What To Do and Where To Begin: Frequently Asked Pet Travel Questions

BanditSince moving pets can be pretty complicated and will most likely coincide with a busy, stressful time in life, we're not surprised that we receive a lot of questions from overwhelmed pet owners about the logistics, the details, and the costs of pet travel.

We've been shipping pets for a while now and have pretty much heard it all… Here are a few of the most frequently asked pet travel questions (along with our basic answers). Remember, no one is alone in this!

How do I know what the requirements are for my destination country?

Making sure that a pet's journey runs smoothly begins with research. Many countries have detailed import instructions on their own official Ministry of Agriculture websites: stringent countries like Australia outline almost everything, for example, but other places may not be so forthcoming, so you may need to check another source—like IATA  or the PetRelocation country pages—to find out about health documents, vaccines, and possible quarantines.

You can also visit our Getting Started With Your Pet Move page—here we've compiled lots of country information, quarantine guides, client stories and crate-training tips. 

Which airline should I fly with?

This is perhaps the most important decision you can make related to pet travel. It's key that you choose an airline that has established pet policies and solid safety measures in place to ensure that your pet is properly cared for, not left to sit on the tarmac, and respectfully transported overall. We have a short list of trusted airlines that include KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas and United, but check with us if you have any questions about this.


cats in a crate


How do I know my pet will be safe?

This is probably the  most common question requiring the most nuanced answer. Again, safety primarily depends on selecting trustworthy airlines and transport agents, but you can also do your best to prepare your pet physically by keeping them in good shape and properly hydrated, acclimating them to their travel crates, and setting a good example for them by remaining calm and upbeat in the days before the trip.

Remember that sedatives are not permitted for safety reasons (and most airlines won't even accept a pet who appears to have been sedated). Crate training your dog or cat is a much better way to help your pet feel calm and safe during a trip.

With so many moving parts it's impossible to guarantee a journey 100% free of hiccups, but by following these basic guidelines and consulting with your vet about any questions you have, you're putting your pet in the best position possible.

Why does it cost so much to ship a pet?

We've addressed the question of pet moving costs in greater depth in the past, but essentially it comes down to the details. By the time you add up import permits, health certificates, customs clearance, delivery fees, plane tickets and a few other considerations, it simply isn't going to be a cheap endeavor. Does it end up being worth it, though? Most pet owners would say “of course.”

Should I move my pet at all?

This is a tough one, and for certain people it's a question that must be asked. Relocations often make pet travel practically necessary and trips can be planned safely with the help of a professional, but there is no denying that air travel can be taxing for humans and for animals, and older pets or those in delicate health simply may not be up for it.

Also, many people don't realize how much is involved with air travel and crossing borders in terms of time, stress and money, so if this is just a vacation (rather than a permanent move), it will probably be better to find a trusted pet sitter rather than jump through so many hoops unnecessarily.

Ultimately it is the safety of the pet that's the most important thing to consider, so often a conversation with your vet, your family, and your pet relocation specialist will help you figure this one out.

Still have questions? We're happy to help! Contact us and be sure to check out our Facebook page to connect with other pet travelers who probably have the same questions as you. Happy traveling, everyone!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2012 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Ask the Experts


Cats, Dogs


United States


Add a Comment

By Lavanya Lakshminarayanan on November 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Is it true that Australia is one of the hardest countries to move pets to? Being pet owners, we also hear of horrifying quarantine rules and conditions in places like Singapore. Could you shed some light on the same?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Hi Lavanya! Every year, we move hundreds of pets to both Australia and Singapore. Though the process is very involved, when you hire a professional company like ours, we manage the entire relocation from start-to-finish. Feel free to check out the links above and let us know if we can be of assistance!

By thiago buzone on March 8, 2018 at 6:15 am

Hello, thanks for the reply.I have my BullDog Frances and I will need to move to australia and I can not leave him in Brazil, he has a pedigree and he has a health agreement and he has taken all the vaccines so far, his age is 1 year and 7 months and it is a dog very healthy and practice enough physical activity, and he is castratedI need you to help me transport you to australia, I already lived there before but I did not have a dog.I want to know if it's possible to take him with me and what the costs would be.Thank you very much.

By Christina at PetRelocation on March 8, 2018 at 9:45 am

Hi Thiago! It is possible. In fact, we recently posted a pet travel story about a family that moved with their pets from Brazil to Australia. You can read their story here. It looks like you’ve filled out our Arrange a Move form. A relocation consultant on our Australia team will be in contact with you soon!

By Harriet on February 22, 2018 at 4:03 am

Hi, i would like to knkw the price of moving a cat from brunei darussalam to ningbo china Thanks

By Christina at PetRelocation on February 22, 2018 at 8:43 am

Hi Harriet,

We’d be happy to provide you a quote but need some more information first. Please fill out this form and a pet relocation consultant will contact you. Thanks!

By Shraddhadwivedi on August 26, 2017 at 9:26 am

I m going to USA on tourist visa for vacation I have golden retriever male of six month I want my dog to b travel with me plz call me and need to discuss the procedure n cost.Call me on 7487893907

By bethany@petrelocation.com on August 28, 2017 at 9:37 am


We would be happy to help provide guidance on the process along with costs for our services. However, we do need a little more information from you to best advise.

Please fill out our online consultation form and one of our International Consultants will be happy to speak with you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

By Sarmite on April 4, 2017 at 4:11 am

I cannot coment,because i not get Your real help,only pictures and stories.I send You all info,what i need,no mowement from Your side.I need info,when is possible shipping my dog,how much it will be cost,and can You find dog friendly air company,good flight.

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on April 4, 2017 at 8:33 am

Sorry to hear you're feeling frustrated! One of our Specialists would be happy to discuss your upcoming trip with you -- for fastest service, please give our office a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE. We hope we can help!

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