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Help Me Move My Pet

Understanding Summer Pet Travel Embargoes

Monday, March 30, 2015 by Pet Travel Center Questions

Name: Brenda
From: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
To: Lima, Peru
Pet: A miniature/medium size poodle; 4 years old; around 7 kg

Hi PetRelocation,
 
I would like to know what the best month/season is to bring my poodle to Florida. Also, is there is any airline that will allow her to travel with me in the cabin? If not, what airlines treat pets well while they are not in cabin?

I wanted to bring her to the United States in 2012 and everything was set, but when we were checking in the guy that was attending me told me the weather was too hot in Florida during that season (it was August or July) -- was she not allowed because Lima was too cold and the change of climate could make her sick when she arrived?

She is used to traveling 2-3 hours in the car.
 
Thanks,
Brenda
 
 
Hi Brenda,
 
Thanks for your question! Many airlines operate with summer embargoes instated with a pet's safety and comfort in mind, so it's a good idea to research these restrictions well in advance in order to avoid scheduling problems. Please take a look at some of last year's embargoes for an idea of how they often work, and we recommend checking with airlines directly to find out what their summer restrictions might be for this year. Often summer airline embargoes primarily concern snub-nosed breeds, so your poodle might not be affected.
 
Your dog will most likely need to travel in the cargo area of the plane, and we recommend choosing a pet-friendly airline such as United. The more pet-friendly an airline is the less of an issue temperature should be (United has air-conditioned vehicles to transport pets to the plane, for example).
 
This is good advice any time, but when traveling during the summer months we recommend making extra sure your dog is well-hydrated and also crate-trained, as these factors make air cargo travel more comfortable and less stressful for the pet.
 
If you think you'd like some assistance and would like to find out more about our door-to-door services, please fill out our online consultation form. Either way, good luck with everything and thanks again for reaching out!

Wrap-Up: IPATA Latin American Regional Meeting

Monday, March 30, 2015 by Rachel Truair

People are sometimes surprised when they find out just how many pet relocation companies exist worldwide. In actuality, there are hundreds of companies that PetRelocation works with to provide incredible experiences for pets moving around the globe. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, or IPATA, is a trade association dedicated to helping pet relocation companies gather to improve their knowledge, build strong alliances, and achieve common goals. In addition to hosting annual conferences, regional meetings are organized to help focus on issues and goals of a common region.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the IPATA Latin American Regional Meeting held in Lima, Peru. In addition to being interested in learning more about the needs of the growing group of pet owners in Latin America, I also serve as IPATA's Assistant Regional Director of the Americas and had been asked to speak on the topic of humanization, or the trend of people seeing pets as members of the family.

If you're going to Peru, you've got to go to Machu Picchu, so the first few days saw our group exploring the Cuzco area of Peru and hiking up to one of the greatest wonders of the world. Being a pet-focused group, one day we visited the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary where we were treated to an up-close viewing of the Andean condor, the endangered national bird of Peru. We also got our first look at the Peruvian Hairless Dog, also known as the Peruvian Inca Orchid. I had heard of these dogs prior to my trip, but what I didn't know was that Inca Orchids hold a special cultural designation that requires them to go through a different export process than most pets when being exported from Peru.

Peruvian Hairless Dog
A Peruvian Hairless Dog at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary

After our visit to Machu Picchu, the conference got into full swing in Lima. After an announcement from Jack Russo, Director of the Americas for IPATA and owner of Bobbi's World Kennels, as well as an update from our incoming IPATA Present Derek Huntington from Capital Pet Movers, we heard from local airline representatives from LAN Airlines, Copa Airlines, Air Canada, and Lufthansa about their service offerings in and out of Latin America. We also were honored to have Dr. Patricia Caldas, one of the head import/export authorities at Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agraria del Perú (SENASA), which overseas all pets arriving to or departing from Peru. One interesting fact is that Peru only sees "pets" (in Spanish, "mascotas") as dogs and cats. Any other pets (birds, lizards, etc.) will have to arrive as a commercial import/export and require additional paperwork.

Latin American pet shipping companies
From L-R: Dra. Patricia Caldas, SENASA, Melissa Vasquez Sansores, Pet Air Mexico; Melisa Irrivari Oliveri, PetWings Peru; Jack Russo, Bobbi's World Kennels; Luz Maria Farias, LATAM Pet Transport - Chile; Kaesy Batista, Canal Movers & Logistics - Panama; Patricia Gil, LATAM Pet Transport - Peru

Pet shippers were also trained on pet emergency CPR as well as the Heimlich maneuver and other first aid best practices -- an important but sometimes overlooked element of training for any pet handler -- by Dra. Melissa Grisolle of PetWings, who is a pathologist, veterinarian and pet relocation provider in Peru. In addition to this, we heard a great talk from Melisa Vasquez Sansores at Pet Air Mexico on the special handling of brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) breeds.

In addition to these talks, we spent some time as a group identifying three year goals for the Latin American region. One area where we hope to make progress over the next three years is forming stronger relationships with Latin American governments. We would like to see it take less time to clear pets through customs, as anyone who has cleared a pet through customs south of the equator will tell you that it can take anywhere from up to 8 hours or more. While other countries have moved toward allowing pets to be pre-cleared through electronic documents, thus reducing the time the pet is left waiting in his crate after a long flight, Latin American countries have been slower to adopt this practice. Members of the IPATA Latin American region hope to change this over then

patovet and petwings in lima
Attendees visiting PatoVet and Petwings in Lima

At the end of the meeting, we loaded up on a tour bus and shuttled to PatoVet, the vet clinic of Dra. Grisolle. There we were treated to a demonstration on handling aggressive as well as timid dogs by Tim Cruser of Come Sit Stay Pet Resort. In addition to having an excellent pet resort outside of Denver, Colorado, Tim is also an experienced dog trainer, having trained protection animals and working dogs for 30 years. We were taught best practices in crate training as well as how to properly load and unload pets from crates.

It's always great to meet up with fellow IPATA members and share stories and learnings from our pet shipping experiences. These types of meetings are critical to the further development and improvement of the pet relocation industry, which makes up the steadily growing pet services industry. Thanks to the Latin American members for hosting such a great meeting!

News Round-Up: Encouraging Pet Travel Updates

Friday, February 27, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

More news about pets on Amtrak trains.

Japan's 'Animal Islands.'

According to Department of Transportation data, pet air travel was safer in 2014 than in previous years.

Does your company want to relocate you abroad? Consider bringing your pet along for better chances of success.

It's Friday, so catch up with these cute pet travel stories.

Meet Tobi, one of our talented Client Care Specialists.

 

beauty

Happy Friday!

 

2014 DOT Data Reveals Positive Trends in Pet Air Travel

Thursday, February 26, 2015 by Pet Friendly Airlines

According to recent government data, pet air travel is growing safer.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its February 2015 Air Travel Consumer Report, which presents the DOT's overview of air travel data from last year and leads to an encouraging conclusion: of the approximately 2 million animals who traveled by air in 2014, there were 17 deaths and 26 injuries -- numbers that reflect a decrease from previous years.

As we've discussed in the past, though tragic pet travel stories seem to make the news every few weeks, overall the numbers of negative pet incidents are low, and statistically speaking, pet travel is quite safe.

Many of the incidents that do occur happen when pets injure themselves while trying to claw or bite their way out of the travel crate, illustrating the importance of crate acclimation. Other incidents are often due to natural causes or pre-existing issues, which is why it's also a good idea to talk to your vet before a trip in order to discuss concerns and schedule a health screening. Choosing a pet-friendly airline is also highly suggested.

No matter what, it's a good idea to spend plenty of time preparing for a pet move by researching requirements and helping your pets be as ready and as healthy as possible. There's always some amount of risk involved with pet travel (same goes for human travel), but with the right approach those risks can be minimized.

Read more about the pet travel data from 2014, and as always, please contact PetRelocation with any questions you have about traveling with your pet.

 

plane / enrique via flickr

enrique / flickr

Nervous Owners, Nervous Pets: Addressing Common Pet Travel Concerns

Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Nicole
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dog/Cat
Pet Breed: Shepherd/Boxer mix and Tortoiseshell Cat
From: Portland, OR
To: Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I am considering moving to Argentina or Brazil next year. I will not move without my pets. However, I have heard horror stories of the percentage of dogs that die on airplanes. Can you tell me a bit about your safety measures? Will someone travel with my dog in the cargo area? How are the dogs walked/allowed to go to the bathroom on long flights?

My shepherd/boxer mix has a long snout, so the short snout breathing issue is not a problem. However, if he feels threatened, he will be aggressive. He gets reactive with big dogs (mostly other shepherds) and will chase cats (cannot be with my cat).

My cat gets very carsick, so I imagine a flight wouldn't be great either. She will bite if she is touched in the wrong spot. Can you please advise me on how this move might work and what conditions my pets would be in during their travel?

Thanks!

Nicole

 

Hi Nicole,

These are all great questions! Sad stories about airline mishaps often surface in the news, but when you look at the numbers, you'll see that air travel for pets is actually very safe. Please read more about airline pet travel myths on our blog and in this Yahoo Travel article in which we offered some advice, and you may also want to take a look at this recent infographic put together by Barkpost. 

Essentially, it's very important to choose a pet-friendly airline and to prepare your pets through crate-training, a vet health consultation and a generally healthy lifestyle. You can read more basic pet travel tips here. Pets are not accompanied in the cargo area, but this part of the plane is pressure and temperature controlled and often provides a better and more calm environment than the cabin would. Pet-friendly airlines take care to load pets last before departure and remove them first upon arrival, and they will be transported in temperature-controlled vehicles.

As for pets with possible nervousness issues or behavior quirks, please know that safe travel is perfectly possible for them, as well. When working with a pet-friendly airline, trained professionals will be handling pets during comfort stops and pets will not be interacting with other animals during this time. If your pets flew with United and were routed through Houston, for example, they would be given water and a bathroom break at a safe facility under the care of individuals prepared to handle animals of all temperament.

We often advise our clients to label the travel crates if they'd like airline or airport staff to be aware of any issues; "I'm sometimes aggressive with other dogs" or "I have anxiety around strangers" are common examples. Either way, these issues shouldn't prevent your pets from flying.

Hopefully this information helps to get you started, Nicole. If you're interested in hiring some assistance, one of our PetRelocation Specialists would be happy to discuss your options and concerns with you further. Please fill out our online consultation form at your convenience or feel free to give our office a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE. 

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

Air Travel with a Puppy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Alicia
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Puppy
Pet Breed: Weimaraner-hound mix
From: Oregon, USA
To: Texas, USA

 

Hi!

I have a weird question and I'm wondering if you would be able to answer it for me. I'm hoping to get a puppy in the next few months (I live in Austin), and my sister's dog happens to be pregnant (in Oregon) and she wants to give me one of her puppies.

In your professional opinion, is there any way to transport an 8-week-old puppy from Oregon to Texas? And is there a way to do it that won't cost a crazy amount of money? I'm trying to decide if it would be worth it to try and transport the puppy out here, or if it's not worth the hassle and try to find a puppy locally instead. Thanks for your help!

Thanks,

Alicia

 

Hi Alicia,

Not a weird question at all! Congratulations on deciding to bring a puppy into your life.

In terms of the general travel logistics, securing an airline-approved crate, booking a pet flight with the airline, and securing the vet health certificate most airlines require will likely amount to a few hundred dollars. Here are some guidelines for domestic pet travel if you'd like to take a look. 

Because this is such a young pet, we'd definitely advise consulting with a vet about health and safety issues as well as with the airline about their requirements -- typically proof of a rabies vaccination is required, but an exception might be made for young animals depending on the carrier.

As a company policy, PetRelocation does not transport dogs under the age of 16 weeks. This allows time for pets to grow strong enough to handle the travel experience safely and also makes them old enough to receive their vaccinations. Not everyone adheres to this guideline and of course the decision is yours to make, but we would probably recommend waiting until the puppy was older before traveling such a long distance (at which point we'd be happy to help you arrange the trip!)

Feel free to contact us if you'd like to speak to a Specialist. Thanks for reaching out, and good luck with everything!

 

Pet Move of the Month: Chiefa's Journey to Switzerland

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 by PetRelocation.com Customer

chiefaMeet Chiefa "The Beef" -- our featured Pet Move of the Month! This sweet pup is an important part of her family, and they knew they couldn't move from the United States to Switzerland without her.

Here's a little more about this special client: Chiefa is CGC (Canine Good Citizenship) Certified and graduated in the top of her two basic obedience classes. She is an English Bulldog and also deaf (two things that made her journey a little more challenging but certainly not impossible). Finally, she enjoys traveling in a stroller from time to time and has her own Facebook page. Quite a personality!

To shed some light on the process, Chiefa's owner was kind enough to answer a few questions about their recent move. Read on to find out more about Chiefa's relocation and her transition to Switzerland.

What brought about your move?

My husband, Tony, moved to Switzerland about five years ago for two years and worked for an engineering company. He loved living in Switzerland and stayed in contact with the company he worked for, and they wanted to bring him back on staff at the same time we were looking to relocate from Washington, D.C.

We moved to have a better work/life balance and to have the ability to travel more. We both LOVE to travel and traveling is difficult in the US because everything is so spread out and because you don’t get as many vacation days. 

Have you ever moved a pet by air before this?

No, Chiefa is our first pet. My family had moved dogs from South Carolina to Florida, but not really a long distance move.

 

chiefa

What were some of your initial concerns?

I had a lot of concerns about moving Chiefa. Before Tony accepted his position, we confirmed that Chiefa would be able to relocate with us. If she wasn’t allowed to live in Switzerland, we would not have moved.

My initial concerns with relocating Chiefa were that she is a deaf English bulldog. English bulldogs have smushed faces and have respiratory issues, which is a major concern with air transportation. Also, Cheifa would be flying out of Atlanta, GA. English bulldogs do not do well with heat, nor will airlines allow dogs to travel when it is over 80 degrees.

My husband moved to Switzerland in July to start his position. Cheifa and I did not join him until mid-October because of the weather. We took every precaution we could and PetRelocation helped point out some of the other precautions, which I appreciated. 

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

I was surprised by the knowledge, support, and systems in place for relocating pets. Before we moved Chiefa, I didn't even know this type of service existed. I thought it would be a do-it-yourself process with Chiefa in quarantine for up to three months. I was so unaware and uneducated about the process. Once I was in contact with PetRelocation, everything just fell into place for us.

 

chiefa sleeping

 

How has Chiefa handled the transition so far?

On the day of Chiefa’s flight, I was a mess. I was nervous and worried about the process. When we arrived in Atlanta, however, Cheifa hopped into the handlers car and never looked back.

She was in a great mood when she arrived in Switzerland. She is in love! She has so much more energy. She really enjoys the cooler weather. I am not sure she knows that she isn’t in the US anymore. She has been on the bus once since she arrived, and wasn’t happy that she could not socialize with everyone on the bus nor sit in the seats. 

Is Switzerland a pet-friendly place to be?

Switzerland is SUPER pet-friendly! Chiefa is allowed on the buses and trains. She is allowed in most stores and shopping centers. For us, one difference is that Switzerland does not have fenced in dog parks. Chiefa is deaf so we can’t let her off leash, and most dog owners in our town do not use leashes for walks. 

travel crate

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

If they are moving internationally, I would recommend that they contact PetRelocation and let PetRelocation handle the rest! Contacting PetRelocation was the best decision we made this year! All my worries and concerns decreased by 50% when I started working with PetRelocation. 

What made you decide to hire PetRelocation to assist you?

The reason I decided to work with PetRelocation was because as soon as I called them, I could feel the energy and passion of the staff and the services they provide. They KNEW what they were talking about and made me feel comfortable and at ease. Also, they followed up with me and prepared for the move.

Throughout the process, I was reassured many times that this was the RIGHT company to work with. The staff is FREAKING awesome, so organized, and professional (something that I really value). 

 

chiefa

 

Thanks to Chiefa's owners for sharing their move and their story with us! Considering a pet move? Please contact us for a consultation.

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!

Summer Pet Travel: It's Not Too Early to Start Planning

Thursday, November 13, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Linda
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dogs
Pet Breed: Beagle and a English Cocker Spaniel
From: London, UK
To: Scottsdale, Arizona

 

Dear PetRelocation,

We may be relocating around June or July in 2015. Will my dogs be able to fly to Arizona during those months?

Thanks,

Linda

 

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your question! Summer pet travel is definitely an important topic, and it's crucial to educate yourself about the conditions and caveats well in advance.

Since this trip is still several months away and most airlines adjust their summer pet policies at least a little bit from year to year, it's too early to give you a definitive answer. That being said, we can point you in the right direction and tell you where to find the information you need.

Here are some details about summer airline embargoes from last summer, which will give you an idea of what to expect. Since your dogs are not snub-nosed breeds you probably won't face quite as many restrictions, however in the past British Airways (the airline you might be leaning towards using) has implemented flight restrictions for PHX during the summer. Many pet owners end up sending their pets earlier or later than originally planned in order to avoid embargoes like this and keep their pets safe. It may not fit your schedule ideally, but it's an option you may need to consider.

United is another one of our preferred airline carriers for pets all year round because they have solid pet-friendly policies. Even if it's hot, temperature shouldn't be a huge factor because pets are transported to the plane in an air-conditioned vehicle, given plenty of water, etc. Since pet safety is a priority, though, occasional embargoes are enacted.

We recommend checking in with the airlines directly to find out if they have any tips or predictions for you about this summer, and you can always keep an eye on pet travel blogs (like ours!) as your departure draws nearer so that you receive any updates that may be available.

Finally here, are a few safety tips for pets traveling in the summer as well as a link to our consultation page, which you can fill out if you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door services.

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!
 

Video: What is Pet-Friendly Air Travel?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

If you know anything about PetRelocation, you know that we take safety very seriously and only work with pet-friendly airlines when arranging our clients' trips.

What exactly does "pet-friendly" mean, though? Essentially, it means they have a staff trained to handle pets, they use climate-controlled vehicles, and they operate with a smooth set of procedures that keep a pet's health and safety in mind at all times.

For an example, take a look at the video below. This will show you how British Airways (an airline we work with often) handles their cargo pet travel arrangements.

Have questions about pet-friendly travel or PetRelocation's door-to-door transportation services? Please contact us.

Questions about Cat Air Travel to the United States

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Barbara
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: Maine Coon
From: Brazil
To: USA

Do you help pets travel from Brazil to the USA? Does the pet travel with a person or in the cargo area?

Thanks,

Barbara

 

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for your question! Yes, we have helped pets move from Brazil to the United States, and we do so by arranging their cargo flight on a pet-friendly airline. The pet owner does not need to fly with the pet (most go ahead of time so they can get the house ready, etc.).

PetRelocation does not fly with the pet either, but we do check pets in, clear them through customs upon arrival, and provide door-to-door delivery and help with the pre-travel paperwork and vet visits. For your reference, here are the pet import requirements for the United States as well as a quick summary of our services.

If this is the kind of transportation service you're looking for, please fill out our free quote form or give our office a call to speak to a Specialist. With a few more details we'll be able to give you a quote.

Finally, here's a story from a client of ours who moved with two dogs from Brazil to the United States: as you'll see, Zap and Guida did pretty well on this journey!

Hopefully this has been helpful, Barbara. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. Either way, good luck with your pet travels!


 

Addressing Common Concerns about Pet Air Travel

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Belinda
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dogs
Pet Breed: Shih-Poo, Mini Poodle
From: Florida, USA
To: California, USA

 

Hi PetRelocation,

I've heard way too many horror stories about pets being transported in the cargo area of the plane. I would like to explore non-plane options to get my pet to California.

Does your organization have those type of options?

Thanks,

Belinda

 

Hi Belinda,

We understand your concerns and have helped to arrange ground transportation for pets in the past, however we do urge you to review a few facts and tips before making the decision to avoid air travel altogether. When the right choices are made, it can be a very safe process.

Here's an overview discussing some of the issues that may be worrying you. Essentially, sad news stories tend to gain more attention than the routine pet flights that happen every day -- this isn't meant to diminish the emotions involved when things do go wrong, but when looking at the numbers you'll see that, by far, most pets fly without incident.

Here are a few tips for minimizing the risks of air travel. When you start with a health screening and a conversation with your vet, choose a pet-friendly airline, and help pets to feel comfortable in their crates, you're on your way to planning a successful trip.

You may weigh all of this information and decide that air travel still isn't right for your dogs. That's fine, of course! In this case you'll want to search for a driver who can safely transport your pets for you. Note that, due to the details and hours involved, driving often ends up being more expensive than flying.

Please contact us if you have further questions, or check out IPATA.org to locate a driver who may be able to help you. There are multiple solutions available when it comes to pet moves, and we'd love to help you find the right one!

Good luck with whatever you decide, and thanks for contacting us with your question.
 

Planning Safe Cat Air Travel

Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Maureen
Number of Pets: 5
Pet Type: Cats
Pet Breed: Domestic
From: Bourne, MA
To: Seattle, WA

 

Hi PetRelocation,

I am planning to move to Bainbridge Island, WA. I am trying to find a safe way to relocate my five cats. When you relocate cats, are they transported in a cargo area of a plane? I would also like to find our how this process works and an estimate of the price. Are there any veterinary people that travel with the pets? One of my cats has asthma.

Thank you,
Maureen
 

Hi Maureen,

Thanks for your question, we'd be happy to share some tips and advice with you. To start, take a look at the domestic pet travel requirements for the United States.

Typically, when moving a long distance with this many cats, we would book a flight in the cargo area on a pet-friendly airline such as United. Though cargo travel initially sounds scary to many pet owners, when handled by an experienced and dedicated airline it is a safe choice. Pets are the last to be loaded onto the aircraft and the first to be removed, and during flight they are in a pressure and temperature-controlled area.

In terms of costs, airline rates are calculated based on the weight and amount of space your cats and their crates take up, and vet fees should also be factored in for the visits/paperwork referenced above. If you decide to hire help with transportation to the airport, etc., the overall cost will increase.

You can help your cats prepare for the flight by working to crate-train them in the weeks before you move, and it's always a good idea to discuss any health-related questions you have with your vet. We have helped pets with various health issues move before -- it may require special planning and care, and we'd be happy to discuss your options with you.

If you would like to hear from one of our Specialists about our door-to-door services, please fill out our free quote form. Hope this helps to get you started, and please let us know if we can be of further assistance. Good luck!

How to Transport Dogs to New Zealand

Monday, September 15, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Suzie
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dogs
Pet Breed: Thai dogs / Labrador mix Thai
From: Thailand
To: New Zealand

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I know New Zealand does not allow a direct import from Thailand to New Zealand, so my questions are:

1. Which country near New Zealand would they go to first?

2. Do my dogs get their microchip and vaccinations in Thailand before leaving?

3. What are the exact steps I need to take in order to get my dogs to New Zealand?

4. The cost of air fares, quarantine, freight, and anything else I need to know.

I'm a bit lost as to were to start, any help is much appreciated.

Thanks,

Suzie

 

Hi Suzie,

Thanks for reaching out -- we'd be happy to offer some information about pet travel to New Zealand.

First, take a look at the countries from which it's possible to bring your pets --  here is the official guidance document to assist you. It's most likely you'll move your dogs from Thailand to a Category 3 country (whichever one makes the most sense for you), and then from there eventually to New Zealand. Your dogs will have a minimum 10-day quarantine upon arrival (please review the full timeline and list of requirements).

To find out what the import requirements will be for the stopover country, you can search online for the Ministry of Agriculture website for the relevant country or take a look here for a general idea (these rules are geared towards pets coming from the United States but they'll give you an idea of what to expect).

The costs will depend on several factors, Suzie, but this process will not be cheap. You can start to form an estimate by looking at quarantine facility costs, researching cargo costs through airline websites, or, if you're interested in our services, by filling out our free online quote form or by giving our office a call. With a few more details a Specialist will be able to tell you more about your move options and the associated costs.

Moving pets can be overwhelming, but we'd be happy to help! For a little more about what it's like to move a pet to New Zealand, here's the story of Wednesday the cat, who moved there from the United States. As you'll see, the process took several weeks, but she made it safely and the family was happily reunited.

Thanks again for your question, and we look forward to hearing from you!


 

U.S. Department of Transportation Expands Airline Reporting Requirements

Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Caitlin Moore

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

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

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

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

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

 

pet in cargo

Cargo pet travel. (Photo Credit: Sandy Robins)

 

 

Moving Your Pet: Air Travel or Ground Transportation?

Monday, May 12, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: DeAnne
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Part wire haired terrier, part dachshund
From: Albuquerque, NM
To: St. Louis, MO

 

Hi PetRelocation,

What is the estimated cost of a move like this? It seems that your service emphasizes air travel. Do you transport by car or van? Do you transport one pet at a time or a few?

Thanks,

DeAnne

 

Hi DeAnne,

Thanks for the question. Ground transportation is a possibility and there are various pet transporters out there who drive single or multiple pets where they need to go, but it's a good idea to weigh all the pros and cons before making a decision.

Because it takes longer to drive, pets spend more time in their travel crates when this method is chosen and, if you're paying someone to handle the move, it can be more expensive to cover the hourly wage of the driver, gas expenses, hotels fees, etc. than it is to fly.

Sometimes driving is preferable when transporting snub-nosed breeds, though, who tend to have health issues aggravated by air travel. In our experience, however, most people traveling with breeds that are not snub-nosed ultimately find flying preferable for long distance moves.

It's a good idea to talk to your vet about any concerns you have, and we invite you to read more about pet air travel on our blog. When handled carefully flying pets is a safe option, and the more information you can gather beforehand, the better you'll feel about whatever decision you make.

We'd be happy to discuss your upcoming move with you as well, of course. If you're interested in finding out more about our services, please call our office at 1-877-PET-MOVE or fill out our free quote form. Generally speaking, costs to move one small pet domestically begin at around $1200, but the actual number will depend on knowing a few other factors.

Hope this helps to get you started, DeAnne. Good luck, and thanks again for reaching out to us.

 

Pet Travel: Ground Transport vs. Flying

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Chadd
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Small Dog
From: Houston, TX
To: Marshall, WI

 

Hi PetRelocation,

My friend doesn't want her dog to fly. Is there a service that provides car transport within the United States?

Thanks,

Chadd

 

Hi Chadd,

Thanks for the question. It's understandable to feel nervous about pet air travel, and ground transport options do exist. Doing a Google search or using IPATA.org to find a local pet transport agent who is willing and able to make long road trips is probably your friend's best bet if that's what she is interested in doing.

That being said, if your friend learns more about air travel she may be surprised to find how safe it really can be. Here are a few links that serve as good starting points for building an informed idea of how things work:

 

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have more questions and good luck in finding a good solution for your friend's dog move.

 

 



 

Planning Dog Travel from New Zealand to the United States

Thursday, March 27, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Ginger
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Fox Terrier
From: Auckland, New Zealand
To: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

 

Dear PetRelocation,

We are relocating to Wisconsin. We are very concerned about our pet traveling in the hold of an aircraft. We would love to be able to fly the shortest distance to a state of America, hence our questions. Is it possible to comply with the requirements for the 5 day or less option OR Airport Release, gather our dog once we land in Honolulu, Depart for a flight to Wisconsin say 2 days later, and being a domestic flight then he will be able to travel with us in the cabin on to Madison, WI?

A lot to digest I know, but we love our dog to bits and given he has to have a rabies shot anyway, if we comply with the Hawaiian Quarantine regulations and go to Hawaii  maybe we could clear quarantine the same day as we arrive, allow ourselves a day or two before departing on to the mainland OR could we leave the same day on a later flight even? Lots to think about but just wondering if this is a possibility at all?

We await your response eagerly.

Kind Regards & thanks,

Ginger ( a U.S. Citizen)

 

Hi Ginger,

Thanks for contacting us with your questions! We know that pet travel -- especially the beginning planning stages -- can be very stressful and filled with uncertainty.

Your plan might work, but it also might add unnecessary complications to your trip. Bringing pets into Hawaii and avoiding quarantine there requires a few more steps than going straight to the mainland United States, where all you need is proof of updated vaccines and a health certificate. You'd need to time it correctly so that your health certificate was valid for the entire trip and also arrange lodging, transportation, etc. for the time you were in Hawaii, which would add a considerable cost to the trip. Again, this could work out fine depending on your circumstances, but after further research you may decide to take a different route.

We have shipped pets between New Zealand and the United States several times, and typically we find that the direct flight from Auckland to San Francisco works well. Pets can then proceed from SFO to their next destination, if there is one.

If you're concerned about cargo travel in general, we invite you to take a look at our blog for an examination of the issue here and here. Though it sounds scary at first, when the right choices are made pet air travel via cargo is very safe. Thousands of pets fly this way each year without incident, and in many ways cargo travel is preferable to flying in the cabin.

You clearly have your dog's best interests in mind, and in light of that we'd be happy to advise you about all your options before you make a decision. Feel free to give our office a call or fill out our free quote form. One of our relocation specialists will be able to offer you more specific advice and suggestions if you'd like -- just let us know.

Either way, hopefully by perusing our blog and website you can better acquaint yourself with the pet travel process and start to feel a little more comfortable about undertaking your journey. Reading a few of our customer experiences and catching up with some frequently asked pet travel questions could be a good start.

We hope to hear from you soon, and good luck with everything!
 

Cat On An Overseas Trip

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by Guest Post

Welcome to Part Three of my series on transporting your pet from the USA all the way to Malaysia. Part I was was about travel accessories, and Part II was about essential pet travel documents. In this post, Part III, I'll describe my overall experience travelling with Schubert Cat, including flight check-in, going through security, claiming your pet on arrival and checking him in with the quarantine office (MAQIS.)

Domestic Leg & TSA Checkpoint

Per standard procedure, arrived about two hours early at IAD to check in. I flew with Virgin (don't need to pre-book travel for your pet, just show up and pay the fees,) and while I was given a "priority" boarding pass, it didn't make any difference when going through TSA. I still had to join the masses :-) queuing to put their carry-ons and miscellaneous items into bins for the x-ray scan. In fact, NO ONE would have noticed I had a cat with me if I hadn't tapped a guy on the shoulder and asked him what I should do.

"You're gonna take your cat out of his bag, and you're gonna carry him through the metal detectors," said the officer, as he pointed towards a gate beside the body scanner. "And the bag's gotta go through the x-rays."

Take Schubert out of his bag? The instructions were clear, but the officer resumed what he had been doing without alerting colleagues near the metal detector. I imagined horrible things happening after I took Schubert out of his carrier.

IMG_3607_zpsb6a58094

You put me in this small and miserable space; and you're expecting me to COOPERATE???

Fortunately, it wasn't bad at all. Schubert refused to get out of the carrier from the side, so I opened it up from the top and grabbed him around the middle, lifting him up and out of the bag.

"Awww!!!" said a woman's voice from the queue behind. Schubert just looked confused and had no desire to struggle out of my clutches. I looked around at the TSA officers again, and this time, the ones near the metal detectors indicated I should step over towards them. I can't remember if they patted me down after walking through the detectors, but I'm gonna say they didn't.

Overall, TSA checkpoint with Schubert was uneventful. My expectation was that the agents would be all over me because I was carrying a live animal -- this wasn't the case. There's no telling if your experience will be the same, but it's good to keep in mind that if nobody notices you're traveling with a pet, take the initiative and alert them.

You might get some stares and some smiles as you make your way through the airport. "Oh, kitty kitty!" cried a few people. "Can I take a photo of him in his carrier?" asked a guy sitting beside me at my gate. A woman sitting nearby, brightened up and cast furtive smiles at Schubert's carrier. My cat, who's a bit of an attention whore, would have loved all this if he wasn't so busy being confused by our trip.

On the plane, Schubert was very quiet the entire way. I only felt some frantic scrambling while waiting to enter the plane, and during takeoff. Vacuums are Schubert's mortal enemy, and the plane's engines must have sounded like the Grand Monster Vacuum to him. Once we were on the plane, I was supposed to tuck him under the seat front, but couldn't. I wrote about this in Part I, and here's what I said:

Despite the customer service rep’s advice, the soft case was still about two inches too tall to go under the seat. If you really need to have it fit under, you’ll have to find one that doesn’t have wiring to retain the bag’s shape. The flight attendant wasn’t overly picky about it, but she said to try and make him fit the best that I could. In the end, I just moved him over to the floor of the empty seat beside me.

Besides that, he was calm and ventured to lovingly rub his face on my hand whenever I poked into the carrier to check on him.

International Leg & Transiting

IMG_3645_zps8ee69522

What, now I am considered LUGGAGE?! This is outrageous, Human Lady. Simply unacceptable.

In Part I, I described the Petmate Sky Kennel that I used to transport Schubert all the way to Asia. This is an excellent and very sturdy, bolted kennel that comes in various sizes. I had considered sizing up just to give Schubert a bit more room to move, but the one I got was for pets up to 15 pounds and it was roomy enough.

At the Korean Airlines counter in San Francisco (SFO,) I checked him in together with my luggage. This is also the time when they'll ask for documentation and the $200 pet travel fee, and you must pre-book your pet's travel.

Before I could proceed through security to get to my gate, I was asked to wait by the check-in counter for a handler to escort me to the oversized baggage counter. Obviously Schubert isn't oversized, just a more unique type of, uh, baggage.

Once again, I was asked to hold Schubert while they checked his carrier at the oversized baggage counter. This was a quick procedure, done in under a minute. When he was safely back inside, the handler took over transporting Schubert to the plane, as he couldn't be sent down to the hangars via conveyor belt like the rest of the bags.

As the handler walked away with Schubert in tow, I suddenly felt a pang of fear that he'd be placed on the wrong flight, but quickly told myself I was being irrational. Yes, bags do get lost but more often they end up in the right place. (Or do they?)

The paranoia was probably due to the long layover I had in Korea. In Incheon (ICN,) he was automatically handed over to Korean quarantine for the night, and then transported back over to the plane heading for Malaysia the next day. I was just concerned that someone might get lax (it happens) and Schubert could be heading for Malawi instead.

If you have to transit like I did, you may not need anything. Hopefully, whichever route you take won't require any additional papers for the transit country.

And after we parted ways in San Francisco, the next time I saw Schubert was in Kuala Lumpur (KUL.)

Arriving in Kuala Lumpur and MAQIS

IMG_3725_zps8a7bbc61

Animal Quarantine, known as MAQIS is located in the baggage claim hall on the far right corner, near Carousel J.

This is the most nail-biting part of the journey. At this point, you're a bedraggled, jet-lagged traveller, arriving after a (very) long trip and you're anxious to see that your pet got here safely, but you're also itching to tear off your travel clothes, have a nice warm bath and fall asleep on a soft bed. Take a breath and brace yourself, because it'll be awhile before you get there. You still have to queue for customs, take the sky train over to baggage claim, collect your luggage, find the Quarantine office to sign some papers, then wait for your pet to arrive at the baggage claim hall. All require some patience and wait time.

Fortunately for Malaysians, the customs part is fairly quick and painless -- just swipe your passport at the turnstile, wait for it to read your thumbprint and you're through. The main anxiety I had during this part of the journey was finding the Quarantine office, which is also known as MAQIS. I had a few false alarms before I finally found the right one. (By then, my luggage had arrived at the carousel and it didn't take long to collect.)

Just before the immigration checkpoints, I spotted a large "Kuarantine" sign over a door on the left. Hopped in there and began asking the lady on how to sign off on my cat, when she interrupted:

"Cik, ini bukan kuarantine haiwan, ini kuarantine manusia!" (Miss, this is isn't animal quarantine, this is quarantine for humans!)

Oops. Hot-footed right out of there quicker than when I entered.

Went through customs and past a few duty free stores. Spotted another quarantine sign soon after but this one said fisheries. Not the right one either.

I didn't see anything else that looked relevant, so I took the sky train over to the baggage claim hall. After fruitlessly following some signs that said "kuarantine haiwan," I gave up and asked for directions.

(I think this slight confusion over the office location could have been cleared up if I'd been able to reach someone by phone or email for directions. I'd expected to receive specific instructions on what to do on arrival day from the agent my folks hired, but unfortunately, his communication really missed the mark there. He should have been there to check me in with MAQIS as part of his service, but I ended up doing that on my own.)

IMG_3646_zpsb45d1e20

What is the meaning of this abominable treatment?! I demand you let me out!

MAQIS is located at the far right corner of the baggage hall, in front of carousel J (approximately.) The staff there are super nice and friendly, which almost makes up for the lack of information on their confusing website. They checked my passport, documents and bag claim ticket before making a call to check on Schubert's status -- he was on the way. Hurrah!

While waiting, I signed off on MAQIS' paperwork, then ran to collect my checked luggages. If you have food for your pet, this is the time to hand over to the MAQIS folk, or leave it on top of your pet's carrier so they know which pet it's for.

By the time I found the food in my luggage, Schubert had arrived, wheeled over on a luggage trolley and understandably cranky. The very nice MAS officer said he'd been yowling when he was handed over, and she tried to comfort him to no avail. Poor Schubert!

Nevertheless, it was definitely a relief to see Schubert had arrived in good shape (besides the temper tantrum,) and I noted that someone had taken further steps to prevent the carrier from bursting open by drawing a couple rounds of clear green tape. I'll never know if it was the staff of SFO, ICN or Korean Air, but I'm grateful for the thoroughness.

Much as I didn't want to leave Cat with the quarantine folk, I was reasonably assured that he was in good hands, and it was time for me to go meet my folks. Because I arrived late in the evening, I wouldn't have been able to visit him immediately at the quarantine station if I wanted to. I went the very next day, armed with treats and a soft blanket to make up for all the discomfort.

Stay tuned for the final installment in this series on Schubert's quarantine station experience.

Comments or questions? Post them below!

Next: Cat On An Overseas Trip - Part IV: Malaysian Quarantine

Previous: Cat On An Overseas Trip - Part II: Essential Travel Documents 

This article is by Ming from on-a-lim.com.