Dog holding airline ticket

Moving Overseas with a Dog or Cat

For most pet owners, a dog or cat is more than just the family pet…they are a trusted confidant and a best friend. Having your best friend around makes the bad times better and the good times great! This is why so many people who move abroad look to bring their pets with them. Moving overseas with a dog or cat takes some planning and paperwork, but can mean the difference between feeling homesick and adjusting faster to your new life in a new place. Here is what you’ll need to know to prepare for moving overseas with a dog, cat, or other precious pet.

Make sure your pet is healthy and meets all entry requirements for your new country of residence.

The single most important part of shipping pets overseas is having enough time to plan. This timeline will look different depending on which country you’ll be moving to and their regulations for importing pets, but you can never start planning too soon. For example, in Australia, it takes around 6 months to successfully import your pet! This long wait time is largely due to the extensive vet tests, approvals, and quarantines required to ensure your pet is healthy and doesn’t pose a threat to the country you’re entering. You’ll likely be required to have most, if not all of these things in order for your pet to travel internationally and be welcomed into their new home.

  • Proof of rabies vaccination(s)
  • Pet must be microchipped
  • Pet passport (UK and EU requirement)
  • Proof of tapeworm treatments
  • Health certificate from new country of residence or USDA Accredited vet
  • Proof of immunizations such as distemper, leptospirosis, feline viral rhinotracheitis, etc.

To learn more about the requirements of pet import in your new country of residence, you can go to the USDA website and use their interactive pet travel tool which is up to date with country requirements. Be sure you also contact your airline to find out what their pet travel policy is and whether or not they have any different requirements.

Pet friendly paw sign

Look for pet friendly living spaces and communities as part of your research before moving abroad with your pet.

Once you’ve established what you’ll need to complete to bring your pet overseas, it is time to find a pet friendly home to start your new life in! Make sure you ask whether or not a rental is pet friendly and be sure to inform your realtor of your pet’s requirements if you’ll be purchasing a home. Think about what you’ll need to make sure your pet stays happy and healthy in their new life with you. A fenced in yard, access to a nearby dog park, or other pets in the community may play an important role in helping you decide on where to plant your roots! And don’t forget to research the area for a new vet, daycare services, grooming services, and pet supply stores too.

Get your pet used to their new travel carrier

Last but not least, make sure you spend time getting your pet ready to travel in your airlines approved pet carrier. Having your pet get used to their carrier leading up to the flight is one of the best ways to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible for them. You can start to associate their travel carrier with feeding times, treats, or their favorite toys to make it a positive experience for them as well as start to introduce calming pheromones into your pet’s daily routine. Calming sprays can be used in their carrier the day of travel for added comfort. Additionally, placing a blanket that smells like you into the carrier on the day of travel can also help make your pet feel more comfortable. To learn more about general pet travel and for tips on pet comfort you can read more on the CDC website.

Moving overseas with your pet is a lot of work but nearly everyone who has done it has been happy they have their best friend along for the adventure. And while you’re making sure your pet is ready to travel, don’t forget to make sure your travel documents are in order! From needing a birth certificate to a travel visa, you’ll want to make sure you have everything in order and ready to go for your big move.

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