Tips on moving with your pets

We are moving - and the issue most often overlooked by people planning to relocate is the question of what to do with their pets.  Should you bring them with you, leave them behind with friends or family, give them up for adoption, or drop them off at the local animal shelter?

Taking your pets with you to another country should not be a complicated and time-consuming process, especially if you use the services of a reliable pet transport company – as the experts would be able to handle all the procedures and take the stress and worry away from you, the pet owner.

Your pet’s well-being should be your main concern when considering taking your pets with you and therefore choosing the correct company to assist you with your pet’s move is very important.  

The main concern of most countries with importing/exporting pets is the potential transmission of diseases.  By far the biggest concern is the spread of Rabies.   Rabies is a particular concern for dogs, cats, and ferrets and a certified rabies vaccination is required in most countries, sometimes even a blood titre test to make sure your pet is free of rabies and has sufficient antibodies against the disease.

The longest quarantine period for most countries is about 10 days – but could in some cases be up to 30 days. But the quarantine is costly, and you have to consider the fact that your pet won’t be living with you during that time.

To take your pet with you, most countries require that you get a health certificate stating that your pet is in good health and free of parasites and this health certificate must be endorsed by a Government Vet once done by your local Vet.  The health certificates are normally done within 5 days of travel, but in some cases within 48 hours of travel – so your planning must be precise.  Your pet travel specialists would be able to advise you on when to do the health certificates, as they should keep up to date with all the different country entry regulations.

All pets travelling abroad must be implanted with a microchip transponder, which identifies them and can be linked to vaccination and health certificates you file when entering the country. Make sure you get the right microchip for the country to which you will be moving, since the radio frequencies and encryption codes vary. 


Transporting your pets

How your pet will be transported to your new overseas home is an important issue.  From South Africa the airlines does not allow your pet to travel as excess baggage or in cabin with you – they have to be booked as MANIFEST CARGO –  and you would not be able to make your pet’s flight booking yourself – you therefore have to use a PET SHIPPER – so choose carefully……  

We always strive to get your pets on the most direct, shortest route as this is far better for your pet.

We also ensure that your pet is transported in a pet carrier that will be approved by the airline and that is a comfortable size for your pet. 

Please make sure your pet gets acquainted with the travel pet carrier/container well ahead of your flight.  We will give you tips on how to crate train your pet.

Sedation of your pet during their trip is not recommended at all, as this can cause some serious health issues during their flight.

Putting blankets or something personal in the pet travel container with your pet whilst they are travelling will ensure that they can rely on their smell, and they will have something familiar with them in their travel carrier/container which will help with calming their nerves.

Your fur buddies will be traveling in the pressurized, temperature controlled cargo compartment of the airplane, and this is completely separate from where the normal cargo or baggage is stored.  They fly first class!  


Consider costs:

Shipping your pets overseas is quite an expensive undertaking.  Make sure you get reliable cost estimates before making your decision.  But the cheapest quote is not necessarily the best option – as service could be lacking and with lacking service the question remains: Are my pets in good hands?

In addition to the transport costs of your pets, you also have to pay for the health certificate and vaccinations and the microchip and in most cases there will be customs fees and taxes in the new country of arrival that you need to consider as well. 


Bringing your pets back to South Africa:

The repatriation of your pets is another important issue.  Depending on the prevalence of Diseases in the foreign country of residence, your pet might need to be quarantined upon returning home.  Cats in general would not be quarantined upon return to South Africa.  And costs will definitely be higher for flights back to SA than what it was going out of South Africa.


We Move Pets is dedicated to the care and welfare of pets and small animals during domestic and international transport, and we will provide you with all information needed to get your pets travel ready.