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FAQs for Moving Your Pet Overseas

Published on: March 12, 2019  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

 cat sleeping next to carrierMoving your family overseas can seem daunting enough, but what do you when your family includes pets? If this will be your first experience shipping a pet internationally, we know you have loads of questions. And if your pet has flown previously, you probably have questions now you never thought to ask the first time around.

Novice or veteran, you’ll find comprehensive, helpful, reassuring answers in our free Insider’s Guide to Relocating Your Pet. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we get from pet parents:

Is pet travel safe?

Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats (and other pets and virtually every other type of animal you can think of) travel by air every year. Although mishaps do occur, the risk is extremely small. As a doting pet parent, you can feel confident your beloved cat or dog will journey safely, as long as you prepare properly. Enlisting the help of a professional pet transport company can increase your confidence and reduce the stress of pet relocation.

Can snub-nosed pets travel?

Breathing is naturally more difficult for brachycephalic dogs and cats (with short or flat snouts). Anxiety associated with air travel can exacerbate respiratory problems, so you should speak with your vet about your pet’s upcoming travel plans. In most cases, it is quite safe for snub-nosed pets to fly.

To increase comfort and safety, many airlines have revised their rules regarding which breeds of dogs and cats can ride in-cabin versus in cargo. It can be very difficult to keep up with these changes, but they may directly affect your pet’s move. This is one reason it pays to work with a professional company that knows the latest information.

Can my small pet just ride with me in the cabin?

Cats and tiny dogs are allowed to travel in-cabin (under the seat in front of you) on some airlines and some routes. This is less likely on overseas flights than if you were flying domestically within the US. The only way to know for sure is to consult your airline.

Should I sedate my pet?

You love your pet, so you want their travel experience to go as smoothly as possible. For that reason, you should NOT sedate them for air travel. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) notes that sedating pets eliminates their ability to maintain balance, alters their mental state, and can negatively affect respiratory and cardiovascular systems. According to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, over-sedation is responsible for more than half of animal deaths during air transport.

Instead of sedation, the AVMA (and our team here at Starwood) recommend preparing your pet for travel in other ways. Helping your dog or cat become familiar with their travel crate ahead of time is the single-most reassuring thing you can do to improve their physical and emotional comfort during their move.

What is the right size kennel for my pet?

You’ve probably heard or read that your pet will require an "airline-approved" travel crate in order to fly. These carriers are specifically designed and constructed to provide maximum safety and comfort in transit, based on standards set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Travel crates are far sturdier than at-home kennels and carriers.

For proper protection, your pet’s crate must be the correct size – big enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If your pet is a dog, you will have to measure them to ensure you get the proper size crate. You cannot guess or estimate because pet transport companies and airlines will not accept animals in the wrong size carrier.

Is quarantine required?

Every country sets their own rules for importing pets. With proper health documentation, your pet likely won’t have to spend time in quarantine. However, it’s important to note than some countries, especially those that are rabies-free, do require a short stay even for pets coming from the United States. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, for example, as well as the US state of Hawaii.

Do I need to hire somebody, or can I do it myself?

It is possible to manage your pet’s overseas travel all by yourself. Provided you aren’t headed to a country that requires you to use a commercial pet transport company. However, it can be extremely frustrating to find complete, accurate information regarding requirements to import dogs and cats to some countries. And, even with all the information at hand, the process is time-consuming. It can take months of time-sensitive planning, blood testing and treatments.

Most pet parents find it far less stressful to let a professional do the "heavy lifting" part of their dog or cat’s move, especially when they’re in the midst of getting the rest of their family ready to move, too.

How much will it cost to move my pet?

Here at Starwood Animal Transport, we’re pet parents, too. We know your cat or dog (or other pet, for that matter) is a priceless and treasured member of your family. But we know you also need a number for your international move budget. We don’t publish a price list, because every pet’s relocation is custom-tailored just for them.

Total cost also depends on whether you choose to let our Starwood team handle all the details, door to door, or just some of the key elements such as flight arrangements. We’re happy to provide a detailed quote online.

More questions? Ask Away!

As we noted at the beginning, we recommend that you download our “Insider’s Guide to Relocating Your Pet.” But we’re always available to answer your questions, too. Please don’t hesitate, because every question or concern, no matter how “insignificant” it may seem to you, is very important. Our goal is to make your pet’s journey as safe, comfortable, and efficient as possible while giving you the greatest peace of mind possible.

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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.