Pets become a part of our family so naturally that when we move abroad we want to take them with us. Relocating an animal abroad, whether it be a dog, cat or ferret, requires a great deal of planning and preparation. The process involves a number of logistical factors, such as customs, quarantine, transport, health and vaccinations, documentation and additional costs.
For the most part, this article will be looking at cats and dogs, so if you’re looking for costs of a more exotic animal, please contact your vet or local pet transport agency.
Pet Relocation Costs
There are a growing number of companies that specialise in successfully relocating pets around the world and assist you from start to finish, so it’s worth taking a look around and seeing what services are available to you.
These agencies organise everything from paperwork to airport transfers, ensuring the process is stress-free and your pet is as comfortable as possible. The cost of each travel agent varies depending on what country you’re going to and the size of your pet. With reliable and established UK based agencies, you could expect the following costs:
With reliable and established UK based agencies, you could expect the following costs:
|From the UK to ->||Australia||U.S.A||South Africa|
|Small Dog (Jack Russell)||£1,900 GBP||£900 GBP||£1,400 GBP|
|Large Dog (Labrador)||£3,000 GBP||£1,500 GBP||£2,500 GBP|
|Cat (average size)||£1,500 GBP||£755 GBP||£995 GBP|
- Airline freight charges UK side
- IATA approved air kennel
- DEFRA export health certificate
- Import pemit
- Transit permits
- Blood test/ treatment instructions and advice
- One night's boarding (if required)
- The pet's check-in
U.S based companies such as Pet Relocation generally charge between USD $2500- $3000 (£1900 - £2,300) for moving one small pet internationally. Australia has become one of the most expensive countries to move pets to from the U.S, as they require quarantine and the associated quarantine costs have recently been raised, meaning the starting costs for Australia would be a bit higher.
Select the Size of Your Move to Get Free Quotes
Costs depend on several factors, including the departure/arrival locations, the weight and height of the pet, and whether or not the owner already has a travel crate.
It’s recommended that you get some quotes early on so that you can start putting the money aside, as moving a pet abroad can get quite expensive.
Traveling Within the EU
Requirements to relocate pets within EU countries include:
- Rabies vaccination
- Pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate
- Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)
- Use authorised carrier and approved route
The estimated cost for the above to be carried out in the UK is at around £250-300.
A pet passport is a record of all the treatments your pet has received, if any.Those planning on moving either to or from the UK will need to obtain a pet passport. Failing this, your pet must have an official veterinary certificate from the UK or an EU country.
You can get a pet passport from most vets. Vets who cannot provide you with one should be able to direct you to a vet who can.
According to the UK government website, your pet passport will contain details on the following:
- Description of pet
- Owner's details
- Rabies vaccination
- Rabies blood test
- Canine tapeworm treatment
How much does a pet passport cost?
In the UK, a pet passport should cost anywhere between £60 to £100. However, it is known that some vets can charge more than others, and it can depend on the animal that is getting the passport.
Moving your pet abroad means you will have to cover the costs for medical bills including vetting certificates, microchipping, vaccinations and blood tests, to ensure that your pet isn’t carrying any unwanted diseases.
The tests and vaccinations needed vary from country to country, so be sure to consult your vet or the customs website of your destination country. The medical costs can add up quickly, especially if your pet hasn’t had any of these vaccinations before, so it’s important to be financially prepared.
Average costs of services varies from country to country, so here’s a look at average costs for taking your pet out of the following countries:
Pet Travel Insurance
To ensure the safety of your pets, you may well opt for pet travel insurance for your move. Put simply, pet travel insurance covers any expenses relating to your pet’s health or other issues whilst travelling. It may be that your pet’s health insurance also covers travel insurance. Check with your pet’s health insurance provider to see if it will insure your pet whilst travelling.
Pet travel insurance providers will usually only cover the costs for the period of time your pet will be travelling. The amount of potential issues your pet is covered for is dependent on how much you pay for the insurance.
Having your pet microchipped will allow you track your pet if they should go missing. In order for your pet to travel across borders, they must have a microchip, whatever animal they are. In fact, since 2016 all UK dogs are legally required to have a microchip.
Getting your pet microchipped is simple and affordable. In the UK, microchipping costs around £20 to £30 and can be arranged with most vets and even some pet shops.
Important to remember: Your pet must have its rabies vaccination after it gets its microchip, not before.
Other Costs Involved:
Whichever country your pet will be relocating to, it will be required to spend some time in quarantine before and after the move. Although this can vary from a quick 15 minute check up to a 6 month quarantine stay. Countries with strict importing laws such as Australia and New Zealand can get especially expensive.
Quarantine cost estimates for dogs and cats are as follows:
|Country||Minimum Quarantine Stay||Approx. Cost|
|Australia||10 days +||$149 p/day = $1,500+|
|New Zealand||10 days +||NZ$1,200 – $1,800|
|Canada||Inspection upon arrival, no quarantine||Inspection fee $30 for 1 pet, $5 for each additional pet|
|U.S.A, South Africa, France, U.K||No quarantine needed if pet meets entry requirements||-|
Health check up, vaccinations, blood tests:
Use the table above as a base for costs involved, however vet prices can vary greatly between countries, so get in touch with your local vet to get a better idea of costs for your pet.
Many countries require your pet to travel with a government issued International Health Certificate, which is to be signed by your veterinarian and endorsed by an official government veterinarian. Normal vet fees will most likely apply for these checks and endorsements.
If you use a pet travel agent, they will usually cover this cost for you. If you are arranging your pet’s travel yourself, be sure to purchase an approved crate for your pet which meets all the legal requirements, giving your pet enough room to stand and move around in. Refer to your airline for any further requirements. Crates start at around USD$50 upwards.
You’ll want to ensure your pet also has access to food and water, and pad the crate with some absorbent tissue (such as puppy pads) for soiling.
Each airline has a different animal pricing policy. Whilst some airlines consider pets to be ‘extra luggage’ and allow them to travel free of charge, others can charge a few hundred US dollars, so be sure to check the fine print before purchasing your airline ticket.
Some countries charge import permits for pets which can vary from a few dollars which charged as tax for the ‘value’ of your pet (e.g. Poland), to a heftier NZ$167 in New Zealand, or R100 p/animal in South Africa. Check the official customs website for your destination country to confirm the cost before traveling.
When your relocation and moving is for the purposes of a change in employment, pet moves should be tax deductible in the USA according to IRS Publication 521
Flying with Pets
Each airline and country has different rules about transporting pets. Whilst in some countries, such as the U.S and France, it’s the norm to travel with a small pet in the aircraft cabin with you, other countries such as the U.K and Australia forbid it due to health and safety reasons.
Make sure you buy tickets for an airline that does indeed carry pets to your destination. Just because an airline is flying to a certain destination, it does not necessarily mean they are taking pets. Ryanair, EasyJet, Lufthansa, KLM and Air France are all examples of airlines that do not take pets.
On average, check-in with pets is four hours before departure. Many airports cannot clear pets for after-hours landings, meaning that if you arrive at your destination country late, it’s likely that your pet will have to stay overnight until it can be cleared.
For those who do allow you to travel together with your pet, it will need to be under a certain size and weight, and in a crate that fits the assigned measurements. Some airlines allow you to bring your pet as part of your carry-on luggage allowance, whilst others can charge up to and over US $500. Each airline has slightly different requirement so be sure to check with yours before you book flights.
Unusual Pet Requirements
Up until recently, transporting a dog, cat or ferret to the UK would involve a costly six month stay in quarantine to prevent the spread of rabies. Nowadays, testing for rabies has become so advanced that pets from EU countries will only need a rabies vaccination and a blood test three months before to enter the country.
The United States does not allow African rodents or the products they make. They also have an odd requirement when it comes to turtles. If their shells are smaller larger than four inches apiece, you can only take up to six turtles. If the shells are smaller than that, take as many as you want.
New Zealand is very specific in what types of animal it allows into the country. Certain breeds of dog, such as Japanese Tosa, American pit bull, Dogo Argentino and Brazilian Fila, are not permitted to enter the country. On top of this, the Kiwis have a strict no snakes policy. In fact, New Zealand has strict rules for all animal imports. You must have a permit for all pets. Unless you are travelling from Australia that is, in which you can relocate your pets without a permit.
Costa Rica has a rather odd policy when it comes to birds. Your winged pets can enter the country, but after that it can never leave - it must stay in Costa Rica even if you leave. Even stranger, as well as carrying your pet’s health information, you must also be equipped with documents stating the market value of your pet.