Dog Travel Advice: How to Move Pets to South Africa

Hi PetRelocation,

I have a few questions :)

1. We were toying with the idea of renting a car and driving to NYC where we could catch a direct flight to Johannesburg to avoid multiple flights for the pets, but worry that three days on road trip and THEN a flight may be just as terrifying for them. What do you think? Which is easier on a pets psyche?

2. If we went with you as our movers, would we be on the same flights as our pets? If so, do we get to see them during layovers?

3. Do the dogs get a chance to leave their crates and go outside before and after flights for potty?

4. Do we have to buy crates or can we rent them?

5. Is someone flying with them in the cargo area?

6. what do you do if there is a medical emergency?

7. Do we get to meet the handler? He or she travels with them the entire time correct?

8. Can you walk us though the entire process?

9. I see that you are a door to door service only. How long does this process take?





Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your questions! This is not an unusual amount to have, based on our experience. :)

Here we go:

1. Direct flights can be a good choice sometimes, but we often prefer to lengthen a trip slightly in order to allow plenty of breaks, layovers, etc. to give pets a chance to rest, eat and take walks. In your case, it depends on how well your dogs do in the car. If they love long car rides, it may be fine to plan the trip as you outlined, but in our experience it's much faster and easier overall to book a shorter flight, allow a layover, and then book the flight to your final destination.

2. Our clients rarely fly on the same flight as their pets because it's not necessary and in fact it's often easier to travel separately (especially because we would be taking care of all check-in and customs clearance details as well as transportation to and from the airport). That doesn't mean you can't be on the same flight -- we can talk about it in more detail if/when you contact us to discuss your options.

3. Whenever possible, pets are allowed walking breaks. Typically our agents wait until the last possible minute before putting pets in the travel crate and will take them out again as soon as it's allowed. 

4. You'll need to buy airline-approved travel crates for your dogs. You may be able to find used ones online, but we recommend making sure your crates are in good shape, as this is an important part of carrying out safe air travel. 

5. No, pets are loaded into the cargo area of the plane, which is pressure and temperature controlled, but no humans/staff will be with them. When a plane is carrying pets the pilots are notified, and on pet friendly airlines the pets are last to be loaded and first to be removed. 

6. We advise hiring assistance and choosing a pet friendly airline so that if there is some kind of medical emergency, a trained and competent attendee will be nearby. If you are worried about anything in particular, such as an underlying health issue, we suggest talking over any concerns with your vet. 

7. If you arrange pick-up at your house, you will meet the agent who is taking your pet to the airport. This agent does not travel the whole way; upon arrival, a destination agent will be there to attend to your pets and bring them to your new home (or boarding facility) as the case may be.

8. We provide door-to-door services, which includes overseeing pre-travel vet visits and paperwork, booking the flight on a pet friendly airline, arranging transportation to the airport and check-in, customs clearance upon arrival and delivery to your home. We also track the flight as it's in progress and update you with any relevant information, and if there is something like a weather delay, we will create and follow a contingency plan that keeps your pets safe throughout the journey. 

9. For international moves, we like to start working with our clients at least 30 days before they are planning to depart. For arranging dog travel to South Africa, you're welcome to contact us 1-3 months in advance and we can start putting together an overview of services and a price estimate. 

Hope this helps, Sarah! For a more detailed discussion, you're welcome to contact us. Thanks again for reaching out and we hope to hear from you again soon!


Pet Travel Question Details:

Name: Sarah
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dogs
Pet Breed: 1 German Shepard and 1 Australian Shepard
From: Breckenridge, Colorado
To: Vaalwater, South Africa


PetRelocation Team


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