July 8, 2022

Pet Relocation Guide 2022

Help! I’m moving overseas and I need to move my pet. 

Are you moving overseas? Congratulations! Have you told your pet? 

An overseas move can be a thrilling adventure, but worrying about how your pet will adapt to the experience can add unnecessary stress. 

You may be wondering…

  • Will my pet be safe while the movers are at my home? 
  • What type of flight itinerary can my pet take? 
  • Will my pet have to be quarantined?

At Sterling Lexicon, we know that your pets are part of your family – and that moving your pet overseas can be scary. To help you and your pet prepare, we have answered some common questions about pet relocation. 

What should I do with my pet while I am packing?

On packing and moving days, your moving crews will need to move freely through your house – laying protective floor covering, carrying packing materials and eventually moving furniture and boxes out of your home. Crate or close your pet in a clearly-marked area that your movers won’t need to access. 

Better yet, take your pet to a friend’s house or kennel. You will have enough to think about without worrying about your pet slipping outside unnoticed. 

Can you travel with pets internationally?

Depending on your flight itinerary, cats and very small dogs (typically up to 4-6 kilos) can often fly in the cabin of the aeroplane with you.** 

Just be aware that your dog or cat may whine or meow due to the unfamiliar noise of the aircraft. Don’t be tempted to open your pet’s carrier just a tiny bit to pet or comfort it. Cats can quickly and easily push their heads through a very small opening and look for an escape. 

**To fly with your pet in the aeroplane cabin, ask your airline about required fees, pet-crating and paperwork. 

If your pet is larger than 4-6 kilos, they will need to fly in the cargo area of the plane as either excess baggage or cargo. This area of the plane is heated, ventilated, and pressurised for safe animal handling. 

My dog is too big to take in the cabin with me. Is she excess baggage or cargo?

Excess baggage

If you will be travelling on the same flight as your pet, you can check your pet in at the regular check-in counter as ‘excess baggage’. Pets travelling as excess baggage must have a pre-arranged ticket with your airline. 

You will need to pay special fees, arrange for all necessary health checks and paperwork, and have airline-approved crating. Your airline may refuse to fly your pet if you do not accurately meet their requirements so be sure to work with them directly!

Manifest cargo

If you will not be on the same itinerary, your pet will fly as ‘manifest cargo’ in the same heated, ventilated, and pressurised area of the plane designed for animals. 

Cargo animals are usually checked in by a professional pet relocation provider. These pet relocation providers also handle airline ticketing, providing approved-crating, filling in required paperwork, and getting health checks for your pet. 

Chilling in the lounge

If your pet is flying as cargo and their itinerary includes a change of planes, they may be able to hang out in the lounge for a few hours. 

They won’t be eating tiny pretzels and watching CNN, but they will get to relax in a rest area specially set up for pets. For example, pets held in transit at Frankfurt Airport for more than 3 hours have access to the ‘Animal Lounge’ where they will be professionally cared for. They will have the opportunity to stretch their legs, take a bathroom break and even eat and have medicines if needed. 

A fun note to pet owners – some airport animal lounges serve all types of animals in transit, including zoo animals. So your little friend will be in great company and well cared-for whilst enroute. 

Popular airports with animal transit lounges:

  • Schiphol Airport (for Air France/KLM passengers)
  • Frankfurt Airport’s Frankfurt Animal Lounge
  • Ark Pet Oasis at John F. Kennedy International Airport 
  • Heathrow Animal Reception Centre

Will my pet have to be quarantined?

The purpose of animal quarantine is to avoid spreading illness from high-risk areas to low- or no-risk areas. 

If you are moving from a place with a high risk of rabies to a place with no rabies (Australia, New Zealand and others), your pet will probably have to spend time in quarantine. 

Fortunately, the UK is rabies-free and most countries in the EU are considered very low risk. Pets moving within the EU or from the EU/UK to another country most likely will not need to quarantine. Great news!

What paperwork will my pet need to travel?

Depending on your destination, your pet may need a health certificate stamped by a government-approved veterinarian, a pet import certificate, proof of vaccination(s) and a microchip.** 

  • Pets travelling within the EU should have a European pet passport. 
  • Post-Brexit, pets travelling from the UK to the EU can no longer travel with a UK pet passport. Instead, they need an EU pet passport or an Animal Health Certificate stamped by an OV (official veterinarian) in the UK.
  • For all other countries, accepted health certificates can range from written veterinarian notes to required government forms. Check your destination country government website for details. 

** Animal health certificates must be obtained within a specific amount of time prior to departure or will be considered void. Check with your pet relocation specialist for details. 

Is professional pet relocation worth the cost?

Trying to move your pet yourself can be very challenging. 

Pet import rules vary for each country, and regulations are complex. Some countries require paperwork to be filed up to 6 months in advance and rules may change based on biosecurity and other measures. Airline itineraries for pets vary based on the season and may require a layover with veterinary checks. 

Professional pet relocation providers are experts in government regulations, airline requirements, and safe and secure itineraries for pet travel. If needed, they arrange for layovers at a pet airport lounge with veterinary checks. They even send photos and updates on your pet throughout their journey. 

If you are moving overseas, getting your pet’s international travel plans right is critical. 

The services and peace of mind that professional pet relocation offers can be priceless.

Learn more about Sterling Lexicon Safe and Secure Pet Relocation services.










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