Skip to main content

Moving abroad with man’s best friends

By January 3, 2019October 17th, 2023South Africans planning to emigrate

Moving abroad with man’s best friends

January 3, 2019


Your pets are an important part of your family, and if you are planning to move abroad for work, permanent relocation or retirement, taking your pets with you will no doubt be part of your plans. Taking your cats and dogs with you does require a careful bit of planning from pet carriers to vet visits, but once you have had the required vaccinations and arranged microchipping and pet passports, it can often be relatively straightforward. Here is a moving checklist if you are travelling with dogs or other pets:

Obtaining a pet passport/international health certificate

If you are planning to move to Europe, then you will need to arrange a pet passport. The pet passport allows pet owners to obtain a blue passport from a vet and travel within the EU member countries. Today many countries in the world accept a pet passport although some countries have specific health certificate regulations, which limit how many pets you can bring into the country. An international health certificate is a record of your animal’s vaccination details as well as its breed type and the owner’s contact details.

Vaccinations for your pets

Before your pets will be allowed to travel, you will need to ensure they are up-to-date with the standard pet vaccinations including rabies, distemper and parvovirus. Countries like Australia and New Zealand will require blood tests and possibly additional vaccinations. Cats often need to be up-to-date on the annual feline flu and enteritis vaccines. If you are moving to the UAE, dogs will also need a blood test for ehylichia and an ear smear test for babesia and tick and tapeworm treatment prior to departure.

Travelling in extreme temperatures

If you are moving to the USA and travelling in times where the temperatures of your chosen US state are particularly extreme, you may discover that there are restrictions on pet travel. An Acclimatisation Certificate is required if pets are travelling with Airlines like Delta or United Airlines during a temperature-restrictive period.

Flying your pet

The cost of flying your pets can vary, and most relocation companies will be able to provide you with a price depending on your destination country and the size of your pet. Pets normally travel in the livestock hold, where temperatures are maintained. They are checked and watered at stopovers. The Independent Pet and Animal Transport Association’s international regulations ensure that pets travel in approved air kennels, which have space for pets to stand, lie down or turn around during their journey. You can also help them during their flight by providing them with a familiar blanket or cushion for them to sleep on. There are also many natural, homoeopathic remedies that can be used to help keep pets calm. A good tip is adding Bachs Rescue Remedy to their drinking water a few days before you fly.

Quarantine is no longer necessary

In the past, pets were often quarantined for long periods of time (up to six months) when they arrived in their new country. These days the rules are a lot more relaxed and quarantine is usually unnecessary, provided you have met all the requirements for pet travel that your destination country requires.

Moving to strict rabies-free countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore does require a few days of quarantine. However, most places in North America, South America, the EU and much of Asia and Europe, do not require quarantine if all pet travel requirements have been met and your pets have passed their blood tests.

If you are a South African living or moving abroad with your pet and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration from South Africa, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.

Leave a Reply