Moving abroad with pets – what are the rules?

Moving with pets domestically has its challenges. Moving abroad with pets is a serious task. However, it is a task no responsible pet owner would try to avoid. Pets are family members who need us. Therefore, we should not leave them behind when moving overseas without a valid reason. Some paperwork and health exams are not a valid reason. Yes, the rules may be strict, but having your furry friend with you makes it all worth it.

Contact the country’s consulate and/or embassy

Unfortunately, some countries have restrictions when it comes to the import of pets. This means you won’t be able to bring certain animal species. If you own a dog or a cat whose breed is not welcome, perhaps you should reconsider relocating to that country. To know for sure whether you can move abroad with your pet, contact the country’s consulate and/or embassy. If your pet is accepted in the country you plan on moving to, you can continue your research.

A woman and a dog sitting by the water
Moving abroad with pets will make the transition easier, as they will provide emotional support.

Additional questions you should ask the consulate include:

  • Are there any vaccination requirements for moving abroad with pets?
  • Is there a quarantine period?
  • Do pets need to have a microchip?

Get to know the new environment

Ideally, you should visit the country you are moving to and talk to the locals before actually moving there. We know that traveling back and forth is not always easy, nor cheap, but it is the best way to access your new home. In addition, or as an alternative, do some online research. Answer some of these questions before making the final decision and organizing the move:

  • Are pets generally allowed in houses and apartments?
  • Are there good pet shops in the area?
  • Are there any pet hotels in the area?
  • Is health care for pets accessible and affordable?

Unless you can give your pets everything they need, living in the new country will be a struggle for all of you. Imagine having to drive for hours to get your pet to the vet. In Japan, for example, vet clinics can be extremely busy, which makes it hard to get an appointment. These are just some of the things you need to consider before moving abroad with pets.

Airlines have their rules, too

This should be done on time. Different airlines have different rules regarding pet transportation. In case you are switching planes, different rules may apply. You should talk to an airline representative directly and discuss everything in detail. Also, most airlines allow a limited number of pets per flight. Sometimes, only one pet at a time is accepted. This is why you should book your flight well in advance. Moreover, some pets must travel in the cargo area if they exceed the weight limit. The time of the year also matters, since flying in cargo can be dangerous due to extreme temperatures. Still, regardless of the weather, it can be dangerous to transport your pets as cargo. Another thing to take into consideration is your moving budget since airlines normally charge extra for transporting pets.

A man moving abroad with pets and a cat
We advise against transporting pets in cargo.

Discuss moving abroad with pets with a vet

If your vet is not familiar with the rules, find another one who is. You need a vet with experience in this type of matters, one that can tell you all you need to know about pet relocation. There are many factors to take into account when planning a long trip with pets. Some of them are the pets’ age and health condition. At the end of the day, a trusted vet is the only person who gets to decide whether your pet can move abroad or not.

Contact pet relocation services

As you can see, moving with pets internationally isn’t easy. The organization takes a lot of time and energy. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are people whose job is to help you move abroad with pets. They can inform you about the rules and requirements and make all the arrangements. Of course, before hiring any company, you should do some research, as not all of them are equally good. You cannot trust everyone with transporting your pets just like you cannot trust everyone with transporting your belongings. Only a reliable company like Japan Relocation Services deserves your trust.

Make sure your pets are comfortable in a carrier

Dogs and cats usually travel in pet carriers. You need to introduce the carrier months before the trip unless your pets are already accustomed to it. Why so early? Well, it may take longer than you think for a pet to get comfortable in such a limited space. Your pet needs time to explore the carrier until it’s ready to go inside voluntarily. You can create positive associations to the carrier by giving your pets treats and meals in there. Also, it helps if you put their favorite toys and blankets inside. Gradually, they should grow accustomed to it. Taking shorter trips in their carrier before the big one will also help your pets feel more relaxed when the moving day comes.

A cat in a carrier
Give your pets time to adjust to their crate.

Bring their belongings to your new home

Some pets can adjust to the new environment with ease, as long as their owner is with them. However, some pets may feel anxious at the beginning. Pets react better to the things that are familiar – they are like small children in that way. If you are moving with children, the same rules apply. Fortunately, there are reliable packers you can hire to pack you for the move so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your belongings. So, make sure you pack your pets’ toys, beds, blankets, bowls, etc. 




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