Top tips for moving abroad with your dog


Moving your dog abroad with you is probably cheaper and easier than you think, says Christopher Nye from overseas property and relocation specialist Property Guides. He explains your top need-to-knows when emigrating with your dog.

This is a guest post but we believe in bringing you all the dog-related information you may need. If you’re planning a move abroad this will help you to find out what you need to do to move abroad with your dog.

According to United Nations data, around 1.2million British people live overseas. However, the UN doesn’t appear to keep records on how many of those took a dog with them, so we can only guess. 

At Property Guides, where we help British move abroad and buy holiday homes in the sun, clients occasionally mention that they are going to move abroad one day, they just need to wait for their beloved pet to be spending its days napping on a more celestial sofa.

However, there’s really no need to wait for your dog to pass away – why not take it with you? Thousands do every year, and the prices needn’t add to much more than a fortnight in a boarding kennels, 

But you do need to plan in advance, especially now that the European Union’s Pet passport scheme does not apply to us any more.

Here are your top need to knows.

Paperwork for your pooch 

For dogs moving within the EU, with the pet passport finished for British pets, as well as the usual shots for rabies and tapeworm treatment you will need to obtain an animal health certificate. This will all cost around £200 per dog and only lasts for one trip.

If you live abroad and wish to travel back to the UK with your dog, the good news is that your dog can be registered in the EU with a pet passport and that will be valid traveling to and from the UK without the need to get an animal health certificate.

Traveling further afield the paperwork is likely to be more onerous and the time required a little longer. So do contact your vet well in advance and check the details on that country’s immigration website.

Traveling by car

For transport within mainland Europe you will normally find it easier to transport a dog by car. Yes, even as far as the Mediterranean. In most Channel ports and the Channel tunnel your dog simply sits in the back of the car, at a cost of around £20 each way.

Most people moving to Mediterranean hotspots use the opportunity to transport other precious items that they don’t wish to risk to air freight.

Your dog will need to be at least four months old because the rabies jab cannot be given before three months; then there is a 21-day wait after that.

Travel by plane

Dogs have to be transported as cargo, in a crate. If that sounds a little impersonal for your beloved Tricki Woo, there are – thankfully – strict rules on the size of the crate, the length of time they can be in it and the food and drink they must be provided with. 

If going it alone, without a pet transportation specialist, do speak to the airline about the size of the crate and any special requirements. The crate itself will cost upwards from £30, and you can pay ten times that for a “sky kennel” with all the bells, whistles, absorbent bedding and integral feeding bowls. Unless you want to hear your dog whining all the way to Auckland, “crate-train” your dog as much as possible.

Most budget airlines won’t carry a dog even in the hold, and some airlines that would do normally, will not from the UK, because of the cargo designation. However once within Europe many airlines will allow you to carry your dog in the cabin with you.

Of all the countries where we most frequently emigrate, Australia as the toughest rules on bringing in dogs. To begin with, your dog will need to go to Melbourne and be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days (but normally closer to 30) at A$29 (£15 per day). That’s the cheap bit. Then there are around A$1,400 in other charges, adding up to well over £1,000. That’s on top of the flight there, and onwards, unless you’re remaining in Melbourne. That may sound a lot – but it’s only fractionally more than the average cost of a lockdown Cavapoo puppy.

Taking a dog to the USA and Canada is, in comparison, very simple. Costs start at around £1,500 for a dog.  

When and where

With extremes of weather becoming the norm, beware of moving your dog from an English summer that averages temperatures in the low 20°s Celsius to one where summers are likely to be in excess of 40°C. If moving to a hot country, your dog will appreciate being moved in that country’s winter. 

Your dog should soon start to enjoy the new smells, but beware of wildlife that your dog won’t be used to. While your dog may enjoy disappearing into the undergrowth in search of foxes and rabbits in the British countryside, an encounter with a coyote, alligator or eagle in a more exotic location will come as a horrible shock to both of you.

However, with plenty of care and attention to your dog’s needs, there is no reason why it won’t enjoy the move as much as you do. Should you ever feel a little homesick, your dog may not let you! And what a great conversation starter when you meet new people!

City Dog Expert

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