Recently we helped Austin, a two-and-a-half-year-old terrier/pug mix, move from Houston, Texas to Sydney, Australia. Austin's owners rescued him from a shelter after he was found on the side of the road, and they've never regretted adding this friendly, free spirit to their lives.
After their big move, Austin's owner Robyn decided to get involved in the pet business herself by starting the website sharpdog.com.au. Sharp Dog offers doggie products to Australian customers with the intention of helping all kinds of pups look their sharpest (you can read all about her business here).
Did anything surprise you about the international pet moving process? Why did you seek out the help of PetRelocation?
I had been told that moving a pet overseas wouldn't be the easiest process (especially to Australia, which has one of the strictest quarantine rules), but I didn’t actually realize a) how much in advance you had to be prepared and b) how much paperwork and logistics would be involved.
This is where PetRelocation came in (particularly Scotty, our specialist). I am not sure what I would have done without him. It is stressful enough moving across the world, so to have had the help with moving our four-legged best buddy really made a difference! They help with the paperwork, any questions you may have and they make sure that your pet gets the best care and gets safely back home, which is obviously the ultimate goal.
Austin loves his new life in Australia. He loves his daily walks in the park and his occasional visits to the beach (even though he is not the biggest water fan (still working on it!). I think because the whole moving process was so smooth and even though he had to be in quarantine for a month, he adjusted really well to his new home.
I got the idea for my pet business whilst I was living in the States for two and a half years. I was working in a doggie daycare/boutique, and saw a gap in the Australian market for some of the pet products as I had not seen or heard about most of them before. It also helps having a pet, as I can tell which products work and which ones don't. Austin is really the whole inspiration behind my business, he is even featured on my logo. I just wanted to share these fabulous dog products with Aussie dog lovers to make our best doggie friends look and feel their sharpest :)
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dogs
Pet Breed: Jack Russell
From: New Zealand
We have two elderly Jack Russells aged 13 & 14 years. Would the relocation & quarantine be too much stress for them?
Thank you for taking the time to seek our advice. Ultimately this will be a question to discuss with your vet, as he or she is the best person to evaluate your pets' fitness to fly to Australia and go through the 30-day quarantine, however we can offer a few links and tips based on our previous pet shipping experiences.
Moving older pets requires extra special care and attention. Some people decide it's not worth the risk, and others choose to go forward -- here's more information about how to safely move an elderly pet. We've also addressed the issue of basic pet air travel safety on our blog, as this is an area of common concern, as well. Finally, here's a bit more about Australian quarantine facilities. There are many misconceptions about the places where pets are boarded, and most people discover them to be much safer and more comfortable than they first imagined.
Please let us know if you have any more questions, and good luck with everything!
Number of Pets: Two
Pet Type: Rabbits
To: New Zealand
I would like to have information about how to move two pet rabbits from Italy to New Zealand. My pets have an international passport, and they've been neutered and vaccinated.
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately New Zealand is very strict when it comes to importing pets, and at this time rabbits may only be imported from Australia. Here's a link to the official site for more information -- please let us know if you have any more questions.
Thanks again, and good luck!
Pets' Names: Tonks & Luna
From: Columbus, Ohio, USA
To: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
PetRelocation.com helped us move our cats with us from Ohio to Brisbane, Australia. It was a long, complicated process getting the paperwork in order and a month long quarantine booked; especially as the cats would be flying over separately from us, It would have been an absolute nightmare to navigate without assistance!
The move was not cheap, but it was worth it to have the peace of mind that our cats would arrive safe and sound with us in our new home. Now that they are here, we are settling into the Australian lifestyle!
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Westie cross
From: Melbourne, Australia
To: Michigan, USA
Is it ok/safe for a middle-aged (6-year-old) dog to be relocated during January from an Australian summer to a US winter?
Thanks for your question. While we can tell you that we've moved thousands of pets safely to and from many destinations during all parts of the year, it sounds like this is an issue you should really discuss with your vet. Travel can be too stressful for some pets, but if your dog is properly crate trained and -- most importantly -- if you choose a pet-friendly airline (we often go with United, KLM or Lufthansa), the outdoor temperature shouldn't have an effect on your travel details.
Please contact us if you'd like to talk to us further, take a look at the pet import requirements for the United States, and be sure to set aside some time to chat with a trusted veterinarian about any concerns you may have.
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: cats
Pet Breed: Domestic short hair, Turkish van
So we are thinking about moving to Australia and I saw that there is a 180 day quarantine period and 150 of them can be completed in the US. Where would my cats be quarantined in the US and where would they be quarantined in Australia? Is it a vet that does this or do they stay in like a customs holding bay?
Thanks for your question! Australia does present a few hoops to jump through, but we've helped many pets move there safely. For your information, here are the pet import requirements for Australia as well as a link to the official Australia quarantine website. The first part of the quarantine can be fulfilled at home, while the last 30 days must be done at an approved quarantine facility in Australia. Here's some information from our blog about what the Australia quarantine facilities are like.
Hopefully this is helpful. Please let us know if you have more questions or if you'd like some help arranging your move!
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Bird
Pet Breed: Forpus Coelestis
I am considering moving to Australia. I have a Forpus bird. What kind of papers do I have to have to bring the bird with me? There are rules for rabbits, dogs and cats, but I can´t find rules when it comes to birds. Does Australia accepts birds form other countries?
Thanks for the question -- moving pets to rabies-free Australia is a little trickier than going elsewhere, and hopefully we can help you with some information. Unfortunately it looks like only some birds can be imported to Australia, and those must come from New Zealand.
Sorry this is the case, Joana. Please let us know if you have any more questions and good luck with everything.
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: 1 cat, 1 dog
Pet Breed: Cat - DSH, Dog - Staffy
From: Footscray, Australia
To: New Orleans
I'm preparing for a relocation to the US, perhaps in January, depending on the confirmation of employment. My cat has just been diagnosed with diabetes and I wanted to make sure this was not a barrier for transport or importation.
Thanks for your question, we'd be happy to help. Here are the pet import requirements for the United States to get you started, and yes, we have moved diabetic cats before. It requires a little more care but it should be possible -- we'd be happy to talk to you about it and offer you an estimate for our services. Feel free to give us a call or fill out our quote form and we'll get back to you soon.
Thanks, we look forward to hearing from you!
Pet Breed: Boxer
I am moving to Australia to live with my brother who is a resident. I have to bring my boxer, Sheba. She is my baby and I want her to experience the least amount of stress on such a long trip.
What do I need to know about traveling with her and what's the best way to do it safely?
Thanks for reaching out to us, we're happy to offer some advice. To start, take a look at the pet import requirements for Australia. Australia is rabies-free and thus requires a quarantine (which sounds scarier than it really is, don't worry).
The most important things to do are to start planning early, choose a pet-friendly airline, and be detail-oriented as far as scheduling vet visits in a timely way and meeting all the import requirements. Take a look at the information we've linked you to (and here's a blog post about Australia quarantine, also), and please contact us if you have any more questions. Good luck!
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Labrador Retriever
To: Western Australia
I have a dog (named Honey) who is currently in India with family. I'm in Perth with my husband and I'd like to bring Honey over to me -- can you please advise?
Bringing pets to Australia requires more time to plan because Australia is a rabies-free nation with quarantine requirements, however we've moved many pets here successfully. Unfortunately India is not an AQIS-approved country, which means you won't be able to import Honey directly. Pets coming from such countries need to spend six months in an approved country before they can make the trip. Here's a link to the official AQIS site for more information about how to go about doing this.
Take a look at this information and then please let us know if you have any more questions. We'd be happy to help arrange the move or offer further advice. Good luck with everything. and thanks for the question!
When it comes to planning important (and complicated) things like relocations, it can feel like time is speeding by. Before you know it it's moving day and you're trying to make sure that everything is taken care of, and at this point all you can do is hope you didn't forget anything too important.
If you're moving a pet with you and haven't taken the time to investigate all the import rules and regulations that may apply, it's all too easy to discover that you've overlooked something that could cause your pet's departure to be delayed.
Some of the stress can be avoided by starting the move process early, but why exactly do you need at least a month to put together a pet move (and at least six months for some international pet moves)? Read on to find out.
Veterinary Requirements – Many countries require vaccinations to be at least a month old at the time of departure, and often the microchip (another requirement) must be implanted before the vaccines are administered. One mistake or omission related to these could delay a pet’s trip by weeks or even months.
Import Permits – It often takes at least 30 days to secure import permits for international moves. Australia, for example, takes three to six weeks to issue an import permit. Note also that import permits must be obtained before other arrangements can be made, so the whole chain of events depends on this important factor. Some countries also require notification of a pet’s arrival (Japan needs 40 days notice), so that’s one more thing to plan for.
Government Endorsements – Many moves require both a USDA endorsement of health documents as well as endorsements from the destination government. For instance Saudi Arabia needs both USDA and Consulate endorsements, and each of these can take about a week to secure.
Titer Tests – For rabies-free countries that require a titer test in addition to the regular rabies vaccine (these countries include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Singapore), an additional three to four weeks should be allowed for in the planning process.
Quarantine Reservations – During busy months, such as summer travel season and during the holidays, many quarantine stations are fully booked. Waiting lists in places like Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand can be months long, so it’s important to reserve a spot well in advance of the move date. In general, moving to any destination with a quarantine (Hawaii is also included in this category) will demand extra time, so pets going to these places can’t wait until the last minute.
Crate Training – If a pet isn’t already crate-trained, owners will need to work on doing so as soon as they know they’re moving. Depending on the pet, this process can take weeks or months to accomplish.
Still not convinced that you’ll need a month’s head start? Here are some pitfalls that pet owners should watch out for if they’ve waited until the last minute:
Incomplete or Inaccurate Vet Records - We’ve seen it many times -- pet owners who have gone to the vet regularly over the years think they’re in good shape, but in terms of the strict standards of international travel, often this isn’t the case. Again, vaccines must often be done in a certain order beginning at least 30 days in advance, and some countries, including Japan, require they be done six months ahead of time.
Agent Availability – Waiting until the last minute means our preferred agents might already booked with other jobs, so travel dates may have to be altered to fit their schedules or second-choice agents will need to be found.
Flight Complications – Pet travel by air entails more than just buying a ticket when you need it. You have to choose a pet-safe flight on a plane with cargo doors large enough to accommodate a travel kennel (some planes are just too small), and then you have to request the booking. After that, the airline must verify that everything is in order and make contact with a destination agent, and all of this can take several days to finalize.
Time Differences - With international moves, dealing with time differences makes communicating with agents and officials more challenging, thus taking care of import permits, reserving quarantine space, and making other arrangements all becomes a little trickier.
The Stress Factor – Rushing to put together a pet move is no fun for anyone involved. Relocating is stressful enough without feeling like it’s a race against the clock, so put yourself ahead of the game by allowing plenty of time to plan your move.
Please contact PetRelocation.com if you have any questions about how to move your pet, and happy well-planned traveling, everyone!
Moving pets internationally, especially to rabies-free destinations like Australia, takes awhile to plan and also may require a quarantine. "The Q word" often makes pet owners panic a little bit, but in our experience we've found that, when the right facility is chosen, having a pet in quarantine is a safe part of the relocation process that can go by pretty quickly.
About a year ago we told you about a quarantine facility called Dog Walks that has locations in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. This facility has been running for over four years and PetRelocation.com has made arrangements with them for our clients on several occasions.
Not only does Dog Walks allow new arrivals to meet the official quarantine requirements, they take good care of pets by offering plenty of attention and exercise, and they even take dozens of pictures for each client and publish them online. Owners who may not be able to visit every day love the added bonus of having a digital photo album to browse through anytime they want, and overall Dog Walks makes the quarantine process far less stressful than most people first imagine it to be.
Here are a few pictures of the pets we currently have in quarantine there, and here's more about the pets we've placed there in the past. Moving to a country with quarantine requirements may not be ideal, but luckily there are places such as this that reveal it doesn't have to be a big deal.
Please contact PetRelocation.com with any questions about quarantines and/or international moves.
Ellie & Sierra
Name: Austin and Joanne
Number of Pets: 1 to 5
Pet Type: 1 dog, 1 to 3 horses, 1 cat
Pet Breed: Miniature pincher, dressage horses, domestic cat
What are the estimated costs for moving pets to Fiji, including travel fees and quarantine rates. Is it difficult to move pets to Fiji?
Austin and Joanne
Fiji is not the easiest place to import pets, but it is possible. First, note that pets are only allowed if they're coming from Australia, Hawaii, or New Zealand (so you're in a good place regarding that stipulation).
Contact us if you have any more questions, and good luck!
Number of Pets: one
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: No particular breed
To: New Zealand
We are currently living in Thailand but in the future wish to return to Australia. Australia doesn't accept animals directly from Thailand, so I wondered if going to New Zealand for six months may be the answer as I am originally from there. Any information you could give me about this future move would be very helpful.
That's a great question. Yes, in order to work around Australia's strict rules, you can move your cat to an approved country for six months prior to the move, but unfortunately New Zealand also imposes a quarantine upon entry so you'll need to choose another country to spend that time.
Check Australia's import requirements to see about the options you have, and please contact us if you have any more questions. We're also happy to provide a free quote if you're interested in hiring some help with your move.
Good luck with your travels, and we hope to hear from you!
Pet's Name: Winston
From: New York, USA
To: Sydney, Australia
People thought I was crazy using a pet relocation company for Winston's move. But the truth is, relocating a pet from the US to Australia is expensive, confusing, lengthy, difficult, and emotionally distressing.
Despite all of my online research, there were so many things I didn't know that I didn't know.
Scotty Walkowitz was our relocation expert and he gave us INVALUABLE service. He liaised at length with our vet, and knew how to speed up the process - something even our vet didn't know. He knew which airlines were best at handling Winston's breed (he's a French Bulldog, and at risk of breathing difficulties leading to expiration during the trip). He knew that the best route for Winston was to fly him through New Zealand where customs agents would take him out of his crate, clean him up a bit, and then get him safely on to his final destination in Sydney - how would I have known to do that?? And finally, he had some great tips for how to get Winston acclimatised to his crate in the weeks leading up to his trip.
Like I said, invaluable.
I get the feeling that the people who work at PetRelocation.com have been doing this for a while! They're friendly, knowledgeable and completely competent in getting your beloved pet from one side of the world to the other.
The best money I ever spent.
Pet's Name: Jasmine
From: Olivehill, TN
To: Darwin, NT, AU
When I found out my husband was going to be transferred to Australia I was thrilled. We had been wanting to visit "down under" for years. Then I started doing research on importing my dog and found out that Australia is probably the most difficult country for a dog to get in to -- lots of red tape and tests starting about six months before you leave. Then, once you get your dog there it's at least 30 days quarantine.
But I have to say, with the help of PetRelocation.com everything went off without a hitch. I have made international moves with my dog before this by myself, but I would not have even attempted doing this move on my own.
When they delivered her to my door, she jumped out of the van, ran to give me a little love, and immediately started sniffing around and checking out her new environment. She wasn't stressed in the slightest. I attribute much of that to the professional and obviously friendly treatment she got along the way. Thanks to Pet Relocation for taking such wonderful care of my little girl. I know when we leave to go back to the States, I will be calling you to handle the return trip. Thanks for everything!!!
Pets' Names: Chief and Sheera
From: Wildwood, Florida
To: Alice Springs, Australia
When my husband was offered a job in Alice Springs, Australia, the only stipulation I had was "the dogs HAVE to come with us!" I started doing some research and my heart sank when I realized that the amount of work it was going to take to get these dogs moved just might break me.
I was still working a full time job and going to grad school on top of organizing a huge move overseas, so I started to feel like this move for my pups, Chief and Sheera, was not going to happen. I then started looking around for someone to help me. That is when I read an article in the New York Times talking about this company, PetRelocation.com. From the moment I sent my initial email asking for information to the moment my dogs arrived safely in Alice Springs, PetRelocation.com has been my sanity.
Moving overseas is not easy for humans, and it is especially not easy for pets. My agents, first Scotty then Elaine, helped me crate train my "hillbilly" dogs to prepare them for their long flight. They walked me through all of my vet visits (and there were many!) and were always available during the visits if the vet had any questions or concerns.
Chief and Sheera were picked up from my home and taken care of their entire trip to quarantine in Australia. Elaine was available to me during the entire trip to let me know when my pups made it from one flight to another, or to tell me that they were enjoying a walk during a layover. Everything was taken care of, and all I ever had to worry about was missing my dogs or when I was going to see them again!
I could never have done this without their help, and when my time in Australia is done I will be utilizing their services once again! Thank you Elaine and PetRelocation! My dogs just arrived safely to Alice Springs after 30 days of quarantine and look better then the day they left my house in Florida!
The beginning of a pet move can be pretty confusing and there are many things to consider, including your pet's safety, the legwork (and paperwork) involved, and how much it's all going to cost.
Some people choose to handle their moves on their own (and we're happy to offer tips for how to keep pet moves affordable, etc.), but ultimately many pet owners realize they'd rather have someone else handle everything. Whether due to stress, time, or basic logistics, hiring professional pet transportation services will bring some relief to the situation.
Here are a few reasons that many pet owners, including our own PetRelocation.com customers, choose to seek assistance with their moves.
"We had no idea how to go about organizing the move ourselves, and for a dog we loved so much, we felt secure in paying someone to do things correctly." -Michelle, who moved her dog Chunk to Australia
Thanks to the internet this has become a very DIY world, but that doesn't mean it's easy to pull off something like a pet move. Unfortunately it's the case that many government websites don't keep up-to-date information regarding animal imports, and a lot of the advice you'll find out there is just plain wrong. When your pet's safety is at stake, it's better to trust the experts who do this every day.
"The list of things to do before a move is a long one. Having assistance with Cole took a huge burden away from us and allowed us to spend more time on preparing ourselves and getting our travel arrangements in order." -Mike, who moved from California to Brazil
Whether moving for work or for pleasure, the effort of relocating all your belongings, organizing the details and trying to make a home in a new place can call for huge time demands. Adding another set of concerns just isn't possible for some travelers, so that's why they call pet relocation companies like us.
"Large dogs present more difficult travel scenarios, so getting assistance was very important for us.The overall safety and well-being of our pet outweighed our ability to handle the move on our own." - Mike, Cole's owner
Flying with an older pet, an especially large one, a snub-nosed breed or an exotic animal can all present special challenges. Again, the rules can be confusing and the internet can be a jumble of misinformation, so passing the reins to a relocation specialist who knows how things work is often the best choice for many pet owners.
"I had enough stress just trying to get me, my daughters and my house ready all while worrying about my husband, who was still gone (overseas in the military). Once I decided to hire Pet Relocation.com it was like a huge stress filled ball was lifted off me." -Tarnna, featured as our most recent Pet Move of the Month, moved from the US to the UK
Families serving our country who have to move frequently, often without as much notice or time as they'd like, can find themselves feeling particularly overwhelmed.
As you can see, there's nothing wrong with seeking some help! For more information about how to relocate your pets, check out MyPetTravel, our blog, or take a look at our Facebook page to connect with other travelers who have done it all before.
You can also contact PetRelocation.com directly to speak to a Pet Relocation Specialist about what your options may be. No matter how you go about it, here's wishing everyone many safe travels!