Preparing Your Pet for Moving Abroad

Moving to a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with many challenges, especially if you have a pet. Preparing your pet for an international move goes beyond just physical logistics. Your pet is a cherished part of your family and deserves the same level of care and consideration during this significant transition. Communication with pets may not be as straightforward, but preparing them mentally for the journey is very important. Start by gradually getting them used to the idea of a new environment, different smells, and potentially unfamiliar surroundings. By doing this, you can help ease their anxiety and make the move smoother for them. Remember, your pet’s well-being is just as important as any other aspect of the move.

However, the key to preparing your pet for an overseas move is to approach the process with patience, understanding, and love. By taking the time to help your furry friend adjust to the upcoming changes, you can ensure that they feel secure and supported throughout the journey. And when you finally reunite them in your new home country, the joy and relief of being together again will make all the effort and planning worthwhile.

1. Create a Timeline

Preparing your pet for an overseas relocation requires careful planning and attention to detail. It’s essential to create a comprehensive timeline that acts as a roadmap for vet appointments and important paperwork. Neglecting the county’s requirement could potentially risk your furry friend’s entry. By maintaining a well-structured checklist and calendar, you can guarantee that no important task is overlooked throughout this significant process.

What to Include in Your Timeline:

Research Country Requirement: Start by researching the pet import regulations of your destination country. Note all necessary vaccinations, health certificates, and quarantine requirements. For example, there are strict quarantine rules in Australia, New Zealand etc., so you must research before travelling to these countries.

Vet Appointments: Schedule all vet visits, ensuring they align with the timing requirement of the destination country.

Document Preparation: Plan when to gather and organise all required documentation, including health certificates, vaccination records, and microchip information.

Travel Arrangement: Book flights and, if necessary, arrange professional pet relocation services or contact Ferndale Kennels well in advance.

2. Talk with Your Vet

One of the first things on your timeline should be an appointment with your vet. To ensure your pet’s health and compliance with regulations, you should follow a proper procedure to identify essential health requirements and gather the necessary paperwork. Each country has its own requirements for pet travel, which can include a microchip, vaccinations, blood tests, specific timing requirements, or waiting periods. You’ll need to follow all the rules so you don’t run into any issues when your pet arrives at your destination. Ferndale is Veterinary owned so we have good tips, too. Reach out and ask us!

Key Vet Appointment Tasks:

Heath Check: Ensure your pet is healthy and fit for travel.

Vaccinations and Treatments: Administer necessary vaccinations and treatment as per the destination country’s requirements.

Microchipping: If not already done, have your pet microchipped. 

Health Certificate: Obtain a health certificate from your vet, which will be required by airlines and the destination country. 

3. Consult with a Professional

Pet relocation companies like Ferndale Kennels have extensive knowledge of the complexities involved in transporting pets. We have 30 years of experience in pet travel, we have the professional knowledge, connections, and facilities to ensure that travelling with a pet is smooth and enjoyable. We take pride in offering complete door-to-door pet relocation services globally or simply assisting with the parts that you need help with. You can save time and have peace of mind knowing that your pet’s journey is in expert hands.

Benefits of Professional Pet Relocation Services:

Expertise: Professional Pet travel agencies are familiar with the regulations and the requirements of different countries.

Documentation: A pet travel agency can help with all the necessary paperwork, ensuring everything is in order.

Logistics Management: Pet travel agency will handle the transportation process, including pickup, delivery, and coordination with airlines.

4. Acclimate your Pet to their Crate

Every pet travelling by air is required to be transported in an IATA-compliant carrier or crate that meets the safety and durability standards. To best prepare your furry friend for the journey, it is recommended to purchase the crate well in advance and get them acclimated. This allows them a large amount of time to familiarise themselves with their new spaces, ensuring they feel comfortable when departure day arrives.

Steps to Acclimate Your Pet:

Early Introduction: Introduce the crate to your pet well before the move.

Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praise to encourage your pet to spend time in the crate.

Familiar Items: Place familiar bedding or toys inside the crate to make it more inviting.

Gradual Increase: Gradually increase the amount of time your pet spends in the crate to build their comfort level.

5. Decide Which Pet Belongings to Bring Along

When relocating to a new country, downsizing becomes essential. Moving household items can incur high costs, especially when transitioning to a smaller living space. It’s crucial to sift through your pet’s belongings, such as their cherished dog beds and beloved cat toys. When your pet flies, they won’t be able to bring any luggage with them, so keep that in mind during your packing and planning process. The only items that pets can fly with are their original paperwork, travel kennel, food/water bowls that attach to the kennel, a thin blanket, a t-shirt or towel that smells familiar, and a crate pad (no more than 3 inches thick). Other items run the risk of getting lost or won’t be accepted by the airline. Pay extra attention that you don’t pack away your pet’s paperwork for travel, or you could run into major issues later.

Packing Tips:

Essential Documents: Keep all original paperwork and health certificates with you.

Comfort Items: Include a thin blanket, a t-shirt, or a towel that smells like home.

Food and Water Bowls: Use attachable bowls for food and water.

Crate Pad: Ensure the crate pad is no thicker than 3 inches.

6. The Day Before Departure

As you near the final stages of preparation, feeling the weight of completing countless tasks to ready your family for the upcoming move, you find yourself on the brink of the ultimate moment. Tomorrow marks the eagerly awaited Big Day for your pet. (For families relocating to countries with quarantine requirements, sending pets ahead is a common choice.) Surprisingly, a sense of calm washes over you, reassured by your thorough readiness.

Final Preparations:

Double-check paperwork: Ensure all original documents are on hand.

Prepare the Kennel: Line the kennel with a thin blanket, t-shirt, or towel that smells like home and a crate pad under 3 inches thick.

Food and Water: Pack a zip-lock baggie with 2-3 servings of food to go on top of the kennel. Fill the water bowl halfway with water and stick it in the freezer for the night to keep it fresh longer.

Flight Confirmation: Confirm your pet’s flight and check the flight status and weather conditions.

Quality Time: Allocate extra time to engage with your furry companion. A good workout will help alleviate pre-travel jitters for both of you. Shower them with affection and enjoy some quality bonding time.

7. Travel Day

The key to a successful departure day for your furry friend is to radiate a sense of calm. While it may not be easy, remember that your demeanour sets the tone for your pet. By staying positive and relaxed, you can help your furry companion feel at ease as you embark on the final pre-flight check and head to the airport. Before you know it, you’ll be joyfully reunited with your beloved pet in your new home country.

Departure Day Tips:

Stay Calm: Maintain calm and positive behavior to reassure your pet.

Final Checks: Ensure all paperwork is in order, the kennel is prepared, and food and water are packed.

Arrival at the Airport: Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to handle any last-minute issues.

8. Prepare for Quarantine

Some countries require pets to undergo a quarantine period upon arrival. This can range from a few days to several months, depending on the country’s regulations. Here’s how to prepare:

Steps to Prepare for Quarantine:

Research Quarantine Facilities: Find out where the quarantine facility is located and what the conditions are like.

Understand Procedures: Familiarize yourself with the quarantine procedures and any documentation you’ll need to provide.

Stay in Touch: Many facilities allow you to visit or contact your pet during quarantine. Arrange visits if possible, or check if you can send items to your pet.

Knowing what to expect can help reduce stress for both you and your pet.


Moving overseas with a pet requires careful planning and preparation. By following these eight essential steps, you can ensure that your pet has a safe and comfortable transition to their new home. Remember, the key is to start early and stay organized. With the right preparation, you and your furry friend can embark on this new adventure together with confidence and peace of mind. And when you and your furry family member finally arrive at your destination, shower them with kisses, cuddles, and of course, some tasty treats!

Dr Matthew Murdoch

Dr Matthew Murdoch

Veterinary Surgeon, Director

Dr Matthew is a UK-trained practicing Veterinarian and a globally recognized expert in pet travel who is committed to providing safe and smooth journeys for your beloved pets. His compassion and care for animals are second to none.