:

"We refer to our new facility as 'State-of-the-Arf'," said Fran Cervantes, United's PetSafe Product Development manager. "It was designed to provide the ultimate in safety and care for animals traveling with us. With the kennel location close to the gate area, and our six specially-built PetSafe vans exclusively used to transport animals, we get our four-legged passengers to and from their O'Hare flights as quickly and comfortably as possible."

In terms of specific services, pet enclosures are kept clean and sanitized, pets are walked and exercised, and upon request, they can even be bathed and groomed. Staff is on hand to oversee the pet operations, and they include PetSafe runners, Ramp and Cargo Operations teams, and a team of experts available by phone who can assist with advance reservations, monitoring pets en route, and tracking weather conditions.

According to Rod Zimmerman, United's senior manager of Cargo Operations at ORD, "Many of us are pet owners, so we're proud of our role in keeping all the animals traveling through O'Hare as safe, healthy and comfortable as possible. PetSafe's reputation as the premier animal transport service in the industry is very important to all of us."

Read more about United's PetSafe offerings at United.com and find out more about additional United product and route enhancements. As always, contact PetRelocation if you have questions about how to move your pet.


Summer Pet Travel Update: Embargo Information from United Airlines and Delta Airlines

Monday, May 13, 2013 by Caitlin Moore

Continuing our coverage of summer pet air travel embargoes and restrictions, today we have news that Delta Cargo has begun its Summer Live Animal Program. This means that during the summer months (specifically May 13 through Sept. 29, 2013) select stations will provide "additional care and protection" for pets and will fly certain breeds during warmer temperatures. Normally Delta will not fly pets if the temperature exceeds 85F/29C.

Please contact us to find out about the qualifying airports, and note that Delta Cargo will not accept any snub-nosed dog or cat if the temperature exceeds 75F/24C for any city. To qualify for these special summer allowances, all cities the pet is being routed through must qualify.

Delta may end up being the best choice for some people, but based on our experience, it's preferable to fly with an airline that operates with pet safe procedures all year (United Airlines drives pets out to the airplane in a temperature-controlled vehicle, for example, so the weather outside is not as big a factor). That being said, because English Bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and mixed varieties of these breeds are especially susceptible to the stress of travel, United has released some breed-specific adjustments recently. See the full Bulldog update here.

Also regarding United, Boston Terrier puppies, American Bulldog puppies and Pug puppies may fly any time of the year without restriction, but adults of these breeds are completely embargoed from May 15 to Sept. 15. To provide extra safety, snub-nosed breeds should use travel kennels that are one size larger than normally required.

All these rules can certainly sound confusing and this is just a quick overview, so don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the specifics of these summer regulations for pet travel. It's our job to see pets transported safely, and our team of specialists is happy to discuss your options and concerns.

Please stay in touch for more summer pet travel news, and travel safely everyone!



Pet Travel Question: Importing Dogs to Spain

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Dan
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Thai Ridgeback
From: Czech Republic
To: Murcia, Spain

I wish to buy a puppy in the Czech republic and have it transported to me in Murcia, Spain. I do not know what would be required legally and if the animal can travel freely within the EU. What would be required?

Also could you arrange transportation and what would be the cost?

Thank you,



Hi Dan,

Thanks for the question! These are the pet import requirements for Spain. Dogs are generally able to fly unaccompanied, but we do advise waiting until puppies are at least 16 weeks old before undertaking air travel.

If you're interested in finding out more about our services, please fill out our free quote form for an estimate. Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Pet News Round-Up: Looking Back at 2012, Fancy Dog Services and Pet Travel Changes

Friday, January 4, 2013 by Caitlin Moore

How's your new year going so far? There's already plenty of pet news to round up in 2013, so take a look and then have a happy Friday!

Mother Nature Network names its six top pet stories from last year.

Pets have emergencies, too, and Vet Care Express is a California company stepping up to help.

Can you put a price on your pet? The Texas Supreme Court is set to determine the "sentimental value" of animals.

Ideas for keeping pets healthy.

New York's East Village is offering some fancy choices for discerning dog owners.

Here's a little human travel news that might be of interest: some may not have to remove their shoes anymore at the airport.

A petition has been started to protest Qantas Airlines' ban on flying American Staffordshire Terriers.


How To Take Good Care of Your Pets During The Holidays

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 by Caitlin Moore


The holidays are a fun but hectic time, and your pets' needs shouldn't be overlooked as you plan your parties, road trips and feasts. How will you keep your pets happy, healthy and safe during the hubbub of the holidays?

Here are a few different scenarios and how to succeed in each one.


Traveling With Your Pets...

-Gather all the supplies necessary for a road trip, including plenty of food, water, meds, extra leashes, and favorite toys, and take a look at these holiday pet travel tips.

-Make sure ID tags are secure and up-to-date. Keep your phone number on the tags, but attach temporary ones displaying the address of where you'll be staying.

-Read up on hotel rules and make sure your hosts know what to expect as far as which pets you're bringing and what they'll require.

-Have a vet contact lined up in the place you'll be visiting, just in case.

-While on the road, try to keep to a normal schedule of feeding times and allow for plenty of exercise to minimize pet anxiety as much as possible.

-If you plan to fly with a pet during the holidays, check up on all airline rules and schedules, as they may be different than usual.


Hiring a Pet Sitter...

-If you're boarding your pet at your vet or another boarding facility, book early and ask about food, exercise breaks and where they'll sleep.

-If your vet is full, look into newer options like DogVacay, a service that allows you to hire pet sitters in your town.

-Authorize your pet sitter to make medical decisions on your behalf by providing written consent.


Staying Home...

-If you're having guests over for a meal or party, be firm about house rules regarding feeding pets. Many foods are dangerous for animals, and non-pet owners simply don't know that.

-Keep all decorations, festive plants, and candles beyond the reach of your curious pets.

-Establish a "safe zone" for pets who may become overwhelmed by too much noise and activity.


Do you have any other tips for having a safe and happy holiday season with your pets? Share them here or on our Facebook page!

Pet Travel News: Approved Pet Flights to Edinburgh

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by Caitlin Moore

It was previously announced that pets wishing to fly into Scotland will no longer have to be diverted to London or Manchester. A new facility at the Edinburgh airport accepts pets directly, making life much easier for Scotland-bound animals and their owners.

Travelers with specific questions about what routes are affected by this expansion now have an official document to reference. See below for the air routes approved by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as of Oct. 4, 2012.

Keep in mind that routes may change in the future, but for now this is a good guide for all pet travelers going to Edinburgh. As you can see, it's possible to gain entry to Edinburgh with pets via United Airlines, British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa.


DEFRA Pets Air Routes OCT12


Please contact PetRelocation with your questions about moving pets to the UK or anywhere else. Happy traveling, everyone!


Pet Move of the Month: Boris & Mia's Globetrotting Adventures to the UK and Back

Thursday, October 4, 2012 by PetRelocation.com Customer

About a year and a half ago we helped Boris and Mia move to the UK with their family, and when life beckoned everyone back to the United States recently, we once again assisted with the relocation. Both moves required careful attention to detail and time to adjust, but the pups did well and the whole family learned a lot from the experience.

The dogs' owner Adrian was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about their relocations, so read on to find some great information about moving pets.

Congrats to Boris and Mia, we're so glad they chose us to help them travel the world safely!


What were some of your concerns going into moving your dogs internationally? 

First and foremost our dog’s well being, there are stories floating around about the side effects of flying animals. For example, stress related to the entire moving process, risk of heat stroke (time of year, origin and destination applies), pressure variations within the cabin, and possible injuries due to handling. An additional concern was being able to meet the regulatory requirements (i.e., having all paperwork in order and certified upon arrival).

Did anything surprise you about the international pet moving process?

The most surprising part of the pet move was the genuine help and positive coaching we received from Scotty. We did our homework and researched what it was going to be like for our dogs. However, the constant questions we had and quick response from Scotty helped ease our apprehensions.

How have your dogs adjusted to moving to a new place each time?

When they arrived in England (a year and a half ago), they were very sleepy and could barely keep their eyes open. Their internal clocks were off so it took them a couple of days to adjust to the new feeding, walking, and sleeping schedule.  They also had to get used to new food. Upon their return to Texas this last month they once again had to adjust to the time zone. Thus far, we encountered some minor issues with Mia’s breathing as it was heavier than normal and Boris was salivating more than prior to the move. Of course the vast temperature changes may have played a major roll considering they were used to a much cooler temperature. It took a few days to work out but they are back to their normal barking selves.    

What is life like in the US compared to the UK? What adjustments have you made, if any?

The original relocation to the UK took more adjusting from our part (vs. from Mia and Boris).  For Mia and Boris the climate changed from three digit summer temperatures to a below freezing wet winter. This meant more indoor living for them, which they did not mind at all due to the extra attention. For us, because dog owners are common in the UK, and they like to frequently walk their dogs without a leash, we had to constantly coach Mia and Boris not to mind free roaming dogs approaching them. It was a learning curve for all of us. Eventually they got used to seeing other dogs walking by and in one occasion Boris happened to lean in and give a big kiss to another dog passing on a walk.

Additionally, in Chester where they lived, there were many dog parks. This meant that most of the residents were comfortable around dogs. We would have a few people stopping us to pet the dogs and learn about them. Eventually they had a few people in the neighborhood asking for them if we were spotted walking without them.

There were several veterinarians and plenty of pet stores. A charming aspect of living in the UK is that some of the pubs allow you to bring your dog in. So when the bitter cold air is creeping around and the fire is crackling away in a pub, you don’t have to feel guilty for leaving the dogs at home. Some would even provide a doggy bowl of fresh water for them.

The move back to the USA has taken a little bit more time for the dogs to acclimate. They were provided with plenty of fresh water, shade, exercise and rest to help allow them to adjust faster. After a few days they were back to their normal trotting, fence protecting, happy-go-lucky ways. It is obvious they missed being able bask in the sun and run freely in a big yard.

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

Find out what regulatory agencies come into play and their requirements. Understand lead times for the required paperwork to be processed in order to follow the sequence of requirements carefully. Ensure crates/kennels are large enough for the breed to have room to move freely. Do not feed pets prior to move and exercise them prior to move. Groom them according to destination. Lastly, relax as pets can “pick-up” the emotional state of their owner. That being said, I would like to leave you with a somewhat comical story.

The Sunday before the dogs’ big move back to the States we woke up to what could have been a disaster. We had meticulously put together a packet to include all necessary documentation for their arrival. That packet was laid down on the kitchen table along with several other miscellaneous items (some of which contained food). Not to mention it was placed under some of those items as well. I am sure you guessed it, the only packet that was found on the floor, torn apart and with bite marks all over was their relocation packet.  The food and rest of items were unscathed. Of course neither Mia nor Boris confessed to the mishap (although Boris is our prime suspect). In some way I think this was their way of saying “We know what is going on!” Dogs are smart heart warming creatures and sensitive to their surroundings. The best ending to this story, they didn’t ruin their pet passports.


Excellent stuff! Please contact PetRelocation.com if you have any questions about moving your own pets, and keep in touch for more great pet travel stories.

Seeking Safety in the Skies: How to Minimize the Risks of Pet Air Travel

Monday, October 1, 2012 by Caitlin Moore

You may have come across a couple of unsettling news items recently regarding pet travel. Two dogs -- both reportedly young and healthy, both United passengers -- died during their respective cross-country U.S. flights. As their owners search for answers, other pet owners have found themselves with plenty of questions about pet air travel safety, as well.

Given the current lack of clear information available about these particular incidents, it can help those who need to travel by air with their pets to focus on what we know about reducing the risks of pet travel by air. While many pet owners’ first instincts might be to react strongly against pet air travel in general, the impact of no longer having the option to travel by air could mean that pets would be left behind in shelters when their owners relocate for work or military reasons.

As this industry continues to evolve, it's always a good time to discuss the do's and don'ts of pet travel. The fact is that some pets shouldn't fly, and the ones that are cleared for takeoff require dedication and care from everyone involved in the process. While it's true that there's always an element of risk involved in pet travel, there are ways to effectively reduce those risks.

Here's what you can do to be smart about pet travel by air:

Plan early and plan well. Think of pet travel as a major life event similar to undergoing back surgery or buying a car. Just as you wouldn't choose a random doctor out of the phone book to perform a serious operation or throw down thousands of dollars on a vehicle without reading customer reviews, you can't rush into pet travel without planning carefully. Talk to pet travel professionals and pet owners who have done this before, consider all viable options, and allow plenty of time to map out the best path for your pet.

Talk to your vet about whether or not your pet is safe to fly. Just because you can't bear the idea of leaving your pet behind doesn't mean traveling is always the right choice, and an honest conversation with a trusted veterinarian is definitely in order before booking your flight. Age, weight, medical history, and even temperament all play a role in deciding if your pet is up for the traveling experience. Overweight and elderly pets are clearly at a higher risk, as are anxiety-prone animals or those with separation issues. Consider investing in a full vital organ screening at your veterinarian’s office to identify potential underlying conditions that could flare up during an air travel experience.

Take extra caution with snub-nosed breeds. Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Mastiffs, Persian cats, and other brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to breathing problems and heat stroke in stressful situations such as air travel, and many vets would advise that you avoid flying these pets. If you do decide to move a snub-nosed pet, it's important to, among other things, choose a large travel crate that offers good ventilation, choose a pet-friendly airline, and work to make sure the pet is well-hydrated before, during, and after the flight.

Choose a large, well-ventilated travel crate. It's actually important for all pets to be transported in a travel crate that is not only airline-approved, but roomy and well-ventilated. Good air flow is key in terms of your pet's comfort level and overall safety, as is proper hydration and working to make sure your pet is comfortable and familiar with the crate well before the day of departure.

As the airlines work to perfect their pet travel processes and as the Department of Transportation continues to examine and alter its pet air travel incident reporting policies, it's up to you to keep your furry family member's best interests in mind and to plan all travel details with care. Please contact our team of Pet Relocation Consultants with any questions you have about how to plan the safest pet move possible.



Pet Travel Update: When Do Summer Airline Embargoes End, Anyway?

Thursday, September 27, 2012 by Caitlin Moore

Summer is technically over, but the weather can remain unpredictably warm in many regions through fall. If you're planning to fly in the next few weeks, it's important to continue to make careful travel choices when moving your pet and to be aware of airline regulations.

Many airlines altered their pet flight procedures over the summer to ensure safety, and some will continue to observe modified rules and schedules for a few more weeks. In particular, Delta says it will continue to operate the summer pet program until Oct. 14, 2012 at all participating facilities except Atlanta, which will lift the rules on Oct. 1. Other airlines operate with their own procedures, so it's important to check with your carrier before you fly in order to avoid any surprises or delays.

Once again, here's the Master Station List from Delta listing effective dates for the summer pet program:


Delta Cargo 2012 Summer Live Animal Program


As always, please contact PetRelocation with your questions about moving pets.

Planning International Pet Travel: Tips for Traveling With Pets Over The Holidays

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 by Caitlin Moore

At first it sounds like a great idea: take advantage of a long holiday weekend and get your relocation out of the way. Christmas and New Year's Day each fall on a Tuesday this year, so many people will be enjoying two four-day weekends and possibly a nice long break from work and school. Families often choose times like this to schedule a long-distance relocation, but unfortunately travelers doing so with pets in tow may encounter unexpected delays.

Hoping to move your pet internationally during the holidays? Here are some ways to ensure that your move goes smoothly:


1. Be aware of the tight pre-export timeline. Many international pet moves require that you go to the vet within ten days of departure (or sometimes sooner), secure health documents, and have those documents endorsed by the USDA. Usually the USDA needs about 48 hours to return the pet paperwork, and considering that the offices will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, will have limited hours on Dec. 24 and 31, and will probably be experiencing backlogs and generally running slower than normal during the entire week, the window of opportunity to get everything in order becomes uncomfortably small. Even the most organized travelers could find their plans suspended if their documents aren't returned in time. Your best bet is to arrange your pet’s flights so that the USDA endorsements can be issued well before or well after the holiday rush.

2. Consider departing from a port city. If your plans depend on your pet being able to travel during Christmas or New Year’s week, your best bet may be to depart from a USDA port city. Many larger airports have port vets, so if you're traveling from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami or Atlanta you may be able to have your USDA paperwork taken care of on site at the time of departure. Again, these offices may be experiencing backlogs and closures and advance appointments are often required at port USDA offices, so it’s best to discuss this possibility with a pet relocation specialist before moving forward.

3. Expect the unexpected. While not all relocations will face the holiday-related logistical roadblocks (for example, moves within the United States, US imports, and US exports to Mexico and Canada do not require USDA endorsements), it's worth remembering that things tend to be more chaotic during the holidays. Packed planes and weather delays are not uncommon at this time of year, and animals flying below the passenger area of the plane are often the first to be rerouted or rescheduled to keep them safe. The best attitude toward traveling with pets during the holidays is to expect the unexpected, or to arrange your pet’s relocation well in advance of this holiday week.

Looking for advice on the best time to move your pet this fall? Our Pet Relocation Consultants are happy to help put together a timeline that will work for everyone – and have your pet home in time to enjoy the holidays. Contact us today to get started.


Photo by uggboy via Flickr


Pet Move of the Month: Izzy's Move to Indonesia

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by PetRelocation.com Customer

It's something that many of us have come to believe wholeheartedly -- home is where your pet is. Whether you're moving across the country or across the world, including the family's animal companion makes all the difference when it comes to settling into a new place.

That's exactly what Izzy's owners recently discovered. They were initially anxious about bringing her all the way from Alaska to Indonesia, but it turned out to be well worth it and it sounds like Izzy has even helped them to learn a lot about Jakarta, their new home.

Read on to find some great tips about relocating a pet to Indonesia -- this family did a wonderful job and we were happy to help them keep everyone together!


Is this the first time you’ve ever moved a pet?

It is not the first time we have moved a pet overseas, however it is the first time I knew there was a company that could help me. Had I known this several years ago when we moved our yellow Labrador to Dubai, we would not have run into the problems we ran into and would have been able to bring her with us, rather then waiting several months to figure out how to send her and then worrying about her well-being all the way there.  

What were some of your concerns going into the move?

I worried that maybe it would be too difficult to find an airline that would fly Izzy safely, and that it would be too far of a flight for her to travel, too hot, and that maybe she couldn't come with us. I would call various airlines, and I could not understand them, and they didn't' t seem to have the information I was looking for. In addition, there were so many import permits and so much legal paperwork to complete that it was just too overwhelming to figure out on my own. I would get different information every time I would call an airline or other pet relocation company. I was worried that if I couldn't get help moving her and I did it on my own, she would end up in a foreign country and I would never see her again.  

Did anything surprise you about the international pet moving process?

I was just surprised how difficult it is for a regular person to figure it all out without any experience. PetRelocation.com  was so knowledgeable about pet friendly airlines, import permits, vaccinations, and all the timing involved. I was surprised that they were so diligent in making sure Izzy's trip was the safest and best way to travel. They were just so knowledgeable about the best route for our Izzy to take. Even though it seemed like the longest, it was absolutely the safest way for her to go. They were not about getting her there quickly as much as getting her there safely and comfortably and maintaining her health all the way.  I was overwhelmed with the knowledge they had about moving pets and the different country requirements. I could not have done it on my own -- I tried and spent several days and got absolutely nowhere.


How is Izzy adjusting to the new location?  

Surprisingly, Izzy is doing remarkably! I thought that she would have some adjustments to make and would act differently for a while, however her personality is the same. She has developed the same silly habits here, such as finding corners in the house to put herself into and barking at me to go for a walk or to get an extra bite of something. She also surprisingly loves the weather in Jakarta.  She constantly requests to go outside and will just lie down outside soaking up the sun with her Alaskan fur coat and everything. She loves the pool as well, but coming from Alaska she has not yet learned how to swim so she is taking swimming lessons! She loves to be outdoors.  

Unfortunately we did have a bit of health scare, unrelated to the actual travel. Izzy arrived in Jakarta 10 days before I did and stayed with my husband and son, who had arrived a couple weeks earlier. She arrived in great health and was happy, only had to serve one day in quarantine, and the relocation company here delivered her straight to our doorstep. However, once I arrived in Jakarta and Izzy saw me, she became so excited she started running around the yard like a crazy lab. She started digging in the garden and ate something foreign. I wasn't able to get her to stop right away, and then the next day she became ill -- refusing to eat, throwing up, and acting very lethargic. I was extremely worried after everything we went through to get her here safely that she was not going to make it. I've never had a sick dog before.

Everything worked out for the best, though, and because of this unfortunate experience, I can say with confidence (which I did not know before and was worried about), that yes, Jakarta is a third world country but they are capable of taking excellent care of dogs and pets here. Izzy was in the hospital for five days with gastritis (labs love to eat everything), and the entire time the veterinarians would text me her treatment plan and tell me how she was doing. They also texted pictures of her X-rays and medications. You don't get that much feedback in the States. I was extremely happy with the knowledge they had, and they returned Izzy back to her healthy self. They even make house calls! Now I can truly say with confidence that they have great pet care here, as well.

What is life like in Indonesia? Is it a pet-friendly place to be?

Well, it was not like I expected it to be at all. The weather is not nearly as hot as living in Houston, Texas in the summer. There are lot of dogs here. In our complex I counted several golden retrievers, a bull dog, dachshunds, a poodle, and Jack Russell terrier, all taking a walk.  Many people have the perception that Jakarta is not a dog friendly place, however I have run across several veterinarians here as well as holistic dog food stores. Groovy pets has a vetcare clinic for ill animals as well as a groomer and a store that carries most high quality brand dog food -- many I did not expect to find. I was able to keep Izzy on the same dog food.  Although it is a Muslim country, many of the Muslims tolerate dogs, and when hiring "help" here such as maids and gardeners you just have to make sure they are okay with dogs. Surprisingly there are many Indonesians who own dogs as well.

Indonesia is a very busy place with traffic that cannot be described, and there are many things a dog can get into that can be dangerous (as we found out).  Before bringing your dog, its best to make sure the house you will move into is cleaned up around the garden area and free of pesticides, poisons and fertilizers. All homes are secured with a fence or brick walls all around your home so your dog will be secured safely inside. All homes have a pool as well, and for dogs who love to swim it can be very therapeutic. In Jakarta the gardeners are usually hired as dog walkers and often will walk your dog to a park where many other dogs congregate and have a play date!!  

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

Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the area you are going to be moving to so you can make it safe for your pet.  Find out if other people have moved their dog or pet to that country. Prepare your pet ahead of time by getting them used to traveling in a crate. Find out what pet food is available in your new location and try to switch them before they travel so they will not have tummy issues when they get there. Find a veterinarian before arriving in your country so that if any unforeseen circumstances arise, you are prepared the minute your pet arrives. Find out how you will get your pet to the vet if you are not able to drive in your host country.

PetRelocation.com is worth the peace of mind when moving your pet safely to another country, as it saves time and worry.  It was so worth it to get our Izzy safely to Jakarta, and we will definitely call upon PetRelocation.com again when we move back.  

Pet Travel News: Edinburgh Airport Can Receive Pets Directly

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Caitlin Moore

A new policy is about to make life easier for a number of travelers by allowing pet owners to fly their pets directly into Scotland. Previously, animals going to the UK could only be received through London or Manchester, but now dogs, cats, and ferrets flying under the EU Pet Travel Scheme can land in in Edinburgh directly.

Extrordinair, a freight forwarding company, is the group behind this expansion. Here's what the managing director had to say:

"Our new facility at Edinburgh Airport means that animals flying into Scotland can be reunited with their owners within hours of touchdown, provided that they have a valid Pet Passport or EU third country Health Certificate and comply with DEFRA regulations."

We recently discussed how Scotland is a pretty pet-friendly place, and this change should come as excellent news to all the pet travelers who will be returning to Scotland with a pet or checking this destination out for the first time.

Read more about this convenient new addition to the services at the Edinburgh airport, and please contact PetRelocation.com with any questions about pet travel -- Scottish or otherwise.



Pet Travel Question: "Will My Dog Fly Safely?"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Patricia
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Spitz Pomeranian
From: India
To: Mexico

Hello, I'm traveling with my dog from New Delhi, India to New York, he will go as checked baggage in the Lufthansa flight that I will take. From India there's a stopover in Germany for three hours, and then we continue to New York. In total the travel is 20 hours on the plane plus the three hour stopover.

I chose Lufthansa because of its good reputation taking care of animals, but this is the first time I'm taking a pet with me and it worries me that he goes as checked baggage. Is it completely safe? is it really completely controlled in terms of the temperature and pressure? I would appreciate some insight on how this works. I have tried looking for pictures and for a proper description of the place where they put the pets in the plane, but I don't find much.

Two days after arriving in New York, I'm taking an American Airlines flight to Cancun, Mexico, which is the final destination. American Airlines has a temperature policy -- if the temperature exceeds a limit they will not take my pet that day, does that mean that the baggage area is not completely controlled in the temperature? Don't they have AC down there?

I would really appreciate your insight into this area of the planes. Thank you very much!



Hi Patricia,

Your questions are completely  understandable -- pet travel can definitely seem less than transparent at times. We often hear concerns about flights and safety, and our best advice is to choose a pet-friendly airline with established pet policies (we often go with United, KLM and Lufthansa).

We have discussed Lufthansa on our blog in the past: here's an interview with a Lufthansa expert as well as look at a few important things to know about them.

During the summer many airlines employ embargoes in order to minimize the time that pets are exposed to hot weather, particularly on the tarmac as they're taken on and off the plane. Airlines like United actually transport the pets in air-conditioned vehicles to and from the plane and make sure they're never left to sit in extreme temperatures -- a primary reason why we choose such airlines to begin with (here's a video that sheds light on the process).

If an airline has a temperature policy it means they might not have temperature-controlled vehicles that transport the pets, so you will probably want to double check with them to find out exactly how they do things.

If you have any questions about any of this, please contact us. We'd be happy to help you arrange your move or simply offer more advice. Good luck with everything, Patricia!