Moving your pets is no small feat. In this two-part blog series, we will discuss the various things to consider when relocating your animals. In part one of the series, we review U.S. domestic and international recommendations, including working with a pet transportation company.

Anyone who has been in the relocation industry long enough likely has at least one truly astounding story of moving a pet. When I was a relocation counselor, I remember the care and consideration one of our pet partners took for an elderly dog that needed special circumstances to fly to his destination in India from the U.S. They pulled out all the stops for him, and he made it to destination without more than a little doggy jet lag. Both the family and I breathed a sigh of relief when we got the photos of the dog after his flight.

Pets are our family members. No matter how big or small, we take care of them and treat them just like one of ours. I spoke with PetRelocation, one of Aires’ long-time trusted partners, about some general tips for making the pet moving process easier.

Pre-Move Suggestions

PetRelocation suggests that if you are moving from one state to another within the United States (excluding Hawaii), consider the following to make it easier to move into your new place of residence.

  • Microchip (recommended but not required)
  • Current Rabies Vaccine (recommended but not required)
  • Fit to Fly Health Certificate issued within 10 days (one example of this is the APHIS 7001 form)
  • Note: Hawaii has its own set of rules, which can be found here.

Many apartment complexes and temporary housing providers require proof of pet ownership/healthcare (think photos, vet records, proof of vaccination, etc.), so it might be worth exploring these options for efficiency’s sake during your relocation.

U.S. pet moving

COVID-19 has put a damper on flights for most of us (and our pets) in the last calendar year. And while pet relocation was already a delicate logistical process pre-pandemic, there are even more restrictions on pets than before (think those ever-popular “snub-nosed” pugs/French bulldogs, or 100+ pound mastiffs).

Because of this, many individuals are relying on ground transportation for restricted breeds or due to COVID-19 disruptions. Some pets are restricted and cannot fly in an airplane due to size or breed (especially if they are not canine or feline).

PetRelocation recommends this option with research in mind. Ground transportation options range in cost and quality, and it is always best to consult a professional on the best option for you and your pet. Check out The International Pet and Animal Association (IPATA)’s tips for finding a vetted option. Of course, sometimes there is no option but to send your pet on a flight, which is still something that can be achieved. We recommend discussing this with your Aires representative for the most updated information.

International Pet Moving

For those of us traveling overseas, there are detailed guidelines. We recommend that if you are considering international pet transport that you do your research or speak with a fully vetted pet relocation provider. Some things to consider:

  • Each country has different rules and requirements including quarantine for animals. Familiarize yourself with these and make your plan accordingly.
  • Research the veterinary forms that need to be signed well in advance of your move. (Aires’ Marketing Director, Sheila McKell, moved her cat, Henry, from Saint Louis to the UK. Her big takeaway – make sure your vet has the right forms for international moving! It took her three different vets to get the right ones for her cat.)
  • Pet-friendly airlines – do your research to find out which ones have pet programs. According to PetRelocation, “An airline that is ‘pet safe’ signals that employees are specifically trained to handle animals and they follow a last on, first off policy. This means pets are given priority, they are transported in temperature-controlled vehicles, and they are never left to sit on the tarmac.”
  • Determine cargo vs. excess baggage travel and which one is right for you. Some folks panic when they think of their pet traveling in a cargo hold, but in reality, this happens all of the time. Visit this link for a great post on all the myths and facts about cargo vs. excess baggage travel.

Closing Thoughts

Whichever way your pet is traveling to join you in your destination, we wish you all the luck. If you have questions about introducing a pet relocation benefit into your program or want information on shipping your own pet, please reach out to your Aires representative. In our next blog post in this series, we’ll examine the most common method for moving pets when a pet transportation company isn’t used – driving your pet.

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