PET FRIENDLY: How to Relocate Abroad with Pets

dog luggage

With so many people leaving Britain for new lives in far flung destinations, what happen to their beloved pets? StyleTails finds out how hard it is to relocate with your four-legged friend. 

It’s clear that the Brits love to live abroad – over two million of them have left Britain to do so in the past 10 years. What do you do however, when the sunny shores of Australia are calling you but you’ve got a four-legged friend in the equation?

For most of us, the thought of leaving our pets behind is just unthinkable, and a recent poll by visa and relocation specialists, Global Visas,  found that 62% of people would take their pet with them when relocating, regardless of the cost and process involved. So, with so many people willing to take their pet, what exactly is involved with getting a pooch or pussy from one side of the world to the other?

To get the lowdown, we spoke to Pet Air, one of  Global Visa’s specialist suppliers, who help over 1,500 pets a year jet off to settle in exciting new destinations.

Are you surprised that over 60% of people would take their pet when relocating? 

No, pets are part of the family unit, and so when a family relocates, especially when they have children, the pets are the last piece of the jigsaw that brings the family together and helps them to settle in their new surroundings.

What are some of the most popular destinations for people relocating with pets?

A large part of our work is to Australia and New Zealand, with the USA following closely behind. We send about 550-650 pets to Australia and New Zealand each year.

How long does the process take roughly?

It really depends on where they are flying to. Australia and New Zealand now take six months to prepare pets due to them requiring a rabies vaccination and blood test.  For the US, we can organise a pet to fly in less than a week, although two weeks is preferable. Pets traveling to Europe require a pet passport, and this will take 21 days to prepare.

How long to pets have to spend in quarantine at the other end? 

The quarantine in Australia is 30 days and 10 days in New Zealand.

30 days is quite a long time for people to be without their four-legged friend. Can they visit them in quarantine? 

Yes they can. Each quarantine has certain days when clients are allowed to go in and see their pets.

What sort of costs are involved in relocating with a pet?

The cost for flying a dog anywhere in the world is based on their size, so a small Chihuahua will be much less than a Great Dane. The cost also depends on how far the pet is flying – To fly a Chihuahua to New York, it would cost around £690 and to get them to Sydney, about £980. A Great Dane on the other hand would be about £2,347 to New York and £3,930 to Sydney.

Lots of people are concerned about sending their dog in a crate in the plane’s cargo hold. Is it safe?

Yes, it is very safe. We build the crates to specific regulations and so the pets have plenty of room for the flight. The area where they travel on the plane is heated, so it’s nice and warm and also has low level lighting to encourage pets to settle and go to sleep. All pets also have to have a health check completed by a vet prior to the flight to ensure they are healthy enough to fly.

What sort of conditions are cats and dogs in during the flight?

We put an absorbent mat in the bottom of the crate and thick vet bed on top.  This means that any liquid will be soaked up in the mat, and the vet bed will not allow any moisture back through so the pet stays dry for the journey. We also spray the crate with a natural pheromone – DAP for dogs and Feliway for cats, to help the pets to feel safe and relaxed when they first go into the crate.

How about with connecting flights to far flung destinations like Australia? 

On connecting flights, the airline will have made provisions for the pets and sometimes, depending on timings, the pets will be taken to an Animal Reception Centre where they will be released into a kennel to stretch their legs before the next flight. Sadly, for Australia and New Zealand, the crate has to be sealed here in the UK and cannot be broken until they arrive into quarantine. Whether they are released into a kennel or not, the pets are well looked after and their welfare monitored.

Re-locating with a pet is a pretty big deal for most people – Can you give us your top 5 tips to make it as stress free as possible?

  1. Plan well ahead of the travel date if possible – this relives some of the stress of trying not only organise a move for the family, but also your pet
  2. You can put a small tea towel size piece of fabric in the crate with your pet to give them a little “smell” of “home”
  3. Keep any toys with you so that your pet can play with their favourite toy when they get to their new home as toys are not allowed in the crate
  4. When heading to the airport, always allow plenty of time for your travel. Just like humans, pets have to check in by a certain time
  5. Don’t sit at home worrying about your pets travel.  Pick up the phone and speak to us, we are here to help!

Have you relocated with your pet?

Would you take your pet if you were moving abroad?

For more information on relocating with pets, visit Global Visas and Pet Air 

Image // Jessica Barlow

Sara is the Founder & Editor of StyleTails. A writer, design-lover and long-time animal-hugger, Sara launched StyleTails in 2012 to inspire people live a more beautiful life with their four-legged friends. Along with her canine sidekick George, a rescue Yorkie with a big attitude, Sara regularly commentates on luxury pet product and lifestyle trends and has been featured in Elle Decoration, BBC Radio, and is also an expert contributor to WGSN, the leading design trend forecaster.


  • Now the cost of relocating pets is increasing a lot so it has became now very difficult to relocate them.

  • Reply August 8, 2016


    What would the cost be of taking my dog from Palma To the uk, he has all his innoculations. Has a passport and i can have his blood test done anytime. What is the easiest way To travel? Thank you in advance

  • Reply May 20, 2017


    This makes evhynteirg so completely painless.

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