Shipping Pets Safely: “Why Does it Cost So Much?”

Mushu a small dog that moved from Brazil to MexicoBreaking Down the Costs of Pet Transport Services

Moving a pet isn't cheap, and here at PetRelocation we're often asked why. Isn't it just a matter of booking a flight? Why should it have to cost so much?

Door-to-Door Services

"Door-to-Door" pet relocations contain a surprising number of moving parts. Those unacquainted with the service initially balk at the price tag, but when each individual expense is taken into account, it's clear why a safe and successful pet move can be a little pricey.

Here are a few of the components that make up a typical pet move:

Import Permits - Emigrating to a new country often requires that you obtain formal permission from the government to bring your pet along with you.

Government Endorsements for Health Certificates - In addition to obtaining health certificates from your veterinarian, they must be certified by relevant governing bodies as well, such as the USDA or the correct Consular Offices.

Pick-up and Delivery - Pets are transported in a safe and timely way from your home to the airport and from the arrival airport to the new home on the other end.  Hiring a trusted driver with a climate-controlled vehicle (picture your pet in their very own private car!) is an important part of the process, and time spent in traffic or driving longer distances as well as fuel costs must also be factored in when budgeting for this part of the service.

Your Pet's Plane Ticket - The bulk of the cost associated with moving a pet is the airfare. While you may be able to hop on a discount flight to your destination without worrying about routing or stops, pets have to be carefully routed to ensure they are only flying in and out of airports that have pet-friendly airlines. Any layovers that last more than a few hours must include a comfort stop for the pet, typically at a pet hotel.

These pet hotel fees, combined with the rising cost of fuel and the higher rates airlines charge for live animals due to liability (and the added amount of attention they require from the airline staff), can make what seems like a simple flight booking cost considerably more.

Airport Check-In - It often takes a few hours to get past the check-in counter before departure, which requires specialized assistance to ensure that paperwork is in order and pets are properly looked after.

Customs Clearance - Once pets have landed it's not over yet; entry procedures must also be negotiated and tariffs, taxes and country-specific fees are paid at this time.

Personalized Care  - Your Pet Relocation Coordinator becomes your single point of contact for everything related to your pet's move. Specialists research the flight options, contact the airlines, make the bookings, establish communication with customs offices to make sure they'll be open when needed, secure approval for import when special permissions must be granted, and keep you, the customer, informed throughout the process.

No Regrets

It's natural to want to cut costs where you can or to feel hesitant about spending a substantial sum of money on something you could potentially handle yourself, but pet owners often tell us how happy they are that they chose to hire us. Take a look at what a few of our clients had to say after their pets were delivered safely to them:

"The dogs were treated impeccably through their entire journey. The people they met along the course of their travels was each informed of their past, and the dogs were shown kindness and compassion throughout their entire travels." Read More

"Polo and Luca arrived to Shanghai happy and healthy on schedule! They love their Shanghai home! We all have adjusted well." Read More

"Once we knew we were moving, we searched for someone to help us move Lilly and Ruby. It was going to be stressful enough moving ourselves without worrying about having the right crate, the right paperwork, and organizing their flights." Read More

Like building a deck or planning your wedding, it comes down to pinpointing what you're willing and able to do on your own and then deciding that it might be better to let a specialist handle things more efficiently.

Precious Cargo

Many people do end up choosing the cheapest option (handling the move themselves), but many others decide that their energy would be better spent elsewhere and decide to hire us. After all, moving the furriest member of your family requires far more care and attention than moving your household belongings, so it makes sense to let someone more experienced step in.

It's true that you're not going to find "bargain-basement" prices when it comes to moving a pet. But, while it may not be cheap to engage our services, ultimately you get what you pay for.


Ready to talk about how to ship your pet safely? Contact us for a pet travel consultation.


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team




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