Moving abroad with a pet: a checklist against all the odds

Moving abroad with a pet anytime soon? Put your pet first. It's true, nowadays pet traveling restrictions are relaxing, making it easier for pet owners to move around the globe with our beloved cats and dogs. But this does not mean you should underestimate preparation.

Moving abroad with a pet anytime soon? Put your pet first. It’s true, nowadays pet traveling restrictions are relaxing, making it easier for pet owners to move around the globe with our beloved cats and dogs. But this does not mean you should underestimate preparation.

Moving with your pet involves a lot of preparation. If you are considering moving to a foreign country, this preparation has to be even more thorough. To make it easier for you, we have broken it down into some simple steps:

moving abroad with your pet: a checklist
1. Ask for advice

You should never start an adventure abroad with your pet without prior counselling.

To be well informed you should:

  • Do your research
  • Visit your vet

Online, you can find useful information (e.g. issued by the European Commission) about travelling abroad with your pet. Check it out and then plan a visit to your vet.

If you go to the vet before your journey, you get the chance to exchange opinions with other pet owners. 

Once at the vet, you should request a full checkup and listen carefully to your vet’s feedback. It is very important to check your pet’s health before traveling.

Make sure to get an updated rabies vaccination and don’t forget that your dog’s pet passport should be signed by your vet. If this has not been signed yet, that’s the perfect time to get it done.

2. Moving abroad with a pet: is he/she ready?

  1. Think ahead about the challenges your dog will be facing
  2. Inform yourself about pet regulations

1. One of the most difficult challenge for your dog is going to be getting his bearings in the new environment.

Knowing this before leaving should not put you off. But rather, it should get you on the lookout for some helpful precautions. One of these is using GPS location systems like the one developed by Tractive.

2. Not only should you review customs laws issued by the country you wish to move to, but also general pet regulations in the country should be known. If you haven’t decided where to go yet, or you are torn between countries, get some help by answering questions like:

  • Are dogs allowed in bars/restaurants or on public transport?
  • Are there any pet restrictions I should know before moving?
  • Are there enough green areas or parks?

3. Get your documents! 

As stated, to travel abroad with your pet you will need a pet passport. The Pet Travel Scheme (“PETS”), a European framework for traveling abroad with your pets, makes it mandatory to travel with such a document in order to make sure that your pet is not forbidden to enter the country because of quarantine measures. The pet passport is signed by your vet and it includes:

  • Your pet’s data (microchip number included)
  • Confirmation of rabies vaccination (within a minimum of 21 days)
  • Your vet’s specs and signature

4. Ready, set, go: a smooth journey is what your dog loves

The big day is here and you are ready to take off. To make sure your dog feels comfortable during the journey, no matter the means of travel, you should remember the following:

  • A tired dog can better handle the journey and maybe get some good sleep
  • Don’t forget to include your dog’s favorite toys in his or her carrier

5. Settling in 

Place toys, blankets and all your pet’s favorite things in the new accommodation to recreate a familiar place. Allow your dog some time to get used to the new environment. Take your pet on a walk around your new neighborhood. It will take some time but once a new routine is established, your pet will be ready to feel at home.


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