Help Me Move My Pet

Puppies and the holidays: Avoiding puppy scams and thinking twice about pets as gifts

Friday, December 10, 2010 by Caitlin Moore

Puppy shipping holidayIn some ways it sounds like the perfect holiday scenario: a floppy-eared puppy with a big red bow tied around his collar scampers into the arms of the kids, shrieks of delight fill the room, and everyone lives blissfully ever after.

In reality, there is (and should be) more to it than that. First of all, getting a puppy is a big deal, and the decision to add one to the family - especially during the hectic holiday season - shouldn't be a surprise event. Pets can bring happiness and fun to our lives, but realistically speaking, they can be pretty expensive while demanding a lot of time and energy. Before committing to this responsibility, the whole family should sit down and discuss how the walking, cleaning and feeding will be divvied up.

For further grounding, check out this article in the New York Times that points out a few important things: owning a pet costs much more than many people think, and it would be smart to have a cash cushion for those "just in case" moments or when the need for pet travel may arise. You never know when an injury or illness will occur, and even if you have pet health insurance, it may be necessary to take care of unexpected expenses from time to time.

That brings us to another topic that we often encounter here at PetRelocation.com - puppy scams. Unfortunately, there are a lot of con artists out there who are perfectly willing to prey on the emotions and generous spirits of pet lovers, so if you've decided you're ready for a dog and you happen to encounter an online "puppy shipper" with an offer that sounds too good to be true, remember that it could very well be a greedy grinch trying to take advantage of you. Read more about puppy scams on our blog.

If you've thought carefully and decided to go for it, we strongly recommend choosing a dog from your local animal shelter. No matter how you look at (saving a life, racking up a few karma points, etc...), it makes sense to adopt a puppy who really needs you. Many organizations also offer the opportunity to foster dogs as they wait for adoptions. This could be a great way to add some holiday cheer to your household while at the same time getting a feel for what it takes to be a dog owner.

As you can see, we're certainly not saying that pets are a bad idea, but we can't help but suggest that you think carefully before deciding to expand your family during the holidays. Good luck with whatever you decide, and check in with us on Facebook to see what our community has to say about puppies, pet travel, the holidays and more.

Rabbit travel to the United Arab Emirates from India

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Keerthi
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Rabbit
From: India

Hi, I am planning to move from India to Abu Dhabi shortly and would like to take my pet bunny with me. I am told that he would require myxomatosis & VHD vaccines to be able to apply for an import permit. Sadly, these vaccines are unavailable in India as per some of the leading veterinary surgeons I have spoken to here. Are these vaccines a must for rabbits entering the UAE? I get different information from different shippers. One of them (AVC) told me my rabbit needs no vaccinations, only a health certificate to travel. DKC, on the other hand, says these vaccines are a must. Can you please let me know if my rabbit needs these vaccines to enter the UAE? If they are unavailable in India, is there a way to import the vaccines from the UAE or have them administered by the local vet upon arrival in the UAE? Thank you. - Keerthi

Hi Keerthi,

Thanks for your inquiry! As you've already discovered, rabbits can be tricky to move due to various international rules and regulations. In our experience, pet rabbits will need a rabies vaccine, an import permit and the vaccines you mentioned. It's always a good idea to double check with the UAE Ministry of Agriculture to find out what the latest import requirements are, and in this case, the Veterinary Council of India or India Ministry of Agriculture to find out about obtaining the VHD and myxomatosis vaccines.

Please contact us if you'd like further assistance in sorting out this situation. One of our Pet Relocation Specialists would be happy to consult with you and help plan your move.

Good luck!

Five Pet Shipping Lessons Learned from the 2010 IPATA Conference

Friday, October 22, 2010 by Rachel Truair

2010 IPATA ConferenceA conference for pet shipping experts?  Yes, while it sounds quirky, the pet shipping industry is a tight-knit yet global industry full of people who genuinely care (and, admittedly, get a little bit geeky) about the safe transportation of peoples' furry loved ones.

The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) was established in 1979 by a group of pet transportation professionals looking to increase awareness of pet transportation, implement safety standards and share knowledge of best pet shipping practices.  IPATA members share a lifelong commitment to pet shipping and since getting started, IPATA has hosted an annual conference for its members to come together.  One of its founders, Dr. Walter Woolf, is still active in the pet transportation business today. 

This past week, my coworker Matt Kincaid and I (pictured above) were lucky enough to go to the 34th annual IPATA Conference held in Montreal, QC, Canada.  While the Texan in me was a little skittish about a 40-degree drop in temperature, I packed up my warmest coats and scarves and headed north last Saturday to meet my colleagues in Canada.  We shared lessons learned and attended sessions on country import requirements, new government initiatives and more.  Here are a few pet shipping tidbits I picked up during the conference:

1.   "What is your skiboots factor?"  

The first day we were entertained and educated by a keynote speaker from New Brunswick named Martin Latulippe, CSP.  In his presentation "Awakening the Invisible to Achieve the Impossible," he told us about the importance of slowing down our lives to help us go above and beyond for our clients and their pets.  In a story about a man who ran a ski equipment store, Latulippe explained how the man had to seek out an additional pair of skiboots to fit a very tall teenager who came into his shop with his dad one day.  A few months later, the man received a letter from the boy's father thanking him for enabling them to ski that day because the next day his son died in a tragic car accident.  The keynote really set the tone for the rest of the conference in reminding us all that it really is the little things we do that matter in the end.

2.  The USDA Veterinarian Accreditation Program is still a work in progress.

We've written a lot about the recent changes to the USDA veterinarian accreditation program, which is required for veterinarians who would like to issue health certificates for live animals.  However, as we learned at IPATA, the USDA was overwhelmed by applicants wanting to be accredited, so the cut-off date for accreditation has been pushed back significantly (until May of 2011 or later).  Dr. Gerald Rushin from the USDA explained why this was and we live-tweeted his talk. 

During the Q&A portion after his talk, I asked if there would ever be a database available to the public that listed USDA-accredited veterinarians. He said that he would take this back to the USDA for consideration. A database for looking up USDA-accredited veterinarians would be a huge service to the public as currently it is difficult to know whether a veterinarian is legally able to issue a health certificate or not.

3.  More animals travel each day by air than humans.

This fact surprised me as well but if you factor in day-old chicks and tropical fish, the numbers add up.

4.  Internet "puppy scams" are a widespread problem, but progress is being made.

On the third and final day of the conference, we heard from a representative from Fraudwatchers.org regarding the issue of Internet puppy scams.  By aggressively pursuing puppy scammers, Fraudwatchers.org (which is entirely volunteer-based) has been responsible for over 21 arrests of these types of scams.  Check out our "How much to ship a puppy?" post for more information on these terrible scams.

5.  "Pet shipping experts" are fun people, too.

While most of the time we are pretty focused on making sure all of our clients' pets get safely to where they're going, we're also definitely not afraid to have a good time.  Over 100 pet shippers from 43 different countries were in attendance at the 2010 IPATA conference this year.  We all had a great time exploring Old Montreal, checking out various historic landmarks, heading out to a group dinner and even watching a few World Series baseball playoff games at local pubs.

Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association IPATA
Group photo of the 2010 IPATA Conference attendees sponsored by Manoir Kanisha.

"How much to ship a puppy?" Puppy scams cost pet lovers thousands.

Friday, May 7, 2010 by Rachel Farris

You've gone online to search for a puppy and stumbled across a free Yorkie puppy named "Romeo."  Or maybe an adorable English bull dog puppy with droopy eyes, or a free Pomerianian puppy named "Candy."  It might even be a free Persian or Siberian kitten.  The owners of the puppy aren't asking for any money -- except for the shipping costs. 

Sometimes there's a sad story that goes along with the puppies.  The puppy's owner will tell you that their daughter died, and it was her puppy, or that they are adopting an orphan and won't have time to care for the puppy.

They'll ask you some questions, meant to pull at your heartstrings and make you want to qualify to get this free puppy:

Where are you located?
Are you a breeder?
Do you have kids?
Can you also promise that you will take good care of him/her?

But they want some money to ship the puppy, and they want it sent as a Western Union.  Many times they want you to send this Western Union to somewhere like Douala, Cameroon in Nigeria.  Sometimes it will be California.

Every day, PetRelocation.com takes phone calls from people who have been victims of puppy scams.  It all seems so reasonable, just to pay the shipping costs.  People want to know how much PetRelocation will charge to arrange the shipping and we have to explain that there is no puppy.  The puppy scammers will not release the puppy to a reputable company like ours because the puppy does not exist. They only want to get your money, however small amount, in cash.

Here are some names of fradulent companies and email addresses we have identified:













10/22/10 UPDATE - Please read!

Comments Policy
If you have been scammed by a puppy shipper, feel free to post your correspondence in the "comments" section below this post as others have done, as it will help to deter the criminals.  However, please note: Delete any of your own personal contact information from the correspondence you are copy/pasting into your comment prior to posting your comment.  Many scammers are considered to be dangerous and it is important not to publish your name, address and phone number online.  If you have posted your own information and woudl like it removed, please email us (blog[at]petrelocation[dot]com) to let us know your name and the information you'd like removed.

"I have been scammed, what can I do to report the scammer?"

1.  Put as much information about the scammer as possible in the comments section below, including:
Email address of the scammer
Western Union name that the money was sent to (or that they asked the money be sent to)
Phone numbers/addresses given by the scammer
Any other information

2.  Fax a letter of complaint to the US Embassy in Cameroon (if you were scammed by someone in Cameroon):

The United States Embassy in Cameroon
Phone: (237) 2220-1500
Fax (237) 2220-1500x4531

3. Post the scam information on Fraudwatchers.org, an online watchdog group for online scams.

Delta Airlines Pet Policy

Thursday, February 4, 2010 by Rachel Farris

Government Regulations

Some states may require a health certificate for your pet travel. Your veterinarian, the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 800-545-8732, or the Department of Agriculture of the state you are traveling to may provide you with more information.

Pets As Carry On

Your pet can travel with you in the cabin for a one-way fee of 100 USD/CAD/EUR* (to be collected at check-in). Pets permitted in the cabin include dogs, cats, and household birds. Monkeys, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, reptiles, frogs, mice, rats, sugar gliders, and spiders are not permitted. The following restrictions apply:

  • Your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you. Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta Reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.
  • Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge, and while onboard the aircraft.
  • Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old.
  • You may not carry on more than one pet.
  • Your pet in-cabin counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.
  • If you're traveling to Hawaii, your pet won't be able to go with you in the cabin, and other restrictions may apply. See Pets to Hawaii for more information.
  • *CAD amount will be charged exit Canada, and EUR amount will be charged exit Europe. For tickets purchased on or before December 12, 2009, fees established by the contract of carriage in effect at the time of ticket issuance will apply.

Exception: Two pets of the same type may be allowed in one kennel, for example two dogs or two cats. They must be small enough to fit in one kennel provided they are compatible and must be of the same species, size and each weigh less than 20 pounds; and they must meet the requirements of acceptance. They will be charged as one pet.

Also, Delta limits the number of pets per flight to:

Class Number of Pets Allowed
First Class 2
BusinessElite® 2
Main Cabin 4

Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board.

Pets As Checked Baggage

While the environment your pets travel in is temperature-controlled and pressurized, air travel is likely to be a stressful experience. To ensure your pet's comfort and safety and your peace of mind, review weather, health, and kennel Requirements & Restrictions for important guidelines.

  • Cats, dogs, household birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters are accepted as checked baggage.
  • Primates, including lemurs, monkeys, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees will not be permitted (excluding service animals).

All other animals, including reptiles, must be shipped as cargo.

You can transport a total of two kennels per flight. Giant-size kennels can only be shipped as cargo. Additional restrictions apply according to aircraft and class of service.

Additional Information

The one-way fee for checking your pet on all flights is $175 for travel within the United States, Canada (175 CAD, exit Canada), U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico and $230 for travel outside the United States, Canada (230 CAD, exit Canada), U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. If you and your pet are making a transfer to another airline, be sure to allow time to claim your animal and re-check it with the connecting airline. For additional information or to arrange to check your pet as baggage, contact Reservations.

Pets As Cargo

Delta Pet First is designed to address the special needs of all warm-blooded animals shipped without their owner. The following are some guidelines and benefits for our Delta Pet First customers:

  • We provide safe and reliable year round transportation for your pet.
  • Your pet will travel from origin to destination with the same priority as Delta DASH shipments. See Pet Shipping Rates for more information.
  • All live animal shipments are required to be pre-booked prior to arrival at the origin facility.
  • International Pet Shipments must be booked a minimum of 3 days in advance and a maximum of 30 days in advance U.S-based Pet Shipments must be booked a minimum of 24 hours in advance and a maximum of 7 days in advance.
  • We have climate-controlled Live Animal holding areas in our four hub cities: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas and Salt Lake City.
  • Upon arrival in the destination city, pets will be delivered to the Delta Cargo facility within 60 minutes.
  • All shipments must be picked up at the destination city cargo facility based on the destination station's guidelines.
  • Only warm-blooded mammals and birds considered to be personal pets or show/exhibition animals will be accepted.
  • Primates, including lemurs, monkeys, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees will not be permitted.
  • Animals must be considered non-offensive and not dangerous to passengers or baggage handlers.
  • Additional fees and charges may apply. Terminal handling charges, customs clearance fees, veterinarian service, and/or kennel storage fees are in addition to shipping rates and will be charged to the shipper or pet owner upon arrival at destination airport. All fees and charges must be paid in full prior to the release of animal.

While the environment your pet travels in is climate-controlled and pressurized, air travel is likely to be a stressful experience. To ensure your pet's comfort and safety and your peace of mind, see weather, health and kennel Requirements & Restrictions for important information.

Learn more about shipping by visiting Delta Cargo.

Shipping Tips

The following are some shipping suggestions to ensure your pet's comfort and safety.

  • Familiarize your pet with the kennel to ease the stress of travel.
  • Keep your pet as calm as possible prior to the flight. Take along a leash and collar for walking your pet prior to departure. Do not place the leash inside the kennel.
  • Include identification tags with your home address and telephone number, as well as the address and phone number of the person receiving the animal at destination.
  • Never send your pet with a muzzle or choke collar on. Both can be dangerous when an animal is alone.

Visit Delta Cargo to learn more about shipping on Delta.

The Evolution of Pet Travel Crates

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 by Rachel Farris

The question that the Continental rep had is very common within the show community too because nobody trusts the plastic folding dog crates due to their terrible design, but there is a massive difference between ours and the plastic dog crate folding style.

Way back in the 1960s when the folding style was developed and patented, they used the same style of latches that we and others still use today. Oddly enough, they were actually designed for use specifically within the aircraft industry - they wanted something that would not loosen when operating on a plane with all of the usual take offs, landings and vibration. One of the people I have met over the years was in St Louis and he was something to do with the maintenace department in the old TWA airline which was based up there. He pointed out that the original "quarter turn screws" were actually imprinted with "L10-11" which if you recall was a type of plane some years back, because that was the plane that they were first designed for specifically to take what a plane would throw at them. Of course as the years passed, they started using them in all kinds of planes, not just that one model.

Between the crates that were first made by Bob McKee and the others that followed through the years, there certainly have been tens if not hundreds of thosands of dogs flown not just domestically in America, but all over the world on all of the airlines. All of the manufacturers have sold into the overseas markets as well as through north and south America, so they are used all over. The serious dog exhibitors and their professional handlers go somewhere almost every week. When there is a National Specialty show for a certain breed there can be an entry of hundreds to over 2000 dogs as there were in the Golden Retriever show back in October in OK. A good number of those dogs are flown in because the people will not drive that far if they live on either coast for example and that is just one show of hundreds held annually.

To be honest, the way you would have to fold the crate up if using one of our folding style, requires you to turn the crate upside down before doing anything with the 8 screws - gravity will not allow the crate to fold upwards of course, so it has to be placed on the roof before loosening the screws. Since the key elements are the front and rear panels and the hinges for those are on the top, there is NO way for them to allow the crates to accidentally fold, because that would require them to be held up as they are being folded inwards. Trust me, we have tried and it is extremely difficult so every Tejas crate is shipped with an instruction sheet that explains the ONLY way they can fold their crate is to turn it upside down first and follow the steps laid out. As we have seen ourselves at shows over the last 26 years, even if you don't engage all of the screws, the crate still stays upright - and that is allowing for a large dog jumping on top several times to be groomed. The laws of physics exclude the possibility of the entire crate from folding down unless ALL of the screws have been disengaged and the front panel, then the rear panel being pushed inwards, so that they can fold flat onto the roof below. They are specifically engineered so that you MUST do it in a certain way or the crate cannot fold correctly, so again, it is basically impossible for all of that to happen by accident.

The dog show people have been using this design since back in the 1960s and in my years as one of them, I have never once heard of a crate folding accidentally and I have to believe that it is the way they are engineered. Again though, if the majority of the crates that your customers would use would be a single use, or used only a few times, I would suggest that the rigid sided version would be the better choice for reasons of cost. The dog show people do LOVE the folding style because they are so much easier to store and travel with when they arrive at the destination city. For example, they can easily fold the crate and put it in the trunk of a rental car, whereas with the rigids, they would require a larger SUV or mini van to handle the fixed-side crate. Due to the design of the folding style, they can save money on every journey and of course when entering hotels or the show building, the crate is basically just a 5 inch deep suitcase and can be easily carried instead of dealing with something like a traditional 400/500. Your typical clients though would not reap the typical rewards as do my dog exhibitors, so there probably would not be as much justification and they could get what they need from the rigid version.....

Some of the people that show, particularly the pro handlers, travel with many dogs in a specially made box truck or an RV. Inside they will have a mixture of sizes for the various breeds and they are all stacked 2 or 3 high as they travel as much as 60,000 miles a year. We have done entire box trucks filled with crates for people and we use the same stainless steel latches to secure the upper crates to the lower crate. WIth the bigger models - a 300 or larger - we use 2 latches on the front and back instead of just the one which is fine for the smaller, lighter breeds. I was actually intending to bring a stacked set with me to show you the rigid model and you can see the level of rigidity and safety that they provide. Even when using the folding version, they seem to have done fine - and again, this approach has been going for over 30 years without any known failures. I have never done any load testing as such, but years ago, the original manufacturer used to have a picture on his brochure of 4 folding crates spread out in a rectangle and he had a car lowered onto the four crates - a wheel on each roof. Pretty impressive stuff really, bearing in mind that the crates were the folding style and I suppose even a small car has to weigh well over a ton, so each crate was supporting at least 600 pounds.....

I use the same aircraft grade aluminum that he did, so admittedly the idea may not work with other types, but the overall fit and finish available today through the computer aided design and computer driven machines provide a very accurately made and far superior crate in terms of what we offer these days and as you will see, the way the finished article goes together, there is little doubt that they would hold well over a hundred pounds because the average Bouvier is about 125 lbs, as is a Rottweiler and many others, so when they jump up there for grooming, there isn't even a flexing on the roof - the whole point of ours is that they CAN support even the large dogs for grooming!! As I may have said earlier, we know that we are massively over built, but we do that deliberately so that should something bad happen, the dogs will have a better chance of survival. For example, although it is very unlikely that the metal would even flex on the floor or the roof when the dogs are inside or on top, we actually provide two support beams or stiffeners on each, so that the roof and floor act as a "roll cage" when things go wrong. Remind me to tell you about out clients accidents and the outcome for their dogs - they are pretty good!!

The issue of heat is another issue that is very much in our favour. When vendors go to the outdoor shows, many use the "EZ-Up" brand of tents for shade. They have a metal frame and a plastic sheeting as the roof and depending on the weather, we might use the walls for protection. When at the summer shows in particular, we are all cooking under the tents, because the radiant heat which is what does the damage comes straight through the plastic fabric of the roof. A lot of the exhibitors use them as well, but as they have all found, the dogs are "in the shade" under the plastic but are still getting far too hot.

If left in the open, the VariKennel type of crate will absorb and retain the heat into the plastic material and the dogs can quickly become overheated. Ironically, the aluminum actually keeps the dogs cooler than the plastic because the aluminum reflects the radiant heat to a great extent. That and the far better ventilation (the number of holes and their location are key) allows the heat to disapate more easily. The dog seen on my website had a VERY thick black coat and was in his folding 500 done in the silver vein color. Even if he wasn't shown at every location, he travelled with me around the nation and I could leave him out in the sun all day even whe the temps were up in the low 90s. If anyone asked me about whether they get too hot in a metal crate, I could walk them over quietly to my own crate and they could look inside. He would be in there sound asleep without any stress, with a shallow, easy breathing pattern and while somewhat counter intuitive, the people immediately saw for themselves, that he was doing better in there than their own dogs were in a plastic crate, even if sitting in the shade of a tent or a building.

As you know, the plastic crates meet the minimum percentage in terms of ventilated space, but the way the spaces are located certainly doesn't help the dogs. The side panels or holes are typically on the upper half, so there is no flow at all down at the floor level where the dogs are lying. Worse yet, the entire rear panel normally has no holes at all, so that too creates a dead area. We place three rows high and three rows lower down on the sides and the rear panel, so whether my dog is standing or lying down, there is plenty of airflow past his face and that has been a VERY popular feature of our products. Again, my typical buyers are not the once in a blue moon dog shippers, these folks use the crates several days every week throughout many years, so they have very expert experience about keeping their dogs cool and comfortable.

We had responded to quite frequent requests from people that have the double coated breeds (Malamutes for example that will begin to pant at anything over 50 degrees), the snub-nosed breeds like Pekinese, Bulldogs and the rest, who again really struggle with other crates and crate training due to the lack of ventilation in those products and the location of the holes that are there. According to the owners, the giant breeds like Mastiffs, St Bernards and the others again seem to do better with this type of crate than with any others. I think the same rationale applies regardless of the breed.

Post-terrorism, pet travel becomes tricky

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by Rachel Farris

Pet travel after terrorism can be difficult as one bird owner found out.An article in the New York Times this week features a feathery situation in the airport security line.  Joe Sharkey, a Times reporter, was faced with pet flying his two parrots, Rosie (an African Grey) and Petey (a blue-and-gold Macaw) from Newark to Phoenix.  A difficult task under the best of circumstances, Sharkey found himself receiving a long, hard look from the TSA before boarding with Rosie, who would be flying with him in-cabin.  Then the time came for Rosie to be inspected by the TSA, which required looking under her wings for explosives:

My wife and I had never before flown with our two parrots, but this time they had to come along on our nonstop flight to Phoenix. Rosie could fly in the cabin.  ... We were very anxious at the checkpoint. My wife solved the problem, though. One of Rosie's tricks is to spread her wings and lower her beak if you ask her to imitate an eagle.

"Rosie, do an eagle," my wife said. Inside her cage with the screener's face framed in the open door, the bird promptly spread her wings wide. The screener had his look under the wings and lowered his wand. Merriment ensued all around — but it had to look pretty silly.

Flying with pets has always been somewhat difficult but tighter security restrictions are making pet travel, particularly in-cabin, even more stressful.

Almost a year ago, we reported a confusing pet travel directive issued by the TSA that made it impossible for pets originating from outside the US to be shipped unaccompanied or as manifest cargo without going through a "Regulated Agent" or "IATA-Approved" shipper.  Breeders who were used to sending their pets to Canada and then arranging to ship them back through other breeders suddenly found themselves in a tight spot, with their show dogs and breeding stock stuck across the border.  It also meant that someone living in a more remote city/country where there might not be a freight forwarder or registered agent who is capable and/or willing to book pets as cargo would have to either travel with their pet back to the US or leave the pet behind. 

As concerns about international and domestic airline security mount, it's important if you're traveling with pets to plan ahead and be aware of the difficulties.  Some ideas to keep your pet travel running smoothly include:

  • Arrive to the airport early to avoid delays. Pets are like children - they can sometimes slow things down!
  • Make sure you have duplicate copies of all of your pets' necessary paperwork.
  • Crate train and socialize your pet in his or her crate.  This will help when it is time for your pet to be inspected by security.  In Rosie's case, a fun trick became a very useful training tool in a tense moment. 

Russell Brand and the Pet Passport: Even celebrities need pet travel help!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 by Rachel Farris

Last week, OK! Magazine reported that Russell Brand, a British movie star (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) wouldn't live with his girlfriend, American rockstar Katy Perry, in the US because "someone has got to feed" his cat.  OK! went on to quote Brand as saying, "I am getting him a pet passport which means he can travel around as much as he likes."  He also quipped a bit about the funny thought of pets having passports, sounding much like the pet shippers around here.  "Unfortunately, they don't do photos," Brand told OK! "I was really looking forward to that."

USA Today also got in on the furry story, mentioning that the pet passport falls under the required Pet Travel Scheme for pet travel to and from the UK.  Because of the UK's rabies-free status, additional precautions must be taken prior to taking pets in and out of the country.  As part of our door-to-door services, our specialists obtain the pet passports upon behalf of the pet's owner -- which means that Brand could be saving himself a lot of time and trouble.

While Brand's domestic shorthair struggles prove celebrities are just like us, you can also tell he is dealing with some pretty typical catty behavior.  "He hissed at me yesterday," Brand said of his disgruntled cat.  "I tried to explain to him but he doesn't understand concepts such as international travel and work.  You can't just send him the occasional postcard saying things are going well. I've got to look after him."

Hopefully, Brand's cat will be able to obtain the valid paperwork he needs so Brand can get out of the dog house and back on Katy Perry's good list!




Puppy scam victims finding help through websites, social networking

Saturday, October 3, 2009 by Rachel Farris

Every day PetRelocation.com gets phone calls from people around the world wanting to know how much it costs to ship a puppy.  Our first question is always "Do you know the person you're buying the puppy from?"  Nine times out of ten, people are being scammed by individuals pretending to have some sort of adorable fuzzball that they "just want to give to a good home."  Unfortunately these scammers prey on people's emotions to talk them into sending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to ship a puppy that sadly doesn't exist.  Once the money is sent, rarely is it retrievable (because most of the money is sent via Western Union).

So we decided to do something about it. Back in July, we posted a blog entry about people getting scammed by "puppy shippers" or sellers.  We encouraged our readers who had received emails from puppy scammers to post their emails in the comments section of our blog, knowing that eventually someone would search for a similar phrase or person's name and find it.  This tactic has proved to be quite a success.  We now receive comments nearly every week from people who were almost scammed.

Here was the most recent comment from one of our visitors:

Like so many others we almost fell for this scam. Thankfully we thought it was a bit too good to be true and before we made any payments we searched the internet and found this page. THANK YOU for doing this!!!!

We aren't only in the business of shipping pets here.  Hopefully this very simple process of "outing" puppy scammers on our website will help others from avoiding scams in the future and will put an end to this unfortunate tactic.

Confusion When Moving Pets to the EU

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by Rachel Farris

My family and I will be moving to Poland with two cats. Will they need to have the FAVN test done? I've read so many conflicting requirements while pursuing an answer via the web that I'm at a total loss as where to begin. Thanks for your help! Carolina

Carolina, we hear you.  If you're moving with pets to the EU, you can get so bogged down in bureaocracy that it can make your work permit application process look like a cake walk!

But I can't fully answer your question, because you don't say what country you're coming from -- or, in "pet shipper" speak, what country your pet will be originating in.

Most countries outside of the US, including the EU, base their import requirements on where the pet originates.  The origin country dictates what documents are required, whether there is quarantine, and -- of course -- whether you'll need to do a FAVN blood test for your cats.

For example, let's say your cats are leaving from New York City, New York and traveling to Poland.  The EU views the USA as a "Third Country with a Favorable Situation With Regard to Rabies" which means, in plain english, that the US is not part of the EU (thus making it a "third country") and, while the US is not "Rabies Free," it is "Rabies Controlled."  This means that you wouldn't need to do the FAVN test.  You would just need to follow the Poland Pet Import Rules & Requirements for pets coming from the US, which we have listed on our website for your reference.

However, let's say your cats we're leaving from Bangkok, Thailand, which is not on the EU's list of "Third Countries with a Favorable Situation With Regard to Rabies."  Then they would need to fulfill the rest of the EUROPA EU requirements, including the FAVN test and a four month pre-import "home quarantine" in order to avoid quarantine upon arrival.

Ultimately, there's a lot of cryptic information out there Carolina, and we don't blame you for being confused.  Our door-to-door services handle the pre-export documentation for you (and oftentimes, the literal translation of import/export requirements) -- which is just a small part of the confusion that can happen when moving pets on your own!



Should I tranquilize my pet prior to their move?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

We here at PetRelocation.com (www.petrelocation.com) come across a lot of different questions and comments that surround the pet relocation process. It is these questions, or what we like to call Myths, that has prompted me to post of few of our answers to these common Pet Moving Myths!

Myth #1: Pets should be tranquilized before shipping because it will be so traumatic.

Truth: Picture two children going to summer camp. The parents of one are happy and excited to see their child taking off on a wonderful new adventure. The parents of the other are fussing and fidgeting, just certain that their child will not like it and reassuring him/her that they can call to come home whenever they want. Which child is going to have fun? Which one will see camp as the adventure?

When clients ask if they should get tranquilizers from their veterinarian we simply respond, "If you have tranquilizers and feel you need them, you should take them, but don't give them to your pet!" The truth is, of the "horror stories" you hear, the majority can be directly attributed to the use of tranquilizers.

If we could shout just one thing from the rooftop of every airport to be heard by pet owners all over the world, it would be "Don't tranquilize your pet! In fact, most professional pet shippers will refuse to handle a shipment should the owner demand that their pet be given tranquilizers. Why?


- Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which makes it hard for a pet to cope with the changes in altitude and temperature. This is particularly true in "pug nosed" breeds.

- Aircraft are pressurized to an altitude of 8,000 feet or higher. No studies have been done to determine the effect of tranquilizers at such high altitudes.

- A pet may react differently to the same drug, in the same dose, depending on its state of excitement.

- Pets are more resilient and adaptable than most people give them credit for, and when properly handled, are no more traumatized by traveling by air than by taking a ride in a car.

A pet that has been acclimated to an airline carrier or "crate" will have little concern when flying. The greatest fear for a pet that has not been trained to accept the enclosure as his special place is the fear of the confinement itself. By simply feeding and sleeping the pet in its crate for a week or so before the trip, you will make the trip much more enjoyable.

What it all comes down to is this: Thousands of animals are shipped by air every year, but the only ones you hear about are the ones that went wrong - for whatever reason. The truth is, horror sells! Traveling by air is just as safe for your pet as it is for you. Is that to say nothing can happen? No, that's unrealistic. But a healthy pet, traveling on a well-planned itinerary, is as safe as walking with you in the park.

So what's the trick? Use a professional. You don't expect the same results from a "home perm" that you'd get from one that's professionally done, would you? Would you expect to frame a house, lay a brick wall or build a bridge if you weren't trained for that task? Of course not. Shipping regulations can be complex, especially when traveling overseas. Airline ticket agents are trained to sell tickets, not ship pets.

Feel free to visit our website to learn more about us and how we, as professionals, will work on moving your pets. www.petrelocation.com

Traveling With Pets! - NY Times Article

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Well, we are getting closer and closer to the press reporting correctly about the pet travel industry. To date, this is the best article as it does include our 'pet hero' Cesar Milan...but even good ole Cesar Milan is misinformed on the basics of traveling with your pets via pet friendly airlines. Maybe Cesar needs to listen to the whispering dogs a bit closer, as many would tell him just how good it is to travel these days!

In short, the article by Michelle Higgins of the NY Times reads as such:

TRAVELING with pets is an increasingly common affair, as many pet owners have decided that Fido deserves a summer vacation as much as they do, and shouldn'tt be left behind in a kennel while they are off lounging on a beach or taking in the mountain air.

The travel industry has been quick to cash in on this trend: many hotels now offer packages with pet beds and special room-service menus for four-legged companions.

But many pet owners still have concerns about hitting the road җ or, to be more specific, the sky. More than two million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States, according to the Department of Transportation. Though rare, incidents involving the loss, injury or death of animals do happen. During June, July and August of last year, 12 animals, mostly dogs, died, 3 were injured and 4 were lost during air travel.

For tips on traveling with your dog or leaving one behind when taking a vacation, I talked with Cesar Millan, a dog behaviorist and best-selling author, better known as National Geographic Channels Dog Whisperer. Mr. Millan, a native of Mexico, also owns the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, which specializes in rehabilitating dogs with extreme behavior problems. When we spoke by phone, he was in Miami with two dogs җ Daddy and Coco who were going to travel to Minneapolis to film an episode of the show.

Q. How do you travel with your dogs?

A. Right now, Iגm fortunate to travel with two of them a pitbull and a Chihuahua. Theyגre not flying with me, but we have an R.V., which is much easier for them because theyre able to meet the land. I ask the driver: every four hours, make sure they experience where they are.

Q. Do you have any advice for people who canҒt take their pets cross-country by car?

A. My large personal dogs have never traveled on a plane. My small dogs have, and its easier because, you know, theyҒre next to us, right there under the seat, as they request on the airline. So it feels like theyre just doing a different activity. Of course, theyҒre going to feel the altitude, and so Im going to be right there to calm them down, just to make them feel relaxed. But until I get my own private plane, my large dogs will not fly.

Q. So you always have them take the R.V. and not a plane?

A. Yes, because itҒs not very controlled in the areas where they put the large dogs. I hope the airlines will get smart about it and learn that its business, because we do want to bring our dogs with us. But they have to be able to make sure the temperature is ideal, and ideally a human can be there just to provide some kind of comfort to dogs. I think it can be done җ its just a matter of whether the airlines are willing to do it.

Q. More hotels are trying to appeal to pet owners with special doggy beds and room service. Does it matter what kind of hotel you stay at?

A. They donҒt understand if it costs $1 or $300. They cant make the difference between BloomingdaleҒs and Kmart. What theyre going to know is what state of mind they were in when you offered that.

Q. Any tips for traveling by car?

A. Dogs are daytime animals, and my pack is so accustomed to do activities in the daytime that at least every four hours the driver stops and walks them, which is good for the driver and is good for my dogs. ItҒs important for a dog to know the land because in a way theyre migrating to another place. ItҒs important for them to see and to smell the environment. Wherever they are, its going to be a different temperature, a different scent and a different feeling. You want to be sure they know how to associate themselves with it in a more natural way.

Q. Is sedation an option?

A. Yeah, but again you have to condition the mind to see what the side effects are and what doses work and what medication works. It shouldnҒt make them lethargic. Its just for them to feel thoroughly relaxed. ItҒs like a glass of wine. It doesnt have to make you feel angry or frustrated. ItҒs just to relax you.

Q. How should you choose a kennel?

A. You want to find a place where they immediately know how to adopt a dog and to make a dog really not focused on the fact that you left but really focused on what is there for him. Its very important that professionals learn itҒs a big deal for a dog to detach himself from his pack, and so the new pack has to be just as good or better than the pack he just left.

Q. What about dogs that get nervous when traveling? Is there anything you can do to keep them calm?

A. If a dog is nervous at home, its more likely for him to get worse in different environments. You definitely have to work, before you go on the vacation, to start learning about how you can make your dog not nervous at home. Everything starts from home. A lot of people also get frustrated when theyҒre traveling, and the dog is trembling or whining or drooling. But thats not going to help the dog either. Your energy influences a lot, and once you recognize and become aware of the energy you share when your dog is under stress, then you realize, oh, O.K., I have to work on myself.

Q. Are some dogs more suited to travel than others?

A. Balanced dogs. ItҒs not the breed or the size. You cant generalize that the size or the breed will make it a better travel dog. A balanced dog is always going to be a perfect dog to be around; an unstable dog, regardless of the size, is not going to be comfortable to travel with. So itҒs a state of mind, not a breed or a size.

Q. Is there anything else travelers should keep in mind?

A. Once you arrive at your destination, make sure you go for a long walk before you go inside the hotel or the condominium or wherever youre going because that will give a dog a better understanding of where they are and what the surroundings are, and that the same rules and boundaries or limitations that you might have had in L.A. exist in Florida. That will make him feel so comfortable, so at home, and enjoy his new adventure.

(end of Article)

* Now, don't get me wrong as I am the biggest fan of Cesar Milan and how he is teaching us all about living with & amongst our dogs! However, he is just like most of the public when it comes to the misinformation surrounding the safe relocation of live animals on airplanes & the affects of Sedation when doing so.

With regards to pressurization:

When working with pet moving companies like ours, we work with airlines that only have pressurized & climate controlled cargo holds.

In fact, an aircraft is somewhat like a balloon. It is impossible to inflate part of a balloon and not the rest, right? So how do you suppose they would pressurize part of the aircraft and not the rest? They can't. It defies the laws of physics. The air in the cargo holds and in the passenger cabin is the same. In fact, an airline will not accept a pet that has fouled its carrier for just that reason -- they don't want passengers complaining about the odor.

The air is circulated throughout the entire plane - so most airlines only allow a minimum number of pets on board, as the potential for their smell to carry through the cabin is very possible.

All of these cargo holds are insulated, climate controlled, pressurized and they even have slightly dimmed lights. This allows the animal to travel in comfort, just as we do sitting above in the cabin.

If you think about it from the pet's perspective, they do not know they are flying in a plane. To them, they are being placed into a special 'room' that may shake a bit on take off and landing - but other than that, the pets are simply waiting for that individual who put them there, to come and open that door so they can enjoy their new location. Little do they know, that its not the same location they left from! :-)

Most, or almost all, of the stress a pet will experience when flying - is the waiting period on the tarmac before/after its flight. Since pets are last to be loaded & first to be removed, many airlines will send all the 'cargo' to the plane at once. As the pet waits its turn to be loaded/unloaded, it must sit on the tarmac until its their turn.

It is this wait, that can cause the most stress to a pet. When working with pet shipping companies like ours, PetRelocation.com, we work with the airlines on loading/unloading the pets separately from the rest of the cargo. This basically means that the pets will never sit on the tarmac, as the airlines will shuttle them to/from the plane when its time for them to load/unload - rather than sending them with the general cargo.

With Regards to Sedation:

Picture two children going to summer camp. The parents of one are happy and excited to see their child taking off on a wonderful new adventure. The parents of the other are fussing and fidgeting, just certain that their child will not like it and reassuring him/her that they can call to come home whenever they want. Which child is going to have fun? Which one will see camp as the adventure?

When clients ask if they should get tranquilizers from their veterinarian we simply respond, "If you have tranquilizers and feel you need them, you should take them, but don't give them to your pet!" The truth is, of the "horror stories" you hear, the majority can be directly attributed to the use of tranquilizers.

If we could shout just one thing from the rooftop of every airport to be heard by pet owners all over the world, it would be "Don't tranquilize your pet! In fact, most professional pet shippers will refuse to handle a shipment should the owner demand that their pet be given tranquilizers. Why?


- Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which makes it hard for a pet to cope with the changes in altitude and temperature. This is particularly true in "pug nosed" breeds.

- Aircraft are pressurized to an altitude of 8,000 feet or higher. No studies have been done to determine the effect of tranquilizers at such high altitudes.

- A pet may react differently to the same drug, in the same dose, depending on its state of excitement.

- Pets are more resilient and adaptable than most people give them credit for, and when properly handled, are no more traumatized by traveling by air than by taking a ride in a car.

A pet that has been acclimated to an airline carrier or "crate" will have little concern when flying. The greatest fear for a pet that has not been trained to accept the enclosure as his special place is the fear of the confinement itself. By simply feeding and sleeping the pet in its crate for a week or so before the trip, you will make the trip much more enjoyable.

What it all comes down to is this: Thousands of animals are shipped by air every year, but the only ones you hear about are the ones that went wrong - for whatever reason. The truth is, horror sells! Traveling by air is just as safe for your pet as it is for you. Is that to say nothing can happen? No, that's unrealistic. But a healthy pet, traveling on a well-planned itinerary, is as safe as walking with you in the park.

So what's the trick? Use a professional. You don't expect the same results from a "home perm" that you'd get from one that's professionally done, would you? Would you expect to frame a house, lay a brick wall or build a bridge if you weren't trained for that task? Of course not. Shipping regulations can be complex, especially when traveling overseas. Airline ticket agents are trained to sell tickets, not ship pets.

Feel free to visit our website to learn more about us and how we, as professionals, will work on moving your pets. www.petrelocation.com

Pet Relocation in the EU - European Union and Pets

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Pet Relocation to European Union

Traveling within the European Union is much easier according to the new system. People who own dogs and cats can easily move from one EU to another without much hassle with their domestic pets. It has relaxed the health requirements of the pet traveling with its owner or a caretaker. But the main factor is that the pet should not be relocated for selling purposes. Personal pet keepers will benefit more from such improved and reverted pet relocation schemes.

The EU is very precautious about pets traveling from third world countries where rabies is still not eradicated 100%. All recommendations of the International Animal Health Code clearly state the conditions to be met for a pet traveling from these countries where the rabies threat is high. Other pets like reptiles, fish, insects etc might travel with their owner without health certificates, as they are not affected by rabies. Proper certifications about the vaccination and tests should be produced after initially getting them from qualified veterinarians.

Before actually deciding to take your pet along, just find out the details about the pet relocation rules pertaining to the country you wish to go. Then decide whether it is going to be a final relocation or a holiday plan or a short stay. Then plan accordingly. If it is a holiday find out the resorts or hotels which will allow pets in the first place. Calculate the expenses that will be approximately met when you try to take your pet along. If it is for good then the amount you spend on it is worth the time and the effort.

However it is always good to entrust this work with qualified professionals in this field. They might guide you or even handle the pet relocating services for a considerable fee. But it is no doubt the best possible service as you need not worry or stress out at the last moment. Your pet will be safe and its travel will be secured and confirmed. They can take over the task of preparing all legal stuff, vaccinating the pets and in many cases even providing the possible and comfortable cage to help your pet relax while they relocate it to its rightful owners aboard. Some agencies also allow you to do all these services while they stand by and guide. Whatever be the location, pet relocation has never been easier.

Click on the links below for more info:

For more information on the EU and transporting Pets within/to these countries.

For a list of pet shippers.

To contact us.

Importance of Domestic Health Certificates!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

I recently received a phone call from a customer who was moving domestically (within the United States) and had asked us why she needed Health Documentation for her pet move. Her main issue was that her cat has never been vaccinated by a Veterinarian, since she believes in Homeopathic Remedies and does all of her vaccinations herself.

This is a great alternative to some, however for the USDA and the various State Laws, it is a requirement to obtain the proper health papers when leaving your state and entering another.

Every state has a law that requires appropriate health documentation for your pet transport relocation. While this isn't an enormous issue for people who like to travel with their pets, it is important to obtain proper documentation before taking your pet across state lines.

Please note, that some States might also require:

* An import permit
* Tests for disease
* Additional Vaccinations
* Information guaranteeing that the pet did not come from an area under quarantine restrictions.

The true purpose of an official health certificate is only partially to certify the (apparent) health of the animals inspected. At least as important is the ability to track the movement of the animals. If an outbreak of disease appears, you want to know how many animals just left that area and where they went. You also want to know who got there just before that, and where they came from. The idea is to track and stop the spread of disease. Any time you cross the state line with an animal, you're supposed to have an official health certificate. An accredited veterinarian inspects the animal and (with his staff) fills out the appropriate paperwork describing the animal, any tests run, vaccinations given and the state of health (which has to be good, as far as they can tell). It also specifies the name and address of the owner, the shipper, and the recipient. A copy goes with the shipment, one to the home state veterinarian, and one to the destination state veterinarian (and one stays in your files).

Screwing up health certificates is a bad thing. Suppose there's an outbreak of rabies and you can't tell who's been exposed, where they came from or where they went? Not good. There are many diseases that could have a major impact on live animals.

When moving your pet with an Airline, it is required to have a Health Certificate within 10 days of departure. This is a strict airline rule that allows them to make sure your pet has been checked by a Veterinarian and is showing signs of good health. Please contact the various airlines directly for more information on their domestic policies.

As always, should you need any help you can always contact Petrelocation.com for more information!

How much does it cost to move my pet?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

As a service based business, we are constantly getting phone calls and emails (obviously) about how much our services costs! Since we are a third party service provider, we do not own our own planes and because of this have to book on various pet friendly airlines who can accomplish our world wide delivery methods! Many are shocked to hear that we are more expensive than the airlines themselves. I wanted to outline the basics in "How much does it cost to move my pet?":

Every pet relocation presents its own unique set of challenges, planning hours and resources that can affect your total cost.

Your pet relocation costs can vary because of the type of pet you have, its weight and kennel size, departing & arriving locations, time of day, season and your particular circumstances.

There are three basic sets of services that most offer - Domestic Services (within one country), International Services (Country to Country) and Ground Transportation.

Domestic Pet Relocation Services:

Most companies are different in how they operate, for example our company - PetRelocation.com - is a full service pet relocation company that specializes in the complete "Door to Door" relocation of your pet. We only do the full Door to Door services, as that is what you are paying us for. You are paying us as a 'service company' to not only get your pet to you, but to handle all the stress involved in the process.

how-much-does-it-cost-to-move-your-pet Our Standard Domestic Services can include:

* Preparation and consultation of travel expectations & questions
* Arranging pickup & delivery logistics at each required location
* Arrangement of boarding and/or grooming services if needed
* Assist in obtaining Health, Rabies and Travel Documents
* Flight Research and Flight Booking
* Airport Handling and Pet Supervision
* Assist with required travel kennel & its flight preparation
* Handling of arrival & departure procedures
* Arrange for payment to airline, vet, kennel, pet carrier, etc.
* Compliance with all Animal Welfare Act Regulations.
* Compliance with all TSA Mandatory security measures.
* Single Point of Contact for all your pet relocation needs.

There are a number of components to a pet's relocation fee. Depending on the particular needs of the pet, these fees may vary. In addition to Consultation and Coordination fees, the most common fee's are:

* Air Freight
* Ground Transportation
* Approved Pet Carriers
* Import Permits
* Quarantine
* Boarding
* Customs Clearance
* Airport Transfers
* Vet Services
* Destination Services
* And more!

International Services:

International costs vary, as each country and location requires it's own documentation & requirements. Along with costs of airfare, handling fees and travel containers - you can also expect such fee's as import application, quarantine entry forms, transportation from port of arrival to animal quarantine station, government inspection, accommodations and management of quarantine services, customs and more.

Companies like PetRelocation.com specialize in helping pet owners meet the strict requirements of each countries import regulations & requirements. Since every country presents its own unique set of costs, we suggest you contact a pet relocation company to ask what their service fees are. The best site for finding other pet shippers, is IPATA

As a reminder, your pet relocation expenses are tax deductible! IRS Publication #521 -- "Moving Expenses" states that pet moving is a tax-deductible relocation expense when your relocation and moving is for purposes of change of employment. Consult your tax adviser for further information.

Traveling Birds! - Moving with your Bird?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

At Petrelocation.com, we move birds often. In fact, it is one of the most popular species we pet transport. Domestically, the relocation of birds is rather simple and many times all that is required is the proper travel crate and a simple Health Certificate showing that the bird is fit for travel. Some airlines, do not even require a Health Certificate! It is amazing how simple the domestic relocation of birds is.

Internationally, it is one of the hardest.

With the scare of bird flu and the diseases that birds can carry - every country has their own unique set of rules when it comes to the import of birds. For the US, we have posted about the importing of birds before here. - for any other country, we suggest you contact us or another pet shipper to find out the strict rules that apply!

In my reading of the pet world, I came across this rather interesting story below, enjoy!

Bringing your bird on board just doesn't fly
Posted Friday, July 06, 2007

First of two parts

Did you hear about the pigeon who tried to stow away on a Continental Express flight a couple of weeks ago?

I'm not referring to some fast-talking chick who slipped past an agent and decided to roost in the lavatory until takeoff - which has been known to happen. This was the actual winged variety that normally hangs out in parks eating bread crumbs and doing unmentionable things to statues.

Apparently this one was looking for the easy way to wing it from Newark, N.J., to Grand Rapids, Mich. When a flight attendant tried to catch the bird, she apparently ruffled its feathers. The pigeon attacked the attendant and took air rage to a new level. Both the injured flight attendant and the bird were grounded before the plane could take off.

This isn't the first bird to fly reconnaissance missions on an aircraft. Several years ago, a passenger was traveling on a Trans World flight with his pet parakeet. The owner decided to take him out of his cage. The bird became bored with sitting quietly on his master's finger. He spread his wings. On his maiden voyage he barely cleared the heads of passengers in the first-class cabin. It was several round trips through the cabin before he took a turn through the first-class galley and hit a wall - literally. Apparently he lost his concentration when he saw the flight attendant preparing dinner. It was probably the horror of seeing roasted quail being served on a bed of greens that brought him down.

Occasionally a passenger tries to smuggle a bird onboard. A couple of years ago, a passenger attempted to enter the U.S. with rare songbirds taped to his legs. The man had taped their beaks shut so they couldn't make a peep. But that didn't stop them from singing to Customs officers.

On an aircraft waiting for takeoff from Hong Kong for New York, a flight attendant heard peeping sounds coming from a passenger's luggage. When the bag was opened, the man claimed he didn't know it was illegal to bring the birds onboard. I'm sure it cost him more than chicken feed to go clear up the mess.

And then there was the woman who brought a live chicken on board a flight from Italy. The bird was quiet until after takeoff. As soon as we reached cruising level, the overhead bin began to cackle. When the bag was opened, the feathers flew. The pilot returned the flight to Rome and the woman and her bird deplaned. We figured she had heard about our in-flight meals and just wanted to be sure she had fresh meat.

Several years ago, two youngsters flew from overseas to Canada with their pet bird. Apparently the airline failed to check to see if the cockatoo had the proper documentation for a flight into Canada. Canada deemed the bird was an illegal alien and refused to let it land. The children were heartbroken. Eventually the bird was allowed to take up residence in Canada, apparently some politician decided to feather his own nest and straighten it out.

Most airlines don't allow birds to fly - which seems like an oxymoron. But when a passenger needs to travel with his feathered friend, it's important to check both the regulations of the airline and the country of destination before booking the flight. Some countries quarantine pets for extended periods of time.

Gail Todd, a free-lance writer, worked as a flight attendant for more than 30 years. She can be reached via e-mail at



Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

On my desk here at work I have a small bonsai tree that an associate gave me as a birthday present. I sometimes glance over at it, in the rush of a busy day at work, to check on it's status. Are the leaves still perky and green or do they droop because of lack of water? Is the base of the tree strong and straight, or has it started to lean due to a weak foundation.

A friend of mine who serves in the United States Army shared an interesting anecdote with me a few weeks ago. He was telling me about a former leader who stuck out in his mind as being an exceptional mentor and officer. One story that stuck in my friend's mind was the tradition that this man, who was Japanese, had started. Every morning he would gather the troops and they would all take turns throwing their arms up in the air, doing "the wave," and yelling "Bonsai! Bonsai!" The Japanese adage was that by saying bonsai, you will have 2000 years of good luck.

In pet shipping, one can never assume anything. There is a certain amount of meticulous planning that goes into each pet transport shipment. A good pet shipper knows that you have to constantly tend to the needs of the client -- for their concerns are the most important.

The morale of the pet owner is key in a successful pet shipment. If there seems to be a communication problem, or if a question goes unanswered, this can quickly snowball into an even larger problem. A pet shipper who is organized and concerned with your pet's best interest should be amending these concerns before they even arise -- shoveling snow before it has the chance to build up.
Pet shipping really comes down to leadership -- the pet shipper needs to be able to guide the tentative client through the dark uncertainty and back out into the light. There is no luck involved in this process but an even more important quality: preparation. That preparation includes preparing the client, letting them know what is going on at every stage, and keeping them aware of potential hiccups in the process.
I asked my friend what happened to the "Bonsai" tradition after the Japanese man who started it was transferred to a different company. He said that the new leader had come in and tried to continue it, but the tradition had fallen apart along with the new colonel's lack of leadership. The 2000 years of good luck was not the true gift of the tradition but rather the unparalleled leadership that the original man offered to his followers. PetRelocation.com continues to outrun the pack I customer service, quality, and technology. There is no substitution for leaders who are prepared -- especially when they are prepared to lead.

Relocating Pets: A Spot at the Family Table!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Our very own Rachel Farris has a published article in our industry magazine; MOBILITY talking about how important the family pet is to the entire moving and relocation process!



A Spot at the Family Table: Relocating Pets



MOBILITY Magazine, May 2008

A pet is a member of the family, and should be treated as such during a relocation. Farris gives a comprehensive overview of the factors involved in bringing a beloved animal to a new destination, domestic or foreign.

By Rachel Farris

Most pet owners treat Fido or Fluffy like another member of the family, with birthday parties and stockings full of rawhide hanging on the mantel during the holidays. These pet owners come from the school of thought that a pet is not just a pet, he or she is a beloved member of the family, an integral part of the home, and a loyal best friend.

At some point, relocation counselors likely will be faced with the task of overseeing the move of this trusty companion. It is not always just a matter of handing off the transferee to a pet relocation company that specializes in the international door-to-door transfer of pets. Many times, the relocation counselor is the one responsible for having the initial conversation about the pet move with the transferee. Having a general knowledge of how the process works and answers to common questions will ease concerns about the petגs upcoming move, and can facilitate a smooth transition from the relocation counselor to the pet relocation company.

How Does Pet Relocation Work?

Pet relocation companies boast the ability to serve the entire world. The practice itself is fairly straightforward: pets typically are picked up at the transferees residence, checked in at the departure airport, cleared through customs on arrival, and delivered to their ownerҒs new residence. Pet relocation specialists also usually are responsible for selecting appropriate flight arrangements, carefully reviewing the import and export documents, and counseling the transferee on the intricate details of the pets move.

Some pet relocation services arrange door-to-door moves by opening offices at major hubs or franchising their businesses in various parts of the world. However, a pet is not always traveling to and from the main ports of entryҗsometimes it is necessary to facilitate customs clearances or deliveries in more obscure cities and countries.

Most reputable pet relocation companies are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). The association regulates and monitors the pet transportation industry by setting ethics standards and overseeing the performance of its members. As part of their membership, companies are given access to a network of pet transportation professionals worldwide that have guaranteed reputations for the services they provide.

IPATA is crucial to upholding quality service for pet relocations said current IPATA President Gay O'Brien. If a company wants to ensure its transferees clients are receiving the highest level of care, with careful attention paid to the well-being of the pets, IPATA's listing of member companies is the best place to start.

IPATA is comprised of pet transportation professionals local pet taxis and veterinarians, major corporations, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. Because of IPATA's exacting standards for membership, affiliates are able to safely coordinate the door-to-door service for the most precious of cargo. As a way of bridging the gap often found in a global industry, IPATA also offers an annual conference where the members gather to meet and exchange ideas, attend classes on country import requirements and species-specific handling techniques, and attend forums where representatives from major airlines come to answer questions in a round-table format. International requirements vary from country to country, so working with a quality pet relocation company who is up-to-date on the current import requirements is critical.

These intricacies often can affect the overall cost, and many people tend to underestimate the rates surrounding a complete door-to-door relocation for a pet. The cost of the pet move consists of the ground transportation to and from the airports, the documentation and import fees, and the air freight charges for the pets. When pets travel as cargo, the airlines generally charge for the dimensional weight of the travel crate, which sometimes can mean that the cost of a one-way international flight for a pet traveling overseas costs the same amount as a first-class, round-trip ticket for his or her owner.

Important Questions for Important Family Members

The general transportation procedure may be understood by the transferee, but there often are concerns regarding the care and safety of his or her beloved pet(s), rather than the ғnuts and bolts of the logistics.

At-risk Breeds

Following are breeds of pets that are susceptible to increased risk of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or extreme heat, a condition that puts them at risk for travel because of hereditary respiratory problems.


  • Boston Terrier
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Boxer
  • Dutch Pug
  • Pekinese
  • Brussels Griffin
  • Bull Terrier
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Japanese Chin
  • Japanese Pug


  • Himalayan
  • Persian

Most important is how our clients feel about [their pets moves], said Rick Olson, regional operations manager of Crown Relocations, Los Angeles, CA. It is a foreign process to them loaded with emotion and concern.

These sentiments and anxieties can lead to a multitude of questions for the relocation professional.

Many myths surround pet safety and air travel, which perpetuates anxieties that a transferee inevitably has when they first start contemplating a pet move. Most of the horror stories that circulate about pets flying are a direct result from pet owners attempting to fly their pets without assistance. Anyone who has ever tried to highlight their hair using an at-home kit or build a deck after picking up some two-by-fours at the local hardware store knows that some processes while not impossible to do on one's own often are better left to professionals. It helps to remind the transferee that they will be in experienced handsחfor professional pet relocation companies, their duty is to ensure that every pet arrives safely and without incident.

The risk of extreme temperatures affecting the pets safety is one of the other common concerns among pet ownersҗmany airlines even will embargo pets during the winter and summer months. However, most reputable pet relocation companies work with airlines that have programs in place to keep pets in climate-controlled environments for the duration of the flight. The pet never is exposed to inclement weather, and this allows companies to relocate pets all over the world year-round.

Dogs escaping from or getting hurt while in their crates is an example of why pet relocation companies emphasize to clients that they crate-train their pet before the day of the flight. Some relocation companies even can arrange professional crate-training classes. It is important to contact the pet relocation company as soon as a potential transferee mentions he or she might be relocating a pet, as the more time he or she can spend getting accustomed to his or her new crate, the more relaxed he or she will be on the day of the flight.

There are three different ways a pet can travel on an airplane: with the owner in the passenger cabin, as accompanied (or excess) luggage in the cargo hold, or as manifest cargo (typically without the owner). Most owners initially want to take their pets in the cabin, but unfortunately because of airline restrictions on weight and size limits, as well as various government restrictions for international imports, rarely does a pet qualify to fly in the cabin. However, as long as care is taken in choosing the correct airline, the cargo hold where the pet will travel always is pressurized and climate-controlled. This means a transferees pet will travel in comfort even when apart from its owner.

While direct flights always are ideal, direct routing is not the best way to make a decision as to the airline on which the pet should fly. Pet-friendly airlines such as Continental, Northwest, and KLM created cargo programs designed to care for four-legged travelers.

Tips for Transporting Snub-nosed Breeds

  • Use a larger travel crate than normally is required (four to six inches clearance on all sides).
  • Use a travel crate with ventilation on four sides.
  • Acclimate the pet to the travel crate by working on crate-training the pet before its departure.
  • Provide plenty of water to the animal before, during, and after the flight.

We have spent time and resources developing a service and product that caters to pets, with their best interests in mind, as well as those of their owners, said Digna Faber, international sales managerԗVariation Live (North America) of KLM Cargos Variation Live department, Los Angeles, CA. ғWe only work with specialized agents who make the arrangements that include booking with KLM, coordination of health documentation, and communication to the shipper and consignee, again, in the best interests of the pet and owner alike. No matter if it is for import, export, or transit, all pets go through KLM Cargo's Animal Hotel in Amsterdam, KLM's primary hub. The Animal Hotel offers care and attention by specialized and trained staff, and even on-site veterinary services, if required, 24-7.

Like KLM Cargo, other pet-friendly airlines have kennel facilities at their main hubs, where during the connection the pet can be checked on, fed, and given water. Other airlines are not adequately set up to take care of a pet in the event that there is a delay or emergency.

Despite all of this careful attention, there still are some pets that most pet relocation companies consider to be ԓat-risk when traveling. Older, infirm dogs and cats can travel, as there is no age limit, but it always is best for the transferee to seriously consider the amount of stress an elderly pet can endure. High-anxiety pets also pose a risk for hyperventilation and injury to themselves if they are not properly crate trained and conditioned ahead of time. Snub-nosed dogs, such as pugs and English bulldogs, are at an elevated risk for traveling because of their delicate respiratory systems, which can become impaired under high-stress situations. The length of travel and the pet's individual personality can contribute to the amount of risk. Ultimately, it is left to the pet owners discretion to make an informed decision whether to fly with their pet after consulting with their pet relocation specialist and veterinarian.

It's a Big World After All

For transferees making international moves, the idea of sending their pets to new countries becomes even more daunting and worrisome. At first blush, the variety of import requirements and quarantine restrictions can be overwhelming. Each country has its own set of individual import and export requirements, and it is important that the pet relocation professional have a familiarity with shipping to and from the transferees destination. International relocations for pets, just like their human counterparts, require months of advance planning and careful attention to paperwork details. The most common misconception among pet owners concerns quarantine facilities and their attendant level of care. Countries with unavoidable quarantine periods, such as Singapore and Australia, have created very comfortable, clean areas for pets to stay, not unlike modern boarding facilities found in the United States. Singapore's quarantine facility has visiting hours when owners can take their pets outside to designated pens for exercise. The one caveat with these facilities is that they often fill up months in advance, so it is crucial for a transferee to be connected with the pet relocation specialist early on to secure quarantine booking ahead of time.

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Japan, have mandatory six-month quarantines; however, this usually can be avoided by doing what is known as ғhome quarantine. A pet must receive a series of rabies shots, followed by a blood test, and then wait out the requisite amount of time in the origin country prior to traveling. This also requires ample advance planning and careful attention to the order in which the inoculations must be given.

Certain countries have restrictions on the types of animals that can be imported and exported. For example, many countries have banned American Pit Bull Terriers outright because of their aggressive reputations. Switzerland does not allow animals with docked ears and tails into the country without proof that the owner of the pet is moving to Switzerland, such as a visa or residency permit. In September 2007, Indonesia banned all animals coming from anywhere in the United States (with the exception of Hawaii).

Import and export policies become increasingly thorny when dealing with exotic pets or animals, such as wild birds protected by international trade laws. It is crucial that exotic animals be properly exported, because if the owner ever needs to move his or her pet again, he or she will need to show past documentation demonstrating that the animal was legally brought into the country. All of these delicate matters make up the stepping stones of an international pet relocation and are why it often takes several months to prepare all of the necessary documentation.

Home at Last

After all of the stressors of moving, a transferee is at his or her happiest when the pet safely arrives at the new location. Through careful planning and open communication between the transferee and the pet relocation specialist, a corporate relocation professional does not have to be concerned with the intricacies of a pet move. From Albany to Amsterdam, pet owners around the world will agree that their house is not a home until their best friend is resting beside them.

Rachel Farris is the team leader for Asia-Pacific and equine relocations at PetRelocation.com, Austin, TX. She can be reached at +1-512 264 9800 or e-mail rachel@petrelocation.com.

New India Import Requirements - "No Objection Certificate" for Quarantine Release

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Petrelocation.com - Today we received notification regarding India's new requirement that all pets have a "No Objection Certificate." This is particularly important, as people intending on pet traveling as accompanied luggage will now need to have an agent apply for this certificate before they enter the country. For assistance with moving your pet to India, feel free to contact us.

Please note that all pets entering into India must be issued a NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE from the ANIMAL QUARANTINE STATION in India whether accompanied or manifest, prior to landing into India.

This document takes about 5 working days to obtain. Documents required prior to obtaining this document are:
(to be sent in copy to India)
1. All vaccination records of the pet
2. Government issued veterinary certificate from the exporting country (USDA document with the Annexure I/II in case of USA )
3. Flight details / confirmation of the passenger's travel into India / Copy of the airway bill

The NOC from the Animal Quarantine Station in India must be obtained by your local clearing agent in India. It is required to be obtained in person and cannot be applied for online.

The NOC is sent to the Shipper by fax or a scanned copy by email . The original must be presented to the Airline in India at the port of entry of the pet before the pet has been loaded in the other country.

If the pet is coming accompanied, the owner of the pet must carry the NOC copy with him at all times. If the pet is coming as manifest cargo , the NOC copy must be attached on the crate in a transparent pouch to protect it from damage .

The Indian government has not made a fixed fee schedule for this document available at the present time.

Horse Smuggled onto Filght to Atlanta!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Petrelocation.com - It is amazing to us that people would even try doing this, but to them it all seems like a legitimate way to send their pets with them. Many are unaware of the strict import requirements needed to get horses and other live animals into another country. I would assume the owner learned of the import requirements for this horse, when compared to that of a dog - and decided it was worth their efforts to try and get it imported as a dog. A simple phone call to a pet shipper like us would have solved all their problems!

Horse Smuggled Onto Atlanta Flight In Dog Crate

POSTED: 6:59 am EDT September 26, 2007

ATLANTA -- Someone smuggled a miniature horse onto a plane that landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Tuesday, authorities said. The small show horse was stuck inside a dog crate in the cargo area of the flight from Germany to Atlanta. Customs agents said the horse was on its way to Guatemala. Officials said it appears the passenger who brought the horse onto the plane was trying to make it appear he was bringing a dog. Customs agents said the owner did not have the proper permits, and the carrier the horse was in was too small.

CBS 46 reporter Joanna Massee showed other passengers a picture of the horse in the dog crate. It's inhumane. I mean look at it. Would you like to be cramped up in something like that? I wouldn't,Ӕ said one passenger. That's cruel and unusual punishment for that poor little horse,Ӕ said another traveler.

After getting the horse out of the crate, officials examined it for diseases and fed it hay and water. Officials found the horse to be healthy and made arrangements for the horse to be shipped in a proper container. The Department of Agriculture said it will issue a report of violation against the airline and the horses owner.