How to move overseas with a pet

The last few years ushered in a boom of short-term housing providers. That means it has never been easier to live all over the world. In fact, you …

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

a tuxedo cat peers over a bamboo headboard

The last few years ushered in a boom of short-term housing providers. That means it has never been easier to live all over the world. In fact, you can even move overseas with a pet if you plan it properly.

Blueground has pet-friendly apartments all over the world. We take pride in welcoming animal-lovers to all of our destinations in Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Are you thinking about moving across the world with your beloved cat or dog?

Here’s a collection of tips that will help you keep things simple as you prepare to move overseas with a pet.

First steps for moving overseas with your pet

Moving is always complicated, but things get haywire when you add in animals or young children.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to simplify your move with a pet overseas.

This guide will cover the following important areas to research well ahead of your move:
• Breed restrictions
• Quarantine requirements for pets
• Pet relocation consultants
• Making travel arrangements with a pet
• Documents you will need to move overseas with a pet
• How to care for your pet during transit

Are you ready to dive in?

Research restrictions and quarantine requirements in your destination

It’s important to make sure that your beloved pet isn’t a banned breed in your chosen country.

Pit bull owners should be especially careful to do research ahead of time. As of 2023, 30 countries have bans or restrictions on pit bull ownership.

Some countries, including Indonesia, the US, and others, also have specific rules around rabies.

Many destinations also have rules around quarantine for imported pets. The length of the quarantine period varies widely from destination to destination, so it’s important to research your intended destination.

airport officials examine luggage

Some countries, including Japan and the UK, require pets to quarantine in a secure facility for six months. Other places have less strict protocols, including home quarantine.

Be sure to research quarantine requirements as far ahead of your move overseas with a pet as possible!

Do you need a pet relocation consultant?

A pet relocation consultant might seem indulgent – until you start to do your research!

It turns out that it’s quite complicated to move overseas with a pet. Between breed restrictions and quarantine requirements, arbitrary airline policies, and rookie mistakes, you’re bound to hit a snag somewhere.

Using a pet relocation consultant saves pet owners time and hassle. The consultant will also be able to work directly with your airline to make sure that your pet is comfortable during transit.

In fact, pet relocation consultants often have personal connections they can leverage to have your bird, cat, or dog kept in climate-controlled conditions throughout travel.

Make travel arrangements to move overseas with a pet

Are you satisfied that your intended destination welcomes your pet and has a reasonable quarantine period? Now the real fun begins.

First, be sure that each airline you’re considering allows your pet to travel with you. Many airlines refuse to fly cat and dog breeds that are at-risk for breathing complications at high altitude, for example.

This exhaustive list of airlines’ banned breed policies is a great place to start.

If you can, book direct flights to simplify the journey for you and your pet.

You should also check each airline’s policy about whether pets can travel in the cabin or must ride in the cargo hold.

Here are a few questions that the American Humane Society recommends asking airline representatives well ahead of your move overseas with a pet:

• Can your cat or small dog stay in the cabin with you?
• Are there any special pet health and immunization requirements?
• Does the airline require a specific style of carrier? (Hard sided vs. soft sided)
• Are there any restrictions on transporting your pet in the cargo hold?

a siamese cat lounges on a bed

Get your paperwork in order

Once you’ve completed your research and bought your plane ticket, it’s time to visit your vet!

Even if your pet has recently been vaccinated against rabies, you will likely need a new shot in order to emigrate. Make sure you share your research on your destination so that your vet can schedule the shot within the correct time frame.

An international health certificate is also a must-have. You will need to get this paperwork in your home country, and in most cases the form must be filled out by a veterinarian. It’s also a good idea to consolidate your pet’s entire health record to make things easier when you arrive in your new country.

There may also be additional entry requirements for your pet, depending on the destination you have chosen.

Finally, if you have never microchipped your pet it’s a good idea to do so. Having both an embedded microchip and a clearly legible ID tag are essential when you move overseas with a pet.

Prepare your pet for the move

The final step is to make sure your beloved cat or dog will be as comfortable as possible in transit.

If you have purchased a new crate for your overseas move with a pet, be sure to give your pet some time to get used to it. (Make sure you also label the outside of the crate with your pet’s name and breed as well as your name and contact info.)

It’s also important to make sure your dog or cat’s nails are trimmed. You should also avoid feeding your pet closer than 6 hours to your flight’s boarding time.

Once you have arrived in your destination, take your pet out of its crate and make sure that they haven’t sustained any injuries in transit.

We hope this guide to how to move overseas with a pet is helpful as you prepare to relocate. Remember, just take things one step at a time. Finally, don’t be afraid to hire a pet relocation company to help if things get too complicated to manage on your own.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.