Moving Tips

Moving overseas with your pets

If you’re moving overseas, it’s natural to want to take your pets with you. Use our guide to make the process as easy as possible.

We Brits are a nation of animal lovers, but taking our pets with us overseas can be a challenge, but it is something you’ll want to do. International removals are enough of a wrench without having to leave your pets behind, so how can it be done?

Moving to the EU
Taking your pets to the EU is by far the most straightforward option, although this might change depending on how the Brexit negotiations pan out. At present, you can take you pet if you have a pet passport – and these are standardised across the continent. For that you will need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before you leave. Next, take your pet to the vet and get a ‘fit to fly’ certificate. Most airlines are becoming much better at taking pets as additional baggage. They will be well looked after in the livestock hold, while some specialist companies are appearing specialising in helping you transfer your pet from country to country.

Outside of the EU
Once you get outside of the EU things can get a little more complicated. In the US, requirements vary from state to state and are mainly focused on preventing the spread of rabies. As the UK is free of rabies this shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll need a microchip and passport, and although you don’t necessarily need a rabies vaccination it can be helpful. Other countries such as the UAE are a little stricter. You’ll probably be required to provide a copy of your residency VISA or a letter of employment before you can apply for an import permit, which can take anything up to a few weeks. As with the EU, you will need to have your pet microchipped, with a pet passport and vaccination. Dogs will also have to have a blood test for Ehrlichia and an ear smear test for Babesia.

In short, regulations outside the EU can be much more complicated and will vary from place to place. Some, for example, may place restrictions on travel due to the weather at a certain time. If it’s particularly hot or cold, you may not be able to take your pets over. Regulations are often changing so it can be difficult to stay up to date, which is where pet travel companies come in. They take on all the documentation relating to your pet’s transit. Not only is it’s easier but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing nothing has been left out.

Making life comfortable
Aside from the official regulations it pays to ensure your pets have as comfortable a time of it as possible. They are living creatures and even though travelling by air has become much easier for animals, they will still find the experience stressful.

They should be travelling in approved air containers which ensure they have enough space to stand, sit and walk around. Even so, the newness of the experience can be very challenging for them. Giving them something familiar to see and touch will be very helpful such as a blanket or some toys. The same applies to your arrival. You will have to do everything in your power to make the transition as familiar and as comfortable as possible. And remember – pets can react in different ways, so be there for them and be supportive. Knowing you’re with them is the best way to make them feel safe and comfortable.


For more information or help moving your four legged friends please visit our dedicated pet relocation website or contact us for more advice.

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