When you’re planning for something as complex and personal as a move with your pets, it’s best to hear from others who have already done it. That’s why we follow up with our clients to share their travel stories! We also just love to see how they’re doing.
Here are some of our favorite tips from clients who have moved with us, either within the U.S. or across the globe.
Domestic Pet Relocation Advice
From Arizona to Georgia—Finley, Charlie & Peaches
“Moving pets is incredibly complicated!! This is the second time we’ve used PetRelocation to move our pets, so we were a little more prepared this time. I honestly don’t know how people do it on their own—there are so many tiny details and forms and requirements, all in the middle of a stressful move. It’s so much harder than moving your furniture or your car or your children.
Transporting a pitbull adds an extra level of complication. Certain airlines won’t fly pitbull breeds at all. Some consider them snub-nosed breeds and won’t fly them during warm weather months, and some will only fly them in reinforced crates.
(Note: if you have a pit bull or a large, strong-jawed, or snub-nosed breed, domestic travel options have changed a bit since this testimonial was published. The good news is we can still help! Check out this recent post on ground transportation or contact us today to discuss your pet’s move.)
All of our animals adjusted within a couple of days. It helped that I shipped a couple of their favorite blankets, beds, and toys in advance, so the new house already seemed familiar. Now they’re all settled in and love their new home. We thought our cat was going to be terrified, but he LOVED his crate so much that we’ve kept it out for him—he naps in it every day!
Be prepared for the expense and the complication. It’s worth it. Remember, you aren’t an expert, so be prepared to hire someone else to take care of the details for you. It will make things so much easier for you!
In terms of the actual move, make sure your dogs are used to your crates in advance. If they’re at all nervous, put one of your favorite t-shirts (wear it for a couple of nights in advance–make it good and stinky!) in the crate with them. You don’t want to drug them, but there are some good calming treats with the same ingredients as Thanksgiving turkey that will help them relax. The best thing you can do for them is to be calm. Your energy will calm them down.”
From North Carolina to Hawaii—Penny’s Move
“I am employed as a physician assistant full-time but wanted to spend a year traveling as much as possible. I took a position with a travel company that would allow me to relocate anywhere between every six weeks to every six months. When they offered me the Big Island of Hawaii as my first assignment, I really couldn’t turn it down.
I think what surprised me the most about the entire process was how common it was. Until I relocated my own pet, I was operating under the misconception that it was a pretty frowned-upon thing to do from a pet safety standpoint. It wasn’t until I started really researching the process and looking into my options that I realized how frequently it’s done.
Meeting the requirements to bypass the 120-day quarantine (note: Hawaii has since lowered its quarantine duration to 30 days) was probably the biggest challenge I had, but that is probably where I found PetRelocation to be the most helpful and most worth the investment.
My best advice is to find out ahead of time as much about the place you’re moving to and your method of getting there as you possibly can. I read up on Hawaii Department of Agriculture guidelines, individual airline’s pet safety records, and pet travel safety tips for about a month before I finally hired PetRelocation and it made the entire process so much easier.
Talk to anyone you know who might have done it before and see what their experiences were. Do your research. Gather your pet’s health and immunization records. Make sure you have enough meds/heartworm prevention/flea & tick prevention and whatever other supplies you’ll need to last you for 1-2 months after you arrive so you don’t have to scramble to get established with a new vet, and then let PetRelocation do the rest.
From California to Minnesota—Larry
“Larry has relocated with us several times internationally. This was our first domestic move, our first time using PetRelocation, and by far the best one compared to other companies we used. The updates were great and it made us really trust the process.
Larry was a pro, he did not have any problems and was very calm when he left our house in CA and of course, was very happy when he saw us at the end of the day here in Minnesota!
My advice is to ask as many questions as you have, to get yourself familiarized with the service…and then trust the team. They will provide you all sorts of updates the week before, then on the pick-up date and throughout the transportation. If you want more updates, just ask (which is what we did). Every person we interacted with was an animal lover which made us feel at ease.”
International Pet Relocation Advice
From the U.S. to Qatar—Midas
“The two pieces of advice that I would give to other pet parents who are thinking of relocating are: Start preparing your pet for the long journey early and put your full trust in PetRelocation.
Preparing your pet for the journey is important, especially if you have a particularly sensitive companion. I chose to start getting Midas accustomed to his travel crate one month prior to his departure and I think that benefited him greatly during his trip.
I also made sure to start introducing him to travel conditions, such as providing ice water, training him to eat out of his travel bowls in the crate, and practicing keeping him in the crate for longer periods of time to resemble his flight duration.
My other piece of advice is to full-heartedly trust PetRelocation. I have witnessed through my experience that they truly care for your pets. They handled Midas’ move with diligence and exceptional attention to detail.
Brazil to Australia—Pierre
“In October of last year, I made the decision to go back to Australia to take up an exciting job opportunity. I realized that Australia categorizes some countries as non-approved for importing pets from, and we were living right in one of them. In order to bring Pierre here, he would have to go through an approved country, a process that would take at least six months.
To add to this already complex and discouraging scenario, Frenchies are snub-nosed dogs, which means they are banned from most operating airlines due to an extra risk they face when flying at high altitudes.
My advice is to research and plan in advance. There are so many things to look at before you relocate your pet. Check the regulations of your destination country: if they take your pet breed, if they take pets from your country, what they require in terms of paperwork, vaccines, tests, and quarantine period. Think of the wellbeing of your pet. Is your pet fit enough to travel and go through all the requirements?
I also strongly recommend seeking assistance from someone with vast experience in relocation, especially on a complex move. It can sometimes be a long and challenging process, so it's best to go with someone who has experience with similar moves and will be there all the time to assist and comfort you during the process.
Chicago to Malaysia—Tipper’s Move
“I admit I was very worried about how Tipper would handle the move, especially since he had never been crated or traveled a long distance by air. Two months prior to the move, PetRelocation advised me after purchasing of the crate to begin acclimating Tipper to being in a crate environment, which I did.
International pet travel is complicated and it certainly is an involved process, beginning with prepping your pet(s), ensuring all medical needs/vaccinations are met by governing authorities, coordinating with pet handlers from port to port as well as during a layover, and ensuring the pet's wellbeing during quarantine.
Plan ahead! Develop a checklist and get all your questions answered. Allow enough time to prep your pet, ensure that medical needs/vaccination requirements are met, and allow some flexibility in your flight schedule if possible. Be prepared to accommodate changes if the need arises.”
California to Ireland—Joe Dirt & Milo
“We had never moved a pet internationally before and we were really worried about how our gentle, sensitive kitties Milo and Joe Dirt would handle the move. We didn't quite realize how stressed we would be in the final weeks before our move. We thought we'd have everything under control.
Then every little thing you need to do becomes five more little things and before you know it, you're totally overwhelmed. It was just so great to be able to rely on PetRelocation's expertise during this time.
We were really surprised at how unscathed our kitties were by the ordeal of moving, being confined to a crate, being in a loud plane, etc. We thought they would be more traumatized upon their arrival. But instead they were ready to eat and drink and be loved by us. That night when they curled up with us and purred was the best night ever. We could tell they were so happy to be with us and just wanted love.”
You can check out more Pet Relocation stories here and filter by destination location and pet type to find furry families similar to your own!
This blog post was originally published on July 27th, 2019.