How to Relocate with the Family’s Dog or Cat

DANBERRY, Conn., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ — For workers given assignments abroad, relocating family and possessions can be a daunting process. Moving the family pet, a process regulated by complex and differing rules in each country, can further complicate the ordeal. For organizations that move employees across countries and territories, providing information on relocating a beloved furry member of an employee’s family can help minimize worries and problems. Cendant Mobility, a leading provider of international and domestic relocation services, has compiled a useful checklist for employees which, will help ease the stress of relocating the family dog or cat.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

  • Find out about the rules and regulations for vaccinations and/or quarantining in the new area. It is important to confirm any laws that govern what may be kept as pets and any licensing requirements.
  • Understand the rules and regulations of the new country, weigh the pros and cons before making the decision about whether to bring your pet or leave it with a family member.
  • Consider how either choice will affect the family members, as well as the pet. One must consider the age and health of the pet, the psychological effects if placed in quarantine for several weeks or months, and the possibility of trauma when traveling. Listed below are the lengths of time that a pet will be quarantined in certain areas:
    • U.K. – 183 days
    • Hawaii – 30 days
    • Australia – 30 days
    • Guam – 120 days
    • Hong Kong – 30 days
    • Iceland – 56 days
    • Ireland – 30 days
    • Japan – 14 days
    • Malta – 183 days
    • New Zealand – 30 days
    • Norway – 120 days
    • Singapore – 30 days
    • Sweden – 120 days
  • When deciding what to do, it is also important to keep in mind the costs of transportation, vaccinations, and, if required, quarantining your pet. Make a list of the relevant items and approximately how much each will cost.
  • Get a list of recommended veterinarians, groomers (if required), and boarding kennels in the new location. Make a list of questions to reference when interviewing these people. Make sure that the individual can speak your native language.
  • Once the list has been narrowed down, visit the offices, shops, and kennels during the preview trip and ask to see where your pet would be treated, groomed, or boarded.

Preparing for Departure

  • Schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian 30 days before the trip to make sure that your pet has all the required vaccinations, identification and completed paperwork.
  • Do not make any unnecessary changes to the pet’s schedule or diet.
  • Acclimate the pet to the traveling crate approximately one month prior to departure. Place an old blanket or pillow and a soft toy for the pet to call its own. Do not replace the blanket and/or toy when it is time to leave. It is important to surround the pet with familiar things during the trip.
  • Fax/mail a copy of the pet’s health records to the new veterinarian, securely attach one copy to the outside of the crate, and keep one copy for your own records.
  • If possible, use a certified pet carrier service to relocate your pet to ensure that the pet’s travel (especially international) will go smoothly. These companies are also the best sources for answers to your pet-transport questions.
  • When planning the trip, avoid traveling during holidays or weekends and making stopovers. Many airlines have blackout times (especially during the summer months) when pets cannot travel. Make sure to ask when those times are and whether your pet might be bumped from a flight for any reason.
  • If traveling on a commercial airline, make sure that the flight is either nonstop or direct (no change of planes) and that you or an adult member of your family will be on the same flight. Reconfirm your flights 24 to 48 hours before departure to be sure that the pet can be transported on the flight, as scheduled.
  • Make sure that the pet’s crate is approved by the airline and that the door latches securely so that the pet cannot escape.
  • Make sure that the pet is wearing a collar with identification that includes the pet’s name, both your old and new location and telephone numbers, and a contact name. Do not use a choker collar; use a cotton, nylon, or leather collar that can be removed easily, if necessary.

Packing Up

  • During the pre-move, restrain your pet by placing it in its crate and in a room that is out of the way of the movers.
  • Take time every day during the pre-move period to play with or pay attention to the pet. Everyone is so busy during this time, focusing on other things, that the pet can get forgotten in all the confusion.
  • Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records with your other important paperwork so that they are readily available whenever necessary. Do not pack these papers with your furniture.
  • Include in the luggage that accompanies you on your trip enough pet food and treats for several days. It may be several days before you can purchase more pet food.
  • Put together a carry-on bag for your pet, consisting of fresh food, treats, water, two bowls, and a leash. Important documents and the veterinarian’s name and phone number should also be included in the bag. Photos of your pet (both front and side views) are recommended, as well, for identification purposes.

Actual Travel Day

  • To avoid your pet becoming ill, feed it at least four to six hours prior to departure.
  • Make sure to give water to your pet prior to departure; do not leave an unsecured bowl in the crate, because the water may spill onto the pet.
  • Should your flight be longer than 8 hours consult with the airline about having a live animal on board the plane
  • Do not use tranquilizers. Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which will make it harder for the pet to cope with the altitude changes.
  • Pad the bottom of the crate with plenty of newspapers, in case the pet has an “”accident.””
  • Place dry food and treats in a re-sealable bag and securely tape it to the outside of the crate, in case the plane is delayed and your pet needs to be fed.
  • Make sure to put your pet’s name, age, and sex on the crate, as well as the names and phone numbers for the veterinarians in both the new and old locations. In addition, include your name, address, and telephone number (or those of someone who can be reached at all times). A picture of your pet with family members is helpful, so that airline personnel will know that this is a much-loved family pet.
  • Before leaving on your trip, spend time with your pet prior to putting it into the crate, so that it feels assured that everything will be okay — but do not overdo it, or the pet will feel something is “”wrong.””
  • For the long trip ahead, make sure that your pet has had plenty of occasions to relieve itself before going into the crate.


  • Once your pet is in the new location, the very first thing to do is to make sure that it gets food and water. Place the bowls several feet from each other, so that the pet doesn’t gulp down the water too fast.
  • At first, give your pet small amounts of food. This will prevent it from becoming ill after all the excitement of being reunited.
  • Once you are in the new location, keep your pet in its crate, in a quiet place of the home, during the unpacking.
  • If your pet doesn’t need to be quarantined, board it for a day or two until you are settled in. Once your pet is home, spend time with it. It is important that the pet feels comfortable with the new home before giving it the freedom to roam the house or walk off the leash.
  • Purchase pet food as soon as possible. If the new pet food is not the same as the previous one, gradually give it the new food. This will help your pet get used to the new product and prevent any digestive problems.
  • Your pet may want to urinate in the new home to mark its “”territory.”” Keep a watchful eye on the pet for several days to prevent this from happening.

Did You Know?

  • Certain dog breeds are not allowed in some countries. Prior to relocating, make sure that this is not going to be an issue for you. For example, Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, and Fila Brazilieros are prohibited from being transported into Great Britain.
  • When transporting your pet, do not leave it alone in a car for long periods of time. Always have a bowl of cool water in the car, in case the animal gets thirsty.
  • Animals do not suffer from extreme temperatures while in flight but will suffer if the crate is left on extremely hot or freezing tarmac. Notify airline personnel that your pet is in the cargo area, and ask them to be sure to check on it periodically.

ce Diet® brand pet foods, sold through veterinarians and finer pet food stores, and Prescription Diet® brand pet foods, therapeutic foods available only through veterinarians. Founded more than 50 years ago by one veterinarian’s unique commitment to pet nutrition and well being, Hill’s® follows its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets by producing the most scientifically advanced, highest quality pet foods available.


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