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Can I Afford To Relocate My Pet When I Move?

Published on: May 25, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

orange cat looking upHundreds of thousands of pets - cats and dogs, not to mention an assortment of other small animals – travel with their owners when life calls for a move. But if you’re relocating internationally, taking along your pet will not be cheap. You love them with all your heart, but can you afford to relocate them?

Does it make sense for your pet to relocate?

There is a lot to consider if you are relocating your family - especially if that includes pets. Your decision whether or not to bring your pet with you can depend on a lot of different things. Depending on what species of pet you have, they may not be allowed to enter the country you are moving to.  If you have something other than a cat or dog like a bird, reptile or ferret, some countries require special permits and even more paperwork than a cat or dog does. Additional paperwork and health requirements cost money, and it can add up quickly.  

How is your pet's overall health? Are they elderly with a slew of pre-existing health conditions? While pet travel is very safe for many pets, it is still a stressful experience that can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. It's important to have a serious discussion with your vet about your pet's medical history so you can decide if it's really in your pet's best interest to make the trip with you. In some cases, it may also be more humane to save them the stress (and you the expense) of a move, by rehoming them with a trusted friend or relative.

Will quarantine be required?

Many countries no longer require quarantine for cats or dogs, as long as they are compliant with that country's import regulations. But if you’re headed to Australia or Singapore, your pet will be required to spend time in quarantine, even with all the right documentation that confirms they are healthy.

Quarantine generally lasts between 10 and 30 days, depending on where you are moving. Aside from the added stress on your cat or dog, you are financially responsible for all associated quarantine fees, which can be expensive.

What are the health and paperwork requirements?

There are a number of expenses associated with moving a pet, outside of the transportation costs alone. Depending on your destination, microchipping, exams, vaccinations, blood testing and parasite treatments may be required within certain timeframes. These veterinary treatments cost money and will sometimes require multiple trips to the vet. The completion of any health certificate, paperwork endorsement or required permits or other documentation will also incur additional fees. Some of these items will require driving to different places or mailing paperwork back and forth, so keep this in mind as well.

How big is your pet?

If your pet is flying as cargo as many are required to, then the larger the pet, the more it costs for them to fly. When pets fly as cargo the airline or air cargo charge is typically based off the weight / size of the pet and their travel kennel - not a flat fee.

In some cases, a small cat or dog can travel in-cabin, under the seat in front of you or potentially on your flight as accompanied baggage. However, this depends on the airline and destination country, so this may not be possible for your pet.

If the airline and destination allows in-cabin or accompanied pet travel, there’s usually a flat fee for them to travel with you under your ticket. Do keep in mind that you would be responsible for carting your pet around the airport and finding a pet relief area during a layover or before/after the trip. You will also need to bring them through customs (if required) on your own.

Not every airline is equally pet-friendly, but the ones who are take pride in the extra care they give traveling animals – efforts that cost more. KLM, for example, notes that transporting animals “is not just putting an animal in a box and sending it off.” Dogs are walked in a park adjacent to KLM’s pet hotel at the airport in Amsterdam, and the airline has “animal attendants, just like cabin attendants for passengers.”

What price would you put on peace of mind?

Before you do anything else about your pet’s move, consult with pet travel experts to thoroughly understand your options and the associated costs, so you can make the best decision for yourself and your pet.

It does cost money to hire a professional pet shipper, but you can save an incalculable amount of time and infinite headaches. You’ll also be certain your pet is booked on the best possible airline with the best possible flight schedule for maximum safety and comfort. And you’ll have a great team to monitor your pet’s journey and step in if there are any unforeseen delays or hiccups.

Here at Starwood Animal Transport, we know our clients have varying budgets, so we offer tiered services and pricing. For instance, you can hire us to handle every door-to-door detail of relocating your pet, or just to handle the most complex aspects such as flight arrangements and documentation. And if you want only some experienced advice, we do that, too.
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