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Moving Abroad With Pets

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by

18th Sep 2017 (Last updated on 9th Jun 2023) 6 minute read

Moving abroad requires a lot of planning, especially if you’re moving house with pets. They are an integral part of any family so it’s vital they are comfortable during the journey. You need to ensure you give yourself enough time to plan the move carefully, completing all the necessary steps.

In this article, we go through everything you need to know before moving abroad with your pets. From the costs included to the most essential documents, we go through all the vital steps to take to ensure a smoother international house move.

  1. How Much Does it Cost to Move Your Pets Abroad?
  2. Moving Pets to Europe
  3. Moving Pets to Non-EU Countries
  4. What Documents Do You Need?
  5. Animal Health Certificate
  6. Pet Travel Insurance
  7. Talk to Your Vet Before Moving Abroad
  8. Working With Pet Transportation Services
  9. How big will the crate be?

How Much Does it Cost to Move Your Pets Abroad?

The overall cost of moving your pet abroad will depend on a variety of factors such as the size of the animal and where you’ll be departing and arriving.

Using data from Move Hub, we’ve created a table listing the average shipping costs when moving your pets abroad:

PetEstimated Shipping Cost to the USAEstimate Shipping Cost to Australia
Cat£755£1,500
Small dog£900£1,900
Large dog£1,500£3,000

There are other fees that you need to consider, such as the IATA-approved crate that you use. You will also need to pay for the health checks, import permits and any extra health checks such as blood tests.

If your pet isn’t already microchipped, this will be another additional cost. You may also need to pay for one night's boarding depending on the airline, the time of the flight and any delays.

Some of these additional medical costs will include:

EssentialsEstimated Cost in the UK
Micro Chipping£20 - £35
Rabies Vaccination£15 - £40
Blood Test£100 - £130
Health Check£20 - £30

Moving Pets to Europe

If you’re moving to the EU with pets, you’ll need a valid Export Health Certificate, microchip and a valid rabies vaccination. You’ll also be required to complete an Export Application Form and ensure your pet is up-to-date with its other vaccinations. You will need an authorised vet to certify your certificate.

If you’re moving to Norway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland or Malta, your pet will also need tapeworm treatment.

Individual countries may demand other documentation so be sure to look into the specifics of the European country you’re moving to. Our guide on taking a dog to Spain provides a great outline of what you can typically expect. You also cannot take more than 5 pets into an EU country unless it’s for a competition or sporting event.

Moving Pets to Non-EU Countries

Moving your pets to non-EU countries can be complicated as are additional rules and requirements.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have very strict rules and requirements. They may ask for blood samples to be taken or for further health checks on top of the standard requirements for microchipping and rabies jabs.

Some of the additional requirements include:

  • Your pet must be over 9 months old (New Zealand only)
  • No banned breed (Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, Perro de Presa Canario, or American pit bull terrier)
  • The pet cannot be pregnant or less than 42 days pregnant (New Zealand) or less than 30 days pregnant (Australia)

The United States of America

If you are moving to the USA from the UK then you’ll be glad to know that the US government classifies the United Kingdom as being free of rabies. The rules for importing pets are governed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Dogs must be over 6 months old and will need a rabies jab 30 days before travelling. If they have not had the vaccination, then you may be required to sign an agreement that states you will keep your pet confined for at least 30 days after the vaccination.

The United Arab Emirates

Your pet can travel with you to the UAE if they have a Rabies Vaccination and Certificate, a Rabies Antibody Titer Test, a microchip and are up to date with their additional vaccinations.

You will also need to show a residency visa or a letter of employment to get an import permit from the ministry of agriculture in the UAE. An International Health Certificate is also required, this must be issued within 10 days of departure.

It’s advised that you allow several weeks for this as it can take a considerable amount of time. This is due to a number of contributing factors including how many pets you will be taking and their size.

What Documents Do You Need?

To cross EU borders, you must obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). This certificate has recently replaced the use of pet passports. It confirms the animal has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

If you have a pet passport that you obtained in the EU or in Northern Ireland, it can still be used. However, they only apply to cats, dogs and ferrets.

You will also need proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination, proof of other vaccinations and a letter from your vet stating they are fit to travel. It’s vital you check with your chosen airline before travelling to ensure everything is prepared, reducing the risk of delays.

Animal Health Certificate

Animal Health Certificates (AHC) are only valid for cats, dogs and ferrets. They confirm various health checks have been completed, including:

  • Your pet being microchipped
  • A rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment for dogs

You must contact your vet 10 days before travelling. However, not every vet is authorised to provide these certificates, so allow yourself additional time to check.

Your pet will need to be microchipped and you’ll need to provide a record of the animal’s vaccination history.

Once the certificate has been issued, it will be valid for entry into the EU for 10 days. You will also be able to travel within the EU or return to the UK for 4 months.

Pet Travel Insurance

It’s wise to take out pet travel insurance to cover the move and any potential expenses. If your pet already has health insurance, it may already be covered for travel. However, you should check in advance and add travel cover if it’s not already included.

Pet health insurance typically covers illnesses, injuries, diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays and some medications. However, it’s essential to check with your insurer before travelling.

Talk to Your Vet Before Moving Abroad

Different breeds of animals have different health concerns, potentially making travelling more difficult.

If your pet is fairly old or prone to travel sickness, it will greatly affect their journey. High stress or anxiety in pets can cause hyperventilation and even injury to themselves. You may be provided with anti-anxiety medication to help them feel more comfortable.

Some breeds of cats and dogs are also more at risk of complications. Whether it’s due to breathing issues or more complicated problems, it’s vital you’re well-informed before you move. Some of these breeds include:

  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Brussels Griffins
  • Bull Terriers
  • English Bulldogs
  • English Toy Spaniels
  • French Bulldogs
  • Japanese Chins
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Pekineses
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Himalayan cats
  • Persian cats

When visiting your vet, you will need to go through your pet’s medical and vaccination history to ensure they're prepped for the journey. You should also arrange their prescriptions to get the medication before travelling.

Working With Pet Transportation Services

When you compare international removal companies, you may find a company that provides pet relocation services. Some removal companies even offer door-to-door pet shipping services.

When choosing this service, you will speak to an expert and have your pet’s removal properly discussed to find the best solution. Your pet will need to arrive no more than 5 days before or after you.

A professional pet relocation company will usually offer a pet protection plan as well as advice on export health certificates. Some companies will even accompany your pet through costumes and complete the necessary paperwork.

Read online reviews and always make sure they are USDA certified as it means their staff have undergone background checks and drug tests.

How big will the crate be?

Use the below diagram to get an idea of the acceptable measurements:

A - Length from nose to root of tail

B - Height from ground to elbow

C- Width across shoulders

D - Height when standing (top of head or tip of ears)

Most airlines will require:

  • Crate length must be equal to A plus half of B.
  • Crate width must equal to C x 2
  • Crate height must be equal to D.

Some International flights may require:

  • Crate length equal to A + B
  • Crate width equal to C +1” x 2
  • Crate height equal to D + 3"
Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

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