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5 Tips for Moving to a New Country with a Pet

Published on: May 4, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

family bathing dogWhen it comes to planning an overseas move, there is no such thing as starting too early. There is more to do and think about than you may realize at first, and the list grows significantly if you are moving to a new country with a pet. You can’t just hand your cat or your golden retriever over to the movers along with your furniture. And you wouldn’t dream of doing that anyway.Moving to a new country with a pet requires a pet-specific plan of action and timeline. A plan will keep you from overlooking important details, and that will give you invaluable peace of mind.

1. First things first: consult a professional

Your first task is to choose an international pet transport company (like Starwood). You want someone you feel confident will take supremely good care of your pet in every regard, so look for an accredited company with an obviously pet-centric attitude. Lots of people can fulfill the functional details of your pet’s itinerary, but fellow pet-lovers will consider your pet’s comfort and safety. Check that they belong to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).

Now that you’ve landed a pet shipper, you have a pet travel partner. They can give you advice and recommendations regarding every aspect of moving to a new country with a pet, including details you would never think of on your own. For that matter, they can handle all the pet details on your behalf, if you like. That’s worth considering, because gathering all the necessary paperwork for your cat or dog can turn into a significant undertaking.

2. On board or in cargo?

As beautiful as he or she undoubtedly is, your golden retriever won’t be welcome in the plane’s cabin with you. (Your fellow passengers might love it, but the airlines don’t allow this unless you have a service dog.) Your golden will need to travel in the cargo section. Have no fear - they'll still experience a similar environment as you - in a pressurized, oxygenated and temperature-controlled space. But your pet won't have to worry about fighting with another passenger to close the window to get the sun out of their eyes.

On the other hand, if you have a petite enough pooch or cat, some airlines will allow them to accompany you on board. Of course it’s not that simple since not all airlines or importing countries will allow this. Once again, your pet travel company has the answers and guidance you need.

3. Research your new home country

How much do you already know about their climate and customs? Local laws regarding dog and/or cat ownership can be very different in London than they are in Singapore. Different again compared to anywhere in the US. You will want to know before you arrive whether (and where) pets are allowed in public, how to license them, etc.

4. Prepare for paperwork

You can sometimes travel overseas with just a passport. What you may not realize is that your pet will need a slew of other paperwork and meet other health requirements in order to enter another country legally. That list of paperwork can range from simply a rabies certificate and health certificate to an import permit, quarantine reservation, other vaccination certificates, blood test results, USDA-endorsed health certificates and other customs forms. You need to be prepared and ensure that all of your pet's paperwork is customs-compliant and accurate.

Where this gets complicated isn’t the amount of paper, it’s knowing which vaccinations, tests and/or treatments your pet will need before they are approved to move. Your destination country makes the rules, and every country is different. The rules can change, too, but changes don’t always filter down to the local embassy or even the country’s website. Thankfully, your pet transport experts know exactly what you will need.

5. Try to stay calm

Planning an international move is stressful, so it’s tough to imagine being calm, cool and collected. Nonetheless, your pet needs you to lead the way here. The more chaotic your home becomes, and the more frenzied you seem to be, the more anxious your pet will become. Cats never approve of change, but even the most resilient dog is going to worry when they see their household belongings being packed away. They may be wondering if they will be left behind. Reassurance is the order of the day – make every effort to spend as much time as you can with your cat or dog during this process and show them that they will be reunited with you in your new home.

You can reassure yourself by remembering that hundreds of thousands of pets and other animals from aquarium fish to zoo specimens and livestock fly safely every year.

Moving to a new country with a pet can seem daunting - but it doesn't have to be. Start planning early, and arm yourself with reliable advice from a pet transport company you trust. Before you know it, you and your dear furry one will be relaxing in your new home.

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.