Essential Guide to a Smooth Pet Relocation

Pet Relocation - Title ImageA pet isn’t just for Christmas, a pet is for life and this includes if you decide to move abroad. Whether you have a cat, dog, hamster or budgie, pets are part of the family and so if you decide to relocate you can’t leave them behind.

It may be added stress arranging the relocation of your pet on top of everything else you have to think about, but it’ll be worth it when you’re reunited with them in your new home. Plus, our guide to smooth pet relocation is here to help.

Prepare in advance

The key to making your pet’s relocation easy and successful is planning well in advance. There are lots of hoops to jump through when it comes to the relocation process so the earlier you start the easier it’ll be and the less likely it is that you’ll have one of those last-minute panics.

It’s important that you allow room for errors and delays especially when it comes to getting your import license approved and the vaccinations verified.

Get your pet a passport

Before your pet can travel you will need to get them a pet passport under the Pet Travel Scheme. Unfortunately, this scheme doesn’t cover all species of pet. Currently, the legislation only applies to dogs, cats and ferrets as they are the most transported animals. Other pets may still be able to travel abroad but will have to be quarantined for a period of time once arriving.

To obtain your pet’s passport head to your regular vets and they will be able to guide you through the process. They’ll schedule your appointments appropriately and answer any queries you have along the way.

Pet passports can be issued within 24 hours Monday to Friday. However, after your pet has received their rabies vaccination, you must wait 21 days to travel. We suggest starting this process well in advance of your travel date so that there isn’t any risk of not getting it in time.

Ensure your pet is microchipped

If your pet isn’t already microchipped, you will need to add this to the list of things to do. Almost all dogs and cats will need a microchip for official identification during relocation. Not only this but it also means your pet can easily be found and identified should they get lost.

This can be done at your veterinary clinic and can often be done at the same time as your pet’s rabies vaccination.

Check vaccinations and tests

Pet owners are advised to inform their vets about the travel as soon as possible. Sometimes it can take a few appointments to ensure that all the paperwork and vaccinations are complete.

It’s vital that as soon as you know where you’re moving to you research the vaccination requirements for your new country. This is one of the core requirements when importing pets to other countries so you must identify these and then ensure that your pet is up to date with all the necessary vaccinations.

The rabies vaccination is almost always required but you can check what else is needed on the country’s official embassy website. Your vet may also be able to advise you on immunisations, test and certificates you might need.

Buy the correct pet carrier

You must purchase an IATA approved crate/carrier for your pet to travel in. The crate should be big enough for your pet to easily sit stand and turn around in. It also needs to be secure enough so that it doesn’t slip around when in a vehicle or on the plane.

In addition to this, you need to make sure that the crate is comfortable for your pet.

Top tips:

  • line the crate with absorbent bedding
  • freeze a small bowl of water which will melt for when your pet gets thirsty but won’t spill during loading time.
  • close the crate but never lock it in case of emergencies
  • always attach your pet’s identification to the crate

Have a practise run

If this is the first time your pet has ever travelled or been on a long journey/plane before then it’s going to be pretty terrifying for them.

Rehearsing the process with your pet can help them feel more at ease when it comes to the big day. Take them on short drives in the crate so that they can get used to it and it isn’t unfamiliar to them when it’s time to travel. If they are travelling by plane, you might want to visit the airline terminal or station beforehand to get them familiar with the smells and sounds. Make sure you reward them for their good behaviour so that they are reassured.

If your pet is going to have to travel by any other mode of transport it might be an idea to get them used to that too i.e. boats, trains and buses.

Collate all documents

If your pet doesn’t have all the necessary documents, they will be refused entry to the country just like you would if you didn’t have your passport with you.

Make sure that you collate all the essential documents that your pet needs to travel with such as the pet passport, official health certificate, test reports and vaccination cards.

The key here is preparation and if you have sufficiently prepped well in advance your pet relocation should go smoothly and everyone involved should remain calm.