How to move with dogs overseas?

Moving internationally with your dogs can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help you make the move easier and safer for both of you.
Moving with pets adds an extra layer of complication to an already stressful process. Along with managing timing while getting all of those items packed and unpacked in a reasonable period, you also have to consider the stress of the move on your four-legged friend, and how your new home is more than just a change of scenery for them.

Why is moving with dogs unique?

Dogs are creatures of habit and routine, and a change of their surroundings can cause some understandable anxiety. As their owners, we can put a bit of forethought and planning to mitigate that anxiety and maintain stability where possible. Read on for important advice about moving with dogs overseas.

Before the move

1. Understanding the pet import requirements

 The first step of moving overseas with your dog is ensuring that your pet is allowed to make the trip. Some countries have stricter pet import laws than others. 

It’s crucial that you understand all you can about what your new home country requires in terms of bringing in pets—especially since some countries don’t allow certain dog breeds. 

You’ll also need to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and whether your pet needs to be microchipped, as well as if there will be a mandated quarantine period.

2. Finding a dog-friendly neighborhood

Make sure the new home has enough rooms for the human occupants and your dog. Take your dog into consideration when picking out the perfect home. 

Does your new home allow you to have pets? Does it have enough space, such as a safe, fenced-in backyard for your dog to roam around? These are the basic questions you need to think about when choosing the perfect home for.

3. Gather all paperwork

Start determining what tests, vaccinations, paperwork, or health certificates are required by your destination country. This should be done in advance as some countries have a waiting period between when the paperwork is filed and the animal is allowed to enter the country.

4. Maintaining a routine is key

As moving day gets closer, try to maintain your dog's routines and schedules as regular as you can, like their feeding and walking times. Consistency gives your dog a sense of security and control in their home environment. Try to maintain as much normality as possible for your dog to help keep their anxiety levels down. Do you currently love taking your furry one to the dog park? Make sure you can keep up similar routines in your new location.

5. Let them get used to moving supplies

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of packing, do leave out a few boxes and other packing supplies for your dog to sniff and investigate. When they do start examining them, give your dogs some treats or praises with the presence of the moving supplies to create positive associations with the items. When the time comes to get started with packing, they’ll be less anxious with all these weird new items taking over their space.

6. Update microchip details

A new home and environment won’t immediately be relaxing for your dog. With all the disruption of moving day and lots of open doors as you move in boxes and furniture, it can be easy for your dog to run out. 

So, we recommend getting a new dog tag or implanting a microchip with your new address and telephone number and putting them on right before the move. If your dog is microchipped, make sure it is up to date with your new address. That way, if they escape at any point during the move, you can easily trace their location.

7. Prepare your move

Have a detailed traveling plan for your dog, the comfort and safety of your dog are important. Make sure to purchase an airline travel crate and start the process of acclimating your dog as soon as possible. Encourage your pet to explore the crate by giving treats and feeding meals in there, and put their blankets and a favorite toy in there as well to desensitize your dog to their crate.

8. Register with your local vet

Find a veterinarian at your new location. If your pet gets ill, you’ll be prepared if the need arises. 

9. Timing

The process of moving with your pets internationally can be a long drawn one and so in order to ensure that your pet comes along with you and their arrival is not delayed in the new country, the timing of your move and the related arrangements should plan early.

Moving day

1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Take some time to help your pet get plenty of exercise before the flight to tire them out, so they can rest and feel more at ease during the travels. Refrain from feeding your pet a few hours before the move.

2. Create a “safe” space

If you cannot put your dog with friends or family or in a boarding kennel, set up a room or area where they will be comfortable while you move out. This reduces the risk of accidents and gives them a safe space to relax. Pack your dog’s belongings last, so they don’t feel anxious about things being taken away from them.

Settling down

1. Maintain routine in their new home

When movers arrive with your belongings, separate the dog again in a safe room or space to keep them from harm’s way during moving in. If possible, set up furniture in a pattern that is similar to your old home to make the transitioning less stressful for them, and re-establish a regular feeding and potty schedule.

2. Introducing them to their new home

Before you let your dog explore their new home, first make sure there are no health hazards items left around where they can reach, including cleaning products and rat poisons they can ingest, or holes in cabinets or walls where they can hide. 

Most importantly, be patient

Your dog may develop anxiety or fear of their new surroundings. Be patient, give them some time to adjust and use positive reinforcement to help them adjust to their new home.

As a Crown customer, rest assured that your dog’s international relocation will be managed by caring, knowledgeable and compassionate handlers. With a network of dog transfer specialists, Crown guides you through all registrations, special travel requirements and medical regulations. You can feel confident that your pet will enjoy a safe and successful relocation.
Most reputable pet relocation companies are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). The association regulates and monitors the pet transportation industry by setting ethical standards and overseeing the performance of its members. As part of their membership, companies can access a network of pet transportation professionals worldwide that have guaranteed reputations for the services they provide.

IPATA is an organization of pet transportation professionals: local pet taxis and veterinarians, major corporations, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. Because of IPATA’s standards for membership, affiliates can safely coordinate door-to-door service for the most precious of cargo, our pets! International requirements vary from country to country, so working with a quality pet relocation company that is up to date on the latest import requirements is critical.
If you’re moving to Europe, you’re going to need a pet passport (almost all countries in the world accept a pet passport). This passport details all the vaccinations and treatments your pet has received and includes a description of your animal friend (name, age, color, breed, county of origin) and your name and contact information. To secure a pet passport, you need to prove your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated for rabies. Your vet should be able to issue your pet passport.

In addition to your pet’s passport, it is important that you obtain an international health certificate for your pet. An international health certificate for your pets is critical if you plan to take your pet abroad. An international health certificate usually includes name of pet, age, country of origin, breed, color, the owner’s name/contact info/address, etc. Some non-English speaking countries also require that the health certificate should be translated into the language of that country.
Certain countries restrict the types of animals that can be imported and exported. For example, many countries have banned American Pit Bull Terriers outright; this is sadly due to their aggressive reputations. Switzerland does not allow animals with docked ears and tails into the country without proof that the owner of the pet is moving to Switzerland.
Indonesia doesn’t permit any pets from countries that aren’t rabies-free into its own rabies-free zones; the United States and Canada are not considered to be rabies-free.

Import and export policies get thorny when dealing with exotic pets, such as wild birds protected by international trade laws. Additional restrictions apply to exotic animals. This is due to the fact that, if the owner ever needs to move the pet again, they need to demonstrate that the animal was brought into the country legally.

You will find below the information required to assist you in finding more information about non-commercial pet imports:

European Union
The European Union (EU) makes a distinction between commercial and non-commercial pet imports. It furthermore distinguishes between movements within European states or coming in from third party? countries. The following links provide more information about non-commercial pet imports from third countries and from within the EU:

Other countries:

Some Countries like the UK and the USA have started implementing even stricter regulations: 

United Kingdom Additional guidance following Brexit:

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.
When it comes to the well-being and safety of international pet relocations, we take an invested interest in making sure that you and your beloved woofers, have a flawless experience.
Start planning your dog's international relocation here