Advice for Relocating your Pet

Is airline travel safe for my pet?

Air travel is exceptionally safe for pets that are healthy and deemed by their veterinarian to be fit-to-fly. Data from the U.S Department of Transportation show that of the 506,994 pets transported on US airliners in 2017, there were sadly 24 fatalities. While each tragic loss should ideally never occur, these figures represent an extremely low risk of less than 1 in 10,000 animals dying in transit.


Where does my pet fly on the plane?

Most airlines require pets to travel as manifest cargo, in the hold of the plane. While this terminology conjures up images of treating them as mere luggage, this is not the case. Every pet flies in a temperature controlled, oxygenated and pressurized environment, just like in the passenger cabin. International Air Transport Association’s Live Animals Regulations are the leading standards for transporting animals on commercial airlines, and their sole objective is to ensure all animals are carried safely and humanely by air. These regulations include up-to-date airline and government rules about the transport of live animals, requirements on handling, marking & labeling, information on the necessary documentation needed when transporting live animals, and comprehensive classification of thousands of animal species along with the container specifications required for their transport. Some airlines will allow certain pets to travel in the passenger cabin, but rules vary widely between airlines and destinations.


Should I sedate my pet for air travel?

Sedation is dangerous for any animal traveling by air, due to the increased effects at altitude. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends pet animals are not tranquilized for air travel because it can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Some airlines will require you to declare that your pet has not been sedated prior to travel.


What are the risks of air travel for snub-nosed pets?

There are increased risks with transporting any brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds, such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boxers, and Persian cats due to their respiratory problems. This condition makes them highly susceptible to heat-related issues traveling to and from warm climates. They also have a higher sensitivity to air quality changes while going in the cargo hold. Because their mortality rates are significantly higher, most airlines do not accept them for travel. While there are risks for these breeds, Global Pet Relocation safely relocates dozens of snub-nosed animals every year and can assist you to find suitable, lower risk solutions for moving your pet.


Is there a certain time of year that is better to transport my pet?

Most airlines have temperature policies to ensure your pet travels when conditions are safest. All pets, especially snub-nosed pets, travel better when temperatures are at or below 24℃ (75℉). However, we understand that this is not always feasible in some climates. Some precautions Global Pet Relocation takes is transporting your pet in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are lower.


What pre and post travel tips do you recommend?

  • Acclimate your pet to their sky kennel several weeks before the trip. The advantage of this approach is to help minimize any stress or anxiety your pet may feel on the day of travel.
  • Take your pet to your veterinarian ten days before travel for a clean bill of health.
  • Apply lavender oil from his head down, which has a calming effect without the adverse side effects of sedation is also helpful.
  • Confine your pet to one room or area of your house several days after arrival with his toys and familiar bedding.
  • Avoiding over-feeding, exercise, and rapid water intake when he arrives home is essential because it can lead to tummy upsets and bloat, especially in deep-chested dog breeds.
  • Update your pet’s microchip record with your latest contact details to help reunite you if they wander from your new home.


What size and type of crate should I get?

We call crates “Sky Kennels” which we think is a little more pet-friendly than “crate”. If you move your pet with Global Pet Relocation then we will provide the sky kennel for you. If you are going to purchase your own sky kennel then we recommend purchasing a Vari Kennel, which are airline compliant for both domestic and international travel. These carriers are secure, hard plastic, and non-collapsible, with air holes on all four sides and bolts and wing nuts that secure the top and bottom half together. These can usually be purchased at your local pet store or bought online. All dogs should be measured when standing from the floor to the very top of their head, and from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail, to determine the best fit. All airlines require that your pet have at least 2-3" of room between the top of their head to the top of the sky kennel and at least 3-4" of room between their rump to the back of the sky kennel. They should have plenty of room to move around, lay down and stand up.


How do I get my pet used to the sky kennel?

Once you have purchased the right size and type of sky kennel for your pet, you will want to get him used to it. We recommend leaving the top off and putting the bottom half near a favorite window or room for your pet to explore. You may also wish to put his toys, favorite bedding, and familiar items inside. Some pets are reluctant to come close, so you may put a treat or smear a small amount of peanut butter inside to encourage him. Over the next several days, reassure him that the sky kennel is a safe place and slowly increase the amount of time he spends inside. For each milestone, don’t forget to provide praise or other forms of positive reinforcement. On the day of travel, your pet should be relaxed once put inside. For some pets that are creatures of habit, especially cats, acclimation may be difficult. Don’t worry if your pet is opposed to your efforts. Putting a small blanket or t-shirt inside which smells of your home is always a great way to help reduce anxiety for any traveling pet and keep them comfortable.


Can I bring my emotional support animal in-cabin on my flight?

Several airlines allow emotional support animals to travel in-cabin upon meeting their requirements. You will need to check with the passenger side of your airline regarding their rules and regulations for allowing your pet to move this way. Airlines are increasingly restricting in-cabin animals to registered and trained assistance animals only, such as guide dogs (seeing eye dogs). You may be required to have medical evidence and/or demonstrate that your pet provides trained assistance for your health condition or disability.


What are the health and vaccination requirements for my pet to travel?

Our team will consult with you on all health and vaccination requirements for the country in which your pet is moving into. In most cases, we can take care of all or some of these on your behalf.

Normally your pet should have a microchip and their routine, annual jabs up to date.


Can my pets travel together in the same sky kennel?

Unless your pets are siblings and under six months of age, your pets may be required by the airline to travel in their separate sky kennels for safety reasons. Each airline has different rules and your GPR consultant will be able to advise you.


Should I leave a collar on my pet during travel?

No. Your pet should not travel with anything around its neck or body as this can be a safety hazard. You can provide a leash and collar to affix to the top of the sky kennel. Bear in mind, these items may get lost while in transit. For Global Pet Relocation clients, we reimburse up to $75 for a replacement should this occur. We strongly recommend that you do not send your pet with collar tags or any valuable and/or sentimental items as should they become lost, we are usually unable to recover them.


Why does it cost so much to move my pet?

Many variables determine the cost of moving your pet such as size, weight and where your pet is moving from and to. Please contact us for an estimate at hello@globalpetrelocation.com and we would be happy to discuss your needs and provide you with a competitive quote. We offer a Quote Comparison Guarantee, meaning you’ll never pay more with us for like-for-like travel arrangements. There are lots of reasons to choose us for low-stress, expert care in arranging your pet’s journey.

Your Pet’s Move with Global Pet Relocation

Will someone provide me updates me while my pet is traveling?

Yes. Our team understands that our worried pet owners want to know how their pet is doing while in transit. We make every effort to update you upon check-in, departure, arrival, and delivery regardless of your time zone.


What happens to my pet if there is a last-minute airline cancellation?

As with passenger air travel, occasionally airlines may cancel flights or ‘bump’ pets onto the next flight beyond our control. However, this doesn't mean your pet will be stuck at the airport overnight. Global Pet Relocation sources the best kennels in each departure city to provide your pet with a comfortable stay before take-off. We will make all boarding arrangements for your pet on your behalf and work with the airline to re-book your pet on the next available flight. If this is not available all airports we work with have safe and secure environments to keep pets that are staffed by trained professionals.


What if I am traveling separately from my pet?

If you’re traveling on the same day, we can try to arrange your pet's transport around your departure and arrival time. Alternatively, if your pet will be following you to your new home at a later date, we are happy to arrange high-quality boarding accommodation for your pet at origin or destination.


How do you handle my pet’s medication during travel?

Depending on the type and needed frequency of the medication, we can arrange this at certain layover points throughout the pet's journey. While some airlines do not allow pets to travel with medication, the good news is that most do. While we are unable to administer meds while pets are in the air, we can often arrange comfort stops during travel where trained airline staff or veterinarians are present to take care of your animal’s needs. 


Do pets get rest stops for food, water, and bathroom while flying?

Your pet will have access to water throughout its journey. However, food is not recommended while in the air as it can lead to an upset tummy. Depending on your pet's flight routing, we can incorporate a layover at a pet-friendly airport hotel. Your pet will get bathroom time and be able to stretch out in a larger enclosure with a small bowl of food and water.


How far in advance should I plan my pet’s move?

The timing involved in planning your pet's relocation depends on the destination. We generally require at least 30 days’ notice to arrange your pet’s travel plans, due to the availability of flights and vaccination and health requirements. For some countries such as Australia and New Zealand, the wait time can be extensive, so it is best to plan your pet's move at least 6 to 7 months out. For other countries or when moving domestically, the wait time is none to less than one month. Speak to one of our expert pet relocation consultants to learn more about the import requirements and time involved with fulfilling them.


Can my pet travel with personal belongings?

Your pet may travel with a thin blanket or t-shirt that is no more than ½” thick and smells of home. We recommend avoiding the use of your pet’s favorite blanket as sometimes these become soiled in route and may not arrive home with him. Any toys, bones or items your pet can choke on during travel are strictly prohibited. You should bring these items separately or include them as part of your household goods shipment.


Which airlines do you use?

We work with many of the world’s leading airlines for pet travel, who we are confident provide animals with safe and comfortable facilities and handling. Check out the approaches to animal transport taken by Lufthansa, KLM, and American Airlines.


How do I get a quote?

Please email us at hello@globalpetrelocation.com or call us on +44 (0) 1480 437946. We would be happy to discuss your pet's travel plans and provide you with an estimate under our Quote Comparison Guarantee.