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How Much Time is Needed to Plan Your Pet’s Move to Another Country?

Published on: March 10, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

How Much Time is Needed to Plan Your Pet’s Move to Another Country https://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/time-needed-to-plan-pet-move-another-country

Planning any international trip can be a convoluted process. If you’re actually moving with your family to another country, the details multiply exponentially. You’ll need time to organize your to-do list, let alone get everything done in time. 

The sooner you get started, the better - especially when planning your pet's travels. Shorting yourself on time will only leave you feeling frazzled, and that will make your other preparations more chaotic. The less time you give yourself, the easier it will be to overlook an important detail or make some other mistake. When it comes to moving your pet to another country, every detail is critical. And the penalty for mistakes or omissions is high.

The time needed to prepare to move your pet can vary drastically depending on a variety of factors.  Here are some things that will impact how much time you will need to plan for your pet's move.  


Your Destination Country

Each country has their own set of pet import requirements and many have different timelines for when your pet is eligible to enter the country.  For example, the United Kingdom requires that you wait 21 days after the rabies vaccination before your pet can enter the country.  However, that is no guarantee that you can pull it all together in less than a month since the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre or airlines may be fully booked at the time you want your pet to travel.  On the other hand, Australia will not allow pets to be imported until 180 days after the lab receives your cat or dog's blood sample for the rabies titer test.  So for Australia - it is literally impossible not to plan at least 7-8 months in advance.  


Travel Kennel Acclimation

Every dog or cat who travels by air must have an airline-approved kennel. If your pet has never traveled or been crate-trained before, we recommend that you purchase the kennel at least 1-2 months prior to their big adventure.  If you want to make sure your pet travels comfortably and as stress-free as possible, you definitely want to acclimate them to the travel kennel.  You also want to keep in mind that kennel supply and shipping times can vary, so you don't want to try to get one at the last minute.


Weather and Time of Year

To protect pet health and safety, many airlines will not transport dogs and cats if it is very hot or very cold outside. Some airlines simply have specific temperature restrictions, while others will completely embargo pet travel during certain months at certain airports. Airlines have to transfer animals between the terminal and the plane. Pets are typically loaded last and unloaded first, so they spend minimum time on the tarmac. However, sometimes there is a wait on the tarmac no matter how efficient and pet-friendly the crew tries to be. Extreme temperatures can quickly affect pets, especially if they are elderly, have pre-existing health conditions or are considered a brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) breed.

Why does this matter? 

Because the weather restriction applies to every airport on your pet’s itinerary – departure city, destination, and any layovers along the way. The pet shipping experts at Starwood always plan the shortest, most direct routes for pets. However, depending on the specifics of your pet’s journey and the time of year, weather delays or embargoes can happen without warning. The more advance notice you have regarding your international move, the easier it will be to sidestep these potential problems.


There are a lot of details to coordinate

If you’re preparing to move your family overseas, you have a lot of details to coordinate - it is no different when preparing to ship a pet. You’ll need time to research pet import requirements for your destination, taking your cat or dog to the vet (usually multiple times), following up, shuffling paperwork, ordering a kennel, etc. It can all add up fast and become very overwhelming.  

Not only that, but it takes time to plan which airline to use, book the flight(s), provide all of the required documents for travel and obtain import permits if required for your destination country.  Additionally, if you are moving to a country that requires pets to spend time in quarantine, like Singapore or Australia, then the local departments of agriculture will also need plenty of notice to secure quarantine space.

Simply put - there are too many factors at play to risk missing something or having to travel well ahead of your pet due to poor planning.  As a general rule of thumb, you should plan at minimum 2 months prior to travel - that also means hiring a pet transport company, like Starwood, at least 2 months prior.  As mentioned earlier, if you are moving to a country with more complicated import requirements, then you will need to plan at least 8 months in advance. 


What if you’re short on time?

We know that sometimes you don’t have as much time as you’d like to get organized, even if you’re moving to another country. Starwood can help you in two ways - we will relieve you of the burden and stress of dealing with your pet’s moving arrangements, and we can coordinate those arrangements in ways you cannot. Time may not be on your side, but we are.

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