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Behind the Scenes at PetRelocation: Sarah's Four Year Pet Shipping Journey

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 by Core Values

sarah & rebaEmployee Profile: Sarah Smith, Senior Pet Relocation Consultant

by Kelley Barnes, Director of HR

Sarah Smith will be celebrating her four year anniversary with PetRelocation this March. In 2014, she helped more than 200 clients by creating customized move plans to safely transport their family pets and guiding them through the selection process to determine the perfect solution to meet their specific needs.

The intricacies of international requirements for the import and export of live animals is not knowledge that can be picked up quickly and easily. Undergoing the same educational process that all our Consultants experience, Sarah started her career with PetRelocation focusing on domestic US moves but she now serves as one of our experts regarding pet transport that originates or terminates in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The complexities of permits and timelines for that region can take over a year to master, given all the countries involved.

When asked about her role in the company, Sarah said, “We send pets to more exotic locations than ever before. Planning can take days or weeks, so even if you apply the same thought processes, it’s never the same day twice.”

Not only does Sarah excel in providing expert advice to prospective clients, she also understands what is means to embody our company values, including commitment and wisdom. When asked to be the subject of our first employee profile in 2015, Sarah demonstrated her dedication to teamwork by making the time to answer the following interview questions.

What’s your first memory of working at PetRelocation?

They took me and Christina (she started on the same day and worked here for about 1.5 years) out to lunch EVERY day that week. And there was beer at lunch!! I remember it was a VERY relaxed atmosphere and I loved that right away. There were no micromanagers breathing down your neck. Everyone was friendly and genuinely cared for one another.

What drew you to the company initially?

PETS! I was looking for a job that somehow incorporated animals. I am an animal lover and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew at that point in my life I wanted it to involve animals. I was looking for a supplemental job, just something to pay a few fun bills here and there. And after starting, I found myself needing to rely on this job for financial stability. After I had worked here for a few months, I knew I wasn’t leaving! I got to use my love for animals and my passion for helping people while having fun with puzzle-solving logistics!

How has the company changed during your tenure?

Sooooo much has changed. The company has grown in sales, maturity, processes and people. We have more resources and processes in place to support our work. It helps us to do our jobs better.

The two most notable changes? 1) Moving from our Spicewood offices to Downtown Austin. 2) We used to handle the entire move for each client from building the plans to the actual shipping. We really improved the overall process by having the task split between two people, allowing us to really focus on best practices.  

 

zoo pic

The PetRelocation team on a recent outing

What’s your favorite client story?

I have too many to pick one!! I’ve moved pets for professional UFC fighters and professional European basketball players. I have several clients that are “threepeats.” One duo of Rottweilers moved with us from Laos to the US, then the US to Mongolia, then Mongolia back to the US. Probably some of the best world travelers we have!  

One “story” that touches me involves at least three different clients. In 2013 we moved a sweet family to Dubai. They had a few cats and a dog. I had another potential client contact me about moving his dog and cat to Dubai, but he was terrified of what would be life for his Golden Retriever in a foreign country. I connected the two clients -- past and potential.

They hit it off and Kim (past client) took Jim and his family (potential client) to breakfast while they visited Dubai on a house hunt. He hadn’t even hired us yet! Kim convinced him that Dylan (his Golden) would be just fine and that we were a great company to work with. They hired us, and now the two families are fast friends in Dubai! Kim also had a hand in easing the fears of another client whose pets just moved, and now Jim and his family are paying it forward to a new potential client! I think we’re starting a group of friends in Dubai and that really warms my heart.

 

dylan

Dylan the Golden in Dubai

What has been your proudest moment while working PetRelocation?

Generating $1.2 million in revenue in 2014, which resulted in lots of beautiful reunions!

What do you think will change about pet travel in the next five years?

It’s hard to say. Country requirements will change, as they always do. For example, the European Union has a new rule that started being enforced on January 1 requiring that a pet traveling to the EU arrive within five days of the owner. It’s a huge change and will impact not only our clients, but anyone headed into the EU.

I also think companies will start realizing their employees won’t leave their pets behind, and we can expect more organizations to regularly factor pets into their employee’s relocation reimbursement plan.  

What advice to you have for people who want to join the company?

You MUST be able to work strange hours. You MUST be able to deal with stress -- a high level of stress. You MUST care about animals, first and foremost! Decide if the stress and hours are worth it for you. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok, but don’t waste your own time by “trying it out.” It will be MORE stressful than they tell you! But so rewarding and worth it!

Everyone here helps each other. There will be a team of people willing to help you solve the client’s problem. You’re never on your own. The culture here has always been one of fun and caring. In fact, I think the team tries to focus on those qualities when hiring.

reba

Reba, Sarah's dog, helping out at the office

What do you wish other people knew about the company?

Two things: 1) We don’t rescue and/or find pets a new home: our purpose is focused on relocation pets who already have an owner. 2) Our clients constantly tell us how this was the least stressful part of their whole move, and we’ve had others tell us that they wish we had handled their personal belongings as well because we made things so easy on them. We may cost more than other similar services, but we provide quality, professional service to every client, every day.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a super social person, but some of my favorite times are sitting on my couch in pajamas with Reba (my dog) and a glass of wine. Even better if my sister is in town!! Family is #1 for me.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Read, take Reba to the dog park, lift weights, swim, eat and drink, travel and anything involving water, sand and sun.

Hollywood wants to make a movie about your life. Who do they cast to play you?

Laura Prepon -- but not from Orange is the New Black. Laura Prepon from a few years ago when she was playing Donna from That 70’s Show (redheaded tomboy, goofball).

Editor's Note: We interviewed Sarah back in 2011, too -- take a look what she had to say after working at PetRelocation for just a couple of weeks, and read about some of the incredible experiences Sarah and the rest of the PetRelocation team have recently arranged.
 

Flying Internationally with Restricted Dog Breeds

Friday, January 30, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Biggie
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Pit Bull mix (though hasn't had DNA testing)
From: Chicago, USA
To: Bulgaria

 

Hi,

I've been researching individual airline guidelines for transporting dogs, and have found that the restricted breeds are often subtitled "brachycephalic or snub-nosed breeds," which I thought referred to dogs such as pugs and English Bulldogs. However, pure bred or any mixed breeds of Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are listed in the restricted breeds, as well. Is this because they are considered brachycephalic/snub-nosed, or is it an additional/unrelated issue? I am considering a move to Europe and will not move without my dog, but also do not want to take any extra risks if it is a greater health hazard for his breed to fly.

Additionally, I was unclear whether dogs transported in the cargo compartment can be flown in the crates that are metal only, or are you supposed to use the carriers that are plastic enclosures with metal doors? My dog is well behaved in his normal metal crate where he can easily see out, but is often anxious and frightened inside of a plastic crate with the limited number of slits.

Thanks for your help!

 

Hello,

Thanks for the question, we'd be happy to offer some guidance. Breeds such as Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are often listed as "restricted" because of historic breed bans rather than health issues. Though you'll find plenty of evidence to support the fact that these breeds are no more dangerous than any other (as we're sure you already know), their size, appearance and possible strength still dictates the policies of many countries and airlines.

We often refer to breed-specific legislation resources online when helping our clients plan out international moves, as some countries do not allow certain breeds to be imported. For example, we helped a dog named Stan move to the Netherlands in 2013 when his owner found out that he wouldn't be able to go to Denmark, where Pit Bulls are banned. Advance planning and creative solutions might be necessary for your move, as well, so it's great that you're starting the process now.

As far as travel crates, this is up to the airline. United (an airline we often choose to fly with) requires that Pit Bulls and a few other breeds travel in reinforced crates meeting IATA Container Requirement #82. KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways are also airlines that we typically select, so we recommend researching the current rules and procedures of these carriers when planning your dog's move.

We also recommend contacting the Ministry of Agriculture in Bulgaria as well as any local authorities and vets who may be able to shed light on how Pit Bulls are regulated (if at all) there. Every country is different, and it's best to learn as much as you can about laws and cultural attitudes before you go.

Hopefully this helps! Just let us know if you think you'd like some help arranging this move (you can fill out our online consultation form), and good luck with everything.

Pet Move of the Month: Lucy's Journey to Hong Kong

Thursday, January 15, 2015 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Lucy on the beachMore and more people are choosing Hong Kong as a relocation destination, and with each pet move comes another chance to learn something about the process (and about pet travel in general).

On that note, we're happy to share Lucy's pet move story to Hong Kong as our latest Pet Move of the Month! In the following interview, Lucy's owner shares lots of great information about the logistics and emotions involved with international pet travel.

What brought about your move?

My company offered me a year-long assignment in Hong Kong.

Have you ever flown a pet before?

No!

What were your initial concerns?

Everything! I knew nothing about the process, and frankly the horror stories played up by the media were initially very frightening. My number one concern was Lucy’s well-being during the transport process. She can be a nervous girl and I knew that the door-to-door move was going to be very overwhelming for her. I was also concerned about the paperwork and the tight timeline, but that is why I chose to work with PetRelocation!

What surprised you about the pet travel process? Can you discuss any particular challenges or interesting details?

Having never done this, I ran into a lot of surprises! I think what shocked me most was learning that so many airports had animal hotels or similar facilities. I had no idea that such a thing existed!

We ran into a lot of challenges with my move and I am so glad to have had Brooke, our consultant, working with me every step of the way. The biggest hurdle we faced was a mix-up at the lab processing Lucy’s FAVN test the week before her move. We were already under an incredibly tight deadline with no wiggle room. The delay, coupled with a Jewish holiday (my vet would be out of the practice) and a US holiday (Columbus Day) threatened our timeline significantly. I was SO nervous!

Thankfully the results arrived in just enough time for Brooke to get creative and we found an alternative path to get Lucy out on time. I am so grateful that she had both the patience and expertise to help us navigate that challenge!

How has Lucy managed the move?

In all honestly, Lucy initially had a difficult transition. My sensitive girl was really thrown off by the travel and our new neighborhood. It took some time for us to adjust and find a new routine. I think it is really important to manage your expectations for your pet’s adjustment to a new environment. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that I wouldn’t have ‘my’ Lucy back for some time.

Getting into a rhythm and finding some fun things to do helped tremendously, and I’m so happy to say that she is loving life here now! She’s met some neighborhood friends and has done a lot of exploring already! Don’t underestimate your pet’s ability to adjust, just give them some time!

 

Lucy at the galleria

 

Is Hong Kong a pet-friendly place to be?

It really depends on where you live, and finding a place to live is a challenge.  My company will be keeping me in a pet-friendly serviced apartment (there are only a handful in Hong Kong) for the year to keep things easy. I was surprised to see that there are pet stores, vets and groomers everywhere, but dogs are forbidden from most public places, especially parks. Finding green space can be difficult.

I was lucky to discover a book called The Woof Guide to Hong Kong, which has been an excellent resource. We’ve managed to locate some pet ‘gardens,’ hiking spots and a couple of dog-friendly beaches. The plan is to have an adventure each weekend to keep things interesting! Overall, Hong Kong is not as dog-friendly as the US, but it could certainly be worse and thankfully we have been able to maintain a similar quality of life here.

What advice do you have for others planning a pet move?

Hire an expert! And not just any expert, PetRelocation! Put your effort and energy into your own move and have someone help with the pets, it is worth every penny! There is so much information online and much of it is conflicting.

Furthermore, the paperwork can be intimidating and overwhelming and there is no room for error! Don’t expect that you are going to be able to do it all yourself. Having an expert consultant, especially when we ran into some challenges, was my saving grace!

Why did you choose Pet Relocation?

I chose Pet Relocation for the reputation. But beyond that, I was really impressed by the information and resources on the website. I am so thankful to have had such a great team to work with. Thanks, Heather and Brooke!

Thanks to Lucy's owner Alicia for her thoughtful insights and excellent advice! Have questions about moving pets to Hong Kong or another destination? Please contact us for a consultation.

Can Bengal Cats Travel to Australia?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Yudha
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: Bengal
From: Medellin, Colombia
To: Sydney, Australia

 

Hi,

We have a Bengal and we are currently living in Colombia. We have plans to move to Sydney, Australia around April 2015. We understand that we cannot transport our cat directly to Australia from Colombia. However, we are planning to stop by Los Angeles for one week.

Is there a possibility of bringing our cat to Australia from Colombia via USA? If yes, what will be the procedure and cost?

Regards,
Yudha
 

Hi Yudha,

Thanks, great question! First of all, Bengal cats may not be imported into Australia unless they are at least five generations removed from their purebred, non-domestic ancestors. Please read more details about import restrictions regarding breed here

If you can proceed, then we'll continue: yes, moving pets to Australia from a non-approved country will require first spending time in a second, approved country, and the United States does qualify. You'll need to follow the pet import requirements for the United States to move your cat there, and then you'll need to follow the Australia pet import requirements from the United States. You can find the overview of steps on the Australia Department of Agriculture website.

Unfortunately you will need to arrange your schedule so that you are in the United States for more than a week. You have a couple of options -- you can either go to the US for the initial rabies vaccine and testing, go back to Colombia, then go to the US again before moving on to Australia, or you can just move to the US for the full vaccine preparation process and then go to Australia.

Typically the entire pet import process to Australia takes 190 days from the start to the finish (including the 10-day quarantine upon arrival). Finally, the costs of a pet move to Australia vary from one instance to another and are significant; you can probably expect to spend at least $3500.

If you think you'd like some assistance with this move and want to find out more about our services, please fill out our online consultation form. You're also welcome to take a look at our blog for more information about international pet travel

Hopefully this helps to get you started. Good luck with everything!

 

Important: Beware of Pet Scams!

Monday, December 8, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

puppyDear Pet Lovers,

We've been receiving lots of inquiries about questionable pet transportation arrangements and want to remind everyone to watch out for pet scammers! If you're in contact with a company offering a free or low-cost puppy, kitten, squirrel monkey or other cute pet, and all they are asking for are "transportation costs," we suggest cutting off communication immediately.

Unfortunately, pet scammers often build websites and logos that resemble real pet transportation service providers (like us), but when you do a little research you'll soon discover that they are not legitimate. If you feel any doubts, think carefully and consider dealing locally with people you can meet, instead. 

Here are a couple examples of the questions we've been receiving. If you find yourself in a similar situation, stop replying and certainly don't send them any money!

Example 1:

Hello,

I am looking to transport a dog from Thomspon, Canada to Steinbach, MB and I was wondering what the costs would be for that?

I was also wondering if you have heard from the company Aircargo Pet Express? the reason for that is that I want to purchase a dog but the situation seems a little fishy to me since the owners of the dog say they don't want any money for him and that I would only have to cover $125 for the delivery.

Thanks,

Tori

Our Response: This is far too low of a fee to cover the relocation costs, and there is no such company as "Aircargo Pet Express." This is a scam!

 

Example 2:

Hello, my name is Alexander. I agreed to the delivery of two squirrel monkeys, and I received a letter from your website about my order. I wanted to check on the validity of this letter:

Dear customer!

You are Welcome to PETS-AIR-TRANSPORT-INTERNATIONAL navigation. We thank You for using our service, and we look forward to your cooperation. We sent this message, assuming you Mr. K. of Russia. We suggest you to read this message. We recorded today, Monday, December 08, 2014, two squirrel monkeys (SOFIE and JOEL), put on Mr. Andrey Fedorov. He said he wants to send monkeys into a new house in Russia, in the name of Mr. K.. He presented all the necessary documents required to send monkeys. He gave us all the information and the address at which the monkey must be transported and delivered, in which he used to book the ticket for monkeys. Below is the full address is given to us...

Our Response: This is definitely a scam. If our company was handling a pet move, we would be in touch with the client directly. Also, you can often be tipped off that something is a scam when the grammar, punctuation and general feel of the email are imprecise and inaccurate. Again, there is no such company as "Pets-Air-Transport-International" -- those are just words strung together.


Example 3: 

Hi PetRelocation,

The owner states that the English bulldog puppy has all shot records, and they are requesting 50 dollars for the relocation. Is this possible from Mexico to Texas for this price?

Thanks,

Jose

Our Response: Fifty dollars is not nearly enough to cover the costs of a pet move from Mexico to Texas, as the airfare alone would be much more than this. This is a scam. 

 

Please read more about pet scams in order to stay smart and informed. Good luck out there, and please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or advice for your fellow pet lovers!

Not Your Average Pet Travel Question: International Hamster Travel

Monday, December 8, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Janice
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Hamster
Pet Breed: Syrian
From: Israel
To: UK

Hi PetRelocation,

Do I need any special paperwork to transport a little hamster from Israel to the UK? I am traveling on Wednesday and today is Monday. At the very last minute I would like to give my sister's hamster a new home, as she is struggling to take care of him properly and I would love to take him back to the UK with me.

I know that from the EU no special quarantine is required but what about Israel? Also would there be a large cost? Would the hamster be able to travel in the cabin with me in a small carry box? I am flying with EasyJet. Would it be very pricey? Would it be very stressful for him?

Many thanks,

Janice
 

Hi Janice,

Thanks for contacting us! You'll want to check with UK's official government website to find out about pet import rules. Per this site, it appears that hamsters coming from Israel must must undergo a four month quarantine under the Rabies (Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974 and also need an import license. Read more about the process here

If moving forward, you would also want to check with the airline directly to find out about their rules regarding the transport of small animals (every airline is different), and you should check with the Israel Department of Agriculture to find out about export permits, procedures, etc.

As you can see, it sounds like moving a hamster to the UK wouldn't be an easy task (especially in such a short time frame). You're welcome to contact us for more info or use IPATA.org to seek out an alternate opinion, however. 

Thanks again for the question, and good luck with everything!

Bird Travel: How to Transport a Cockatoo

Thursday, November 13, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Pearl
Number of Pets: One
Pet Type: Bird
Pet Breed: Cockatoo
From: Minneapolis, MN
To: Los Angeles, CA

 

Hi PetRelocation,

Do you transport Cockatoos?

Thanks,

Pearl

 

Hi Pearl,

Yes, we do! We move several birds each year and have helped Cockatoos move safely to places all around the world. In fact, here's a recent picture of one named Andy who is going from Miami to Peru.

For your information, here are a few tips and facts about how to move a bird. It can be a little more complicated than moving a cat or a dog so we recommend starting the process early. Bird relocations within the United States aren't as complex as international moves, but there are definitely a few key details to attend to, including arranging air travel and acquiring a safe and airline-approved travel container for your Cockatoo.

One of our domestic bird specialists would be happy to discuss your options with you if you'd like to find out more about our services. Feel free to call our office at 1-877-PET-MOVE or fill out our online consultation form at your convenience.

Thanks for reaching out, and we hope to hear from you soon!
 

Incredible Experiences: Mason the Aussie's Move from USA to Singapore

Thursday, October 23, 2014 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Name: Estella
Pet's Name: Mason
From: Michigan, USA
To: Singapore
 

My husband and I had to relocate from Michigan to Singapore. We acquired Mason, our 2-year-old male neutered Australian Shepherd during our time in Michigan. He is family and leaving him behind was never an option.

I looked into other pet transportation companies before I found PetRelocation. Being a Vet myself, I was very particular about his safety and well being. I was concerned about his long 10-12 hour flight in cargo. Afraid he could be accidentally misplaced during his transits at busy international airports. Worried he may not have sufficient water during his trip or that he would not get to go potty. Worried he may get heat stroke if it took too long to unload him from the plane in Singapore.

Getting Mason into Singapore (which is rabies free) requires precise timing for his vaccinations, health certificates, blood test and 10-day quarantine. Thankfully, PetRelocation helped me through the administrative process and Vanessa, my client care specialist, answered all my queries.

I appreciated being able to track his flight and getting picture updates during his transits. It was nerve wrecking, but I am happy to report that Mason is well and reunited with us. You can read about what he thought about the adventure on his blog: http://adayinmasonslife.blogspot.com

We made a great choice trusting PetRelocation with our precious cargo.

 

mason

Nice digs!

 

mason

Watch out for Durians
 

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

 

Hello,

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,

Y

 

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!


 

Transporting Pets to Australia

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Gurpreet
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Labrador
From: India
To: Australia

 

Dear PetRelocation,

Can you please explain whole process and expected amount. I know India is non approved country and process is little bit hard, but still we are willing to move our dog.

Thanks,

Gurpreet

 

Hi Gurpreet,

Thanks for your inquiry! Moving your dog to Australia will require several steps and will not be cheap, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

To start, you'll want to research an approved country that makes sense for you to move to, as your dog will need to go there as an intermediate step. The best source for you to rely on is the Australia Government Department of Agriculture website, which provides an overview of the approved countries as well as the timeline and vaccinations required. Here is where the site specifically discusses how to move to Australia from a non-approved country.

Essentially, you don't need to remain in the Category 3 (intermediary) country for the whole pre-export process, but you do need to have all vaccinations, exams and tests done there and your dog must be exported directly from there.

It depends on where you end up going, but generally speaking international moves cost at least $2,500 USD and maybe significantly more (your dog's weight/size is also a factor, as this affects the airline cargo fee). Note that, due to an increase in quarantine costs, moving pets to Australia has become significantly more expensive recently. You can find out more about the quarantine costs, etc., here.

We'd be happy to discuss our door-to-door services with you if you're interested in hearing about them, and if you'd like to find an agent on your own who may be able to help, we recommend searching through IPATA.org.

Hopefully this helps to shed some light on the steps required! Please let us know if you have more questions or if you think we can help in any way.

Good luck!

Learn More About The New Detroit Airport Pet Relief Station

Thursday, May 8, 2014 by Caitlin Moore

As the pet industry continues to grow, it can be pretty tough to keep up with all the latest products and services aimed at making life with pets easier and more fun.

For example, last month we discussed Amtrak's pilot pet travel program and various pet projects on Kickstarter, and this week have learned of a few more new developments that will affect pet travelers in particular.

Thanks to the completion of a $75,000 expansion project that includes a new indoor pet relief area, travelers with small dogs and service animals will now have an easier time at the Detroit Metropolitan airport. Only a couple other airports have facilities like this inside the terminal, and this feature can definitely save a lot of time because pets can use the area without leaving security.

Like at the Dulles airport, this relief area has fake grass, a fire hydrant and a rinse/drain system. If you plan to use this one or are wondering about options in other airports, Dog Jaunt has a great rundown of airport pet relief stations around the country (including pictures and reviews of many of them).

 

Detroit Airport Pet Relief Area (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Mandi Wright)

 

In other pet travel news especially of interest to international travelers and relocating families, many countries and cities outside the United States are witnessing a shift in cultural perception when it comes to pets. We often hear heartening stories from our clients, and in Dubai, where pets are becoming more and more popular, expats have started a pet taxi service in response to a ban on pets using public transportation. Sounds like things are changing everywhere in regards to where pets are welcome.

Have you come across any exciting pet news lately? Has your pet been able to use an airport relief station? Feel free to send us your tips and thoughts!

Import Requirements for Dogs Arriving in the United States

Monday, April 28, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jose
Number of Pets: One
Pet Type: Dog (12 weeks and a few days old puppy)
Pet Breed: Rottweiler
From: Italy
To: Florida, USA

 

Hello,

I'm getting a puppy from a very reputable breeder in Italy, and I just wanted to know the specific rules for bringing the puppy into Florida. I'm pretty sure an International Health Certificate stating the puppy is in good health and able to fly is one of them, and I'm thinking a certificate of Rabies vaccination shot is probably another one.

I'm not sure how many days before shipping this is necessary. Also, I don't think there's a quarantine for dogs, but please correct me if I'm wrong and send me the accurate information.

Truly appreciate it,

Jose

 

Hi Jose,

Thanks for the questions. Take a look at an overview of the pet import requirements for the United States; you're correct that you need a health certificate and proof of a current rabies vaccine, and no, there is no quarantine.

It will likely take just a few days to put this together (note that the health certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of departure), as the requirements for the US aren't nearly as strict as those for many other countries.

A couple more important things: be sure to choose a pet friendly airline (we often use United, Lufthansa and KLM), and double check that you have the right type/size crate for the puppy.

Also, for safety's sake, we do recommend that dogs be at least 16 weeks old before they fly. You mentioned that you're buying your puppy from a reputable breeder, but just in case other potential puppy-buyers are reading this, we'll go ahead and include a link discussing the warning signs of puppy scams. It's great if you're getting your dog from someone you trust, but be aware that there are lots of dishonest people out there attempting to sell dogs that don't exist.

Hope this helps, Jose. Please contact us for a quote if you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door pet transportation services.

Good luck with everything!
 

Breaking Down (and Understanding) Pet Travel Costs

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by Pet Travel Center Questions

Name: Robin
From: Melbourne, Australia
To: Vancouver, Canada
Pet: My baby is called Leo, he is a Spoodle and will be 6 years old in October
 
 
Dear PetRelocation,
 
I am very nervous, as I am not sure how my dog will cope with such a long flight. I am also getting very expensive quotes from companies in Australia, however my friends are paying a lot less for transporting their Spoodle from London to Vancouver.
 
Could you please tell me if you could assist? What will be the costs involved? I am already in Canada. Lastly, is it safe for him to travel, and are there any requirements that I need to be aware of for Canada?
 
My main concerns are that pricing seems to be high and I'm worried about Leo's well-being in the hold. Also, once I go back to Australia, will it be easier for him to go back? He is a very healthy and a bubbly dog -- all he wants is attention.
 
Thanks,
Robin
 
Hi Robin,
 
Thanks for contacting us with your questions -- hope we can help!
 
First, take a look at the pet import requirements for Canada. There is no quarantine, but you'll need to make sure your dog's paperwork is in order. If you ever decide to bring him back to Australia, you'll need to meet a much stricter set of rules and there will be a 10-day quarantine (based on current requirements). You can find more information from Australia's official website.
 
Second, many people do feel nervous about flying their pet in the cargo area, but if you choose a pet friendly airline and learn about how things work, you'll hopefully become more comfortable with the idea. We fly pets in the cargo area of a few select airlines all the time. Again, with pet friendly airlines it's very safe (here's a more in-depth explanation of how it works).
 
It's also smart to talk to your vet about how diet and exercise are important to your pet travel preparations, and you'll need to work to help Leo get used to his travel crate (if he's not already). This cuts down on his overall stress level and will make the flight safer and smoother for him.
 
Choosing a door-to-door service provider to handle your move won't be cheap, but arranging all the moving parts does require quite a bit of time and expertise. If you'd like a quote from us to see how we compare to the other providers you've talked to, please fill out our free online quote form. Typically an international move for one small pet begins at around $2500 USD (but the actual cost will depend on a few more factors). Here's a post from our blog discussing the costs of pet travel
 
Hopefully this helps to get you started. If you have further questions just let us know, and either way, good luck with everything!
 
 

Common Concerns About Dog Travel

Monday, March 24, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jan
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Great Pyrenees Puppy
From: Dallas, TX
To: Erlanger, KY

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I need to transport a puppy from my home in Dallas, TX to my sister's home in Erlanger, KY. I have never done anything like this before and would like to know how your services work.

I am concerned the dog will be scared during transport. Do you have ways to minimize the trauma they experience during travel?

Thanks,

Jan


Hi Jan,

Thanks for your question -- it's certainly normal to feel uncertain about how a pet will handle a cross-country move, but we hope we can help dispel a few myths and worries.

In terms of what we do, we provide door-to-door transportation services that include overseeing the completion of travel paperwork and arranging the flight and/or ground transport from the old home to the new one. We work with pet friendly airlines and will also guide you to make sure the right travel crate is chosen. For a domestic move, your dog will need to have proof of updated vaccines and, if the dog is flying, a vet health certificate issued within 10 days of travel.

Sedation is not recommended and highly discouraged, and if you have a nervous pet you can help them prepare through crate training and exercise. Take a look at these frequently asked pet travel questions for a better idea of the process; when the right choices are made, most pets handle moves (even longer international ones) with no lasting effects to their health or happiness.

We're happy to discuss the particulars in further detail if you'd like -- please fill out our free quote form or give our office a call if you're interested in talking to one of our specialists.

Thanks again for reaching out to us, and good luck with everything!


 

Coming to SXSW? Don't Miss #PuppyHour!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Caitlin Moore

If you live in Austin or if your March plans happen to include a visit to SXSW, you're invited to attend a very special event that's being held at the PetRelocation headquarters in downtown Austin.

On March 8 and 9 we're partnering with GoBank, Austin Pets Alive! and Barkbox for a #PuppyHour featuring puppy playtime and the chance to adopt a dog. Mingle with fellow pet lovers, take a break between interactive sessions, and consult with the specialists who will be on hand if you have questions about how to relocate a pet.

Register to attend and check us out on Facebook to find out who else is planning to come. All are welcome, so see you then!

#PUPPYHOUR EVENT DETAILS

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8 & 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9 (CST)

WHERE: A short, 9-minute walk from the Austin Convention Center! PetRelocation.com Headquarters, 612 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

WHO: Hosts include GoBank, PetRelocation.com, Austin Pets Alive! and BarkBox. Company representatives will be available on site for demos, interviews, etc.

RSVP: On Eventbrite to make sure you don't miss this event.

 

 

Here's more about the #PuppyHour from the official press release:

PASADENA, Calif. & AUSTIN, Texas--In celebration of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival next month, Green Dot Corporation’s GoBank is partnering with Austin-based non-profit shelter and adoption service, Austin Pets Alive!; PetRelocation.com, an international door-to-door pet transportation service; and BarkBox, the monthly subscription box for dogs to host an innovative #PuppyHour event March 8-9 (Saturday and Sunday during the Interactive portion of the SXSW festival). The big bonus: all dogs at the event will be available for adoption.

"As innovators in the banking industry we know two things to be true: the future of banking is all about mobile, and puppies are super cute," said Sharon Pope, Head of Marketing at Green Dot Corporation (GoBank’s parent company). "As our official GoBank mascot is an adorable schnauzer named Professor Dog, we clearly have a special place in our hearts for the canine community. Partnering on this event gives us the chance to highlight the great work that Austin’s local resources have created for animals in need of adoption, as well as echo the innovative spirit that makes the South by Southwest Festival so special."

Throughout the weekend, #PuppyHour attendees will have the opportunity to pal around with pups, enjoy light refreshments and share the adorable event with friends back at home with the Twitter-enabled photo booth. To align with GoBank’s unique "Pay What You Want" membership fee, the event comes full circle, as attendees will have the option to donate between $0 and $9 to support the adoption mission of Austin Pets Alive!.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with GoBank on such a fun and worthwhile event," said Veronica Mabry from Austin Pets Alive!. "As the largest no-kill shelter in the country, we are dedicated to finding the best homes for every single puppy we house and are so grateful that GoBank will be helping us generate awareness in a unique and interactive way."

Every #PuppyHour dog that gets adopted will receive three months of BarkBox. Additionally, PetRelocation.com and their partner PetMate will be providing free-consultations for those who adopt puppies, as well as a limited amount of crates and puppy starter kits.

How to Help the Stray Dogs of Sochi

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

You've probably heard the sad stories coming out of Russia regarding the existence and treatment of stray dogs near the Olympic Village in Sochi.

After learning that dogs were being rounded up and killed by local authorities, many kind-hearted souls (some very wealthy) and rescue organizations have sprung into action. If you're wondering how you can help, here are a few options.

Donate to the Cause

Sometimes, due to distance and your own life situation, the best and most realistic thing to do is locate a worthy group and send them a donation. This can be a wonderful and very beneficial way to make a difference, so check out the Humane Society website for more information about the shelters that have been set up in and near Sochi and also find out how you can donate to help street dogs all over the world.

Adopt a Dog

Adopting a Sochi stray is probably most feasible for nearby Russian citizens who won't have to worry about air travel, but if you're curious about what the process would entail, read on to start educating yourself.

International travel generally requires bringing the pet to a vet in order to obtain rabies vaccines and the necessary paperwork, an airline-approved travel crate needs to be purchased, and a reservation needs to be made with an airline equipped and willing to transport pets from Point A to Point B. You'd also need to get the dog from Sochi to an international airport, so it's likely the whole relocation would involve a few people and cost several hundred dollars, at least.

This process can't be completed overnight and there are several considerations at play, including whether or not the dog is crate-trained. Again, this may not be a realistic choice for everyone, but if you have questions about anything, feel free to ask!

Good News Update: According to the Wall Street Journal, several Olympic athletes have decided to adopt dogs they met in Sochi. Read more about it here.

Have you made a donation to help the stray dogs of Sochi? Has this story inspired you to help homeless dogs in your own area? Tell us what you think.

 

Stray dogs wrestle outside the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

 

Dog Travel from Italy to the United States

Monday, February 10, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Carole
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Cane Corso (110 lb.)
From: Sicily, Italy
To: Atlanta, GA

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I need cost estimate, where to buy a large pet kennel for the flight, any special paperwork that's required, etc. I already know about getting the Health Certificate from an authorized Italian vet, and the CDC said they don't require any special papers, but I don't know things like, if it's better to fly the pet via Delta, Alitalia, etc. or are there special pet transporters?

My son has been in Sicily for 11 years and is returning to the US. He asked me to find out how to transport his dog.

Thanks,

Carole

 

Hi Carole,

Thanks for contacting us with your question. To start, please take a look at the pet import requirements for the United States. The US requires that you have an international health certificate and proof that pets are up to date on the rabies vaccine.

You can review this information about choosing the correct travel crate, as well. Many people visit a pet store to "try on" the travel crate before they buy and then buy the crate there or, if no pet stores are available to your son, he can buy one online. It sounds like his dog may need a custom crate (we have information about custom crates that you'll find through the above mentioned link, and if you have questions we can tell you more).

The price of our door-to-door services depends on a several factors, but in general international moves begin at around $2,500-$3,000 USD. If you'd like to continue to research your options, another great resource for pet travel information and finding local pet agents yourself is IPATA.org.

Finally, in terms of airlines, it's very important to choose a pet-friendly airline. We often use KLM, Lufthansa and United due to their established pet policies. Since you're flying a large dog, it will also be important to check with the airline ahead of time to make sure the cargo space in the plane will be able to accommodate the crate.

This is a lot of information, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions about anything, including our comprehensive services. Thanks again, and we hope to hear from you soon.



 

Pet Travel Facts: Addressing Air Travel Safety Concerns

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Though we have arranged thousands of safe pet moves over the years, we here at PetRelocation still understand that the process of relocating a pet can be very stressful. Trusting others to take good care of your pets isn't easy, and we often receive questions about airlines in particular.

One concerned pet owner recently wrote us an email that we thought was worth discussing. In essence, she worried about recent news stories telling of pet deaths on airlines, and she wondered how she could ever feel comfortable facing the possibility of international travel with her dog in the future. 

Specifically this pet owner asks, "How can people truly know that their dogs will be safe and comfortable during a flight?"

This is a great question. In the past we have discussed how to minimize the risks of pet travel and we continue to stand by a few basic bits of advice. It's important to plan well and plan early, talk to your vet about any health concerns you may have, take extra caution with snub-nosed breeds, choose a large, well-ventilated travel crate, and of course, consider enlisting expert help.

Even pet owners who take the process seriously and follow the above advice may still feel nervous, and we totally understand that. There are no guarantees in life, and the fact remains that there is some amount of risk involved in pet travel, human travel, and just about everything else we do.

We respect people who decide not to fly their pets, but if a permanent or long-term move exists on your horizon and you can't imagine leaving your furry family member behind, here are a few more things to remember.

 

  • In the year 2011, United flew more than 110,000 pets and reported two deaths (that's an incident rate of 0.00180 percent). Alaska Airlines flies more than 80,000 pets per year and in 2011 reported seven overall incidents and four pet deaths (incident rate = 0.00875 percent). This is not to diminish the heartbreaking events that do occur, but when considering pet travel it's important to remember that, by far, most pets fly safely. (Source: 'Few Pets Experience Trouble on Airlines' via Air Cargo World)

 

  • Pet deaths associated with United always make the news due to the PetSafe program’s policies, but these instances actually occur more often with other airlines. United is the only airline who has worked for years to develop safe pet practices, and many experienced pet owners and pet relocation companies choose to fly with them regularly for this reason.

 

  • We know through our communications with top PetSafe officials that situations that are a direct violation of United’s PetSafe protocols are thoroughly addressed. They, like us and like you, want pet travel to be as safe as possible.

 

  • The USDA investigates every commercial pet death on US soil to determine who is responsible. The USDA has the power to impose massive fines, as well as to prevent an airline from transporting pets should they decide it is warranted.

 

  • Pet relocation companies like ours are typically more demanding when it comes to safety and comfort, and our feedback can be important. We are sure to make our voices heard when it comes to setting standards for our pet moves, and hopefully this carries over to benefit all pet travelers. 

 

Hopefully these details make it easier to form a bigger and more accurate picture of pet cargo travel as a whole. While it may not be realistic to make a 100% guarantee when it comes to pet travel, there are certainly ways to plan every step as safely as possible using all the resources and expert knowledge available.

Please contact us if you'd like to discuss your pet move with an experienced PetRelocation consultant. We'd be happy to talk!

 

Photo: Flickr/Vox Efx

 

 

Bringing a Cat Home from Brazil

Monday, December 16, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Arthur Toso
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: Siamese
From: Curitiba, Brazil
To: Sacramento, CA, USA

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I’m seeking information about bringing our family pet to the U.S. My family is from Brazil and recently we moved to Sacramento, California and due to airlines issues we couldn’t bring our pet with us.

We are willing now to get the family reunited again so I’d like to know if you provide a way to transport Animals from Brazil to U.S. and all issues associated with that.

I’m sure you guys have the best service for its customers, and in this case, pets.


Thank you,
Arthur

 

Hi Arthur,

Yes, we'd be happy to assist you! Here's how it works: Your cat needs to follow these import requirements for the United States, and if you decide to sign up for our services, we would help arrange the details, including the transportation for your cat to and from the airport. International moves generally start at around $2,500 USD for one small pet.

Please give our office a call or fill out our free quote form if you'd like to find out more. A relocation specialist experienced with moves such as this would be happy to speak to you further.

Thanks again for getting in touch with us, and we look forward to speaking with you soon about reuniting you with your cat.

Feeling Nervous about International Cat Air Travel

Thursday, December 5, 2013 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Sarah
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Cats
Pet Breed: European Tabby
From: Barcelona, Spain
To: Charlotte, NC, USA

Dear PetRelocation,

I will be moving back to the States soon (I'm an American living in Spain) and need to transport my cats to the States. They were born in Spain and have never been to the US. Most airlines only allow one pet per passenger in the cabin on international flights and I need to transport both of them.

If I transport them in the cargo area, will they die? I've been reading some terrible stories! What are my best options for transporting them? If they travel with me, will I be able to get them through customs, or will I need to have a representative in the first US airport that we land in? We'll have at least one layover to reach our destination (most likely in the US).

I don't mind paying for a transport service if it's not too costly... I just want them to reach the US safely with the least amount of emotional trauma possible.

Thanks in advance!

-Sarah

 

Hi Sarah,

You have some great questions and we'd be happy to offer some advice. First, take a look at the pet import requirements for the United States. This is actually one of the easier countries to bring pets into, as you just need a vet health certificate and proof that the cats are up to date on their rabies vaccines. Some pet owners choose to handle customs clearance themselves while others hire an agent or a pet transport service to assist them.

Regarding pet travel in the cargo area, this is something our company frequently arranges and we've moved thousands of pets safely this way. Hearing about unfortunate incidents in the news regarding pet shipping is extremely disappointing, but it's important to remember that tragedies like this are nowhere near as common as ordinary, uneventful pet transports. These heartbreaking events are often preventable, and operating with expert knowledge is critical.

Not only does our team make use of vast experience and knowledge, we work with pet friendly airlines who have developed strong pet policies over the years. While there are no guarantees in life, we try to ensure that pet travel is undertaken in the safest way possible. Here's a post from our blog about minimizing the risks of pet travel that may help shed light on a few of your concerns.

You're welcome to give our office a call or fill out our free quote form if you're interested in further assistance. It's normal to feel nervous about moving your furry best friends, but remember that you do have choices and resources available to help plan the safest trip possible for them.

Hopefully this helps to get you started. We look forward to hearing from you, and wish you all the best!