Our pawsources include helpful guides on preparing your pet for travel, top tips and myth busters, as well as answering some of the most commonly (and some less common) asked questions we receive.
Paws Of Wisdom
If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please do reach out to us via our chat function or by email or phone with your pawsonal relocation specialist.
Where on the plane does my pet travel?
- Manifest cargo
- Excess luggage in the hold
- Excess luggage in the cabin
Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.
When we are putting your pets travel options together, we will consider all these factors and based our recommendations on what is safest for them and least painful for your pocket.
What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?
If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on ‘volumetric weight’, in other words, the size of their travel crate.
If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.
Is it safe for my pet to travel in the hold of the plane?
The hold is temperature controlled, the level of which can be monitored throughout the flight. The pilot has a full list of your and any other pets traveling. The pets are the last to loaded onto the plane prior to departure. During the flight, the hold is maintained at a constant temperature and very dimly lit. On arrival they are the first to be off loaded and taken immediately to the arrivals building.
Can my pet travel in the cabin?
Your pet will be in a soft travel bag and will be required to remain under the seat in front of you throughout the journey. Due to the seating configuration of most business class cabins this type of travel is typically only allowed for small pets traveling with passengers in economy.
Due to above limitations those airlines allowing such methods of travel typically restrict the weight of pets (including their travel bag) to 8kg or less.
Is it better for my pet to travel in the cabin with me?
Popular opinion is that it is better for your pet with be with you in the cabin. Whilst we cannot claim to know your pets needs better than you, we do strongly advise the following points to be considered:-
If you are nervous your pet will feel this and may also be more nervous as a result.
The cabin is brightly lit, noisy and the space they have to occupy, small.
You also cannot guarantee that you will be seated next to a pet loving passenger.
Our personal opinion is that for the majority of pets the hold enables them to travel in a larger and a less sensory disturbing environment. That said, for certain breeds of pets, this is the only option for summer travel.
How do I decide which is the best type of travel and airline for my pet?
Certain options are restricted either by the airline, country you are traveling to or both. Where more than one of the above forms of travel are an option, we will discuss the pro’s and con’s of each. Cost is a factor also however we won’t necessarily advise the cheapest option.
First and foremost we will advise on the route and options that we feel are the safest and most appropriate for your pet so that you can make an informed decision, with our experienced guidance, based on the thousands of pets who have traveled with us around the world
Do I have to be on the same flight?
If your pet is traveling as excess luggage they must be on the same flight as either yourself or a nominated travel partner. Your pet is under your (or their travel partners) ticket and can only travel on this basis.
If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet does not need to be on the same flight. You can be on the same flight but in either case it makes no difference to their ability to travel.
Is my pet included as part of my luggage allowance or have to be paid for separately?
Regardless of how your pet is traveling (cargo, excess luggage – hold, excess luggage – cabin) the cost of your pets’ travel is completely separate to any other luggage allowance you are entitled to, whether you are using that allowance or not.
For pets traveling as excess luggage, individual airline policies dictate how their ticket is priced, however they are all based on similar principles; combined total weight of pet / crate. For some airlines, there is a single fixed cost up to a maximum total weight. Others charge by the exact kilo as determined at check in. Others have several tiers of payment determined by weight and size of crate.
For pets traveling as manifest cargo the cost of the flight is based on ‘volume weight’, i.e., the size of the crate your pet is traveling in. The per kg rate will be determined by the destination and will also include fixed airline handling charges.
We will advise you on the cost as per the airline on which you are traveling and the weight of your pet/their crate.
How long before the flight does my pet have to check in?
Typically, for pets traveling from UAE, we will ensure that all pre-travel vet and airline formalities are completed several days prior to travel so that check in can be no earlier/later than three hours prior to the flight.
We will advise you specifically on the timeline as part of your overall travel plan, which we go through with you during the lead up to the day of travel.
Is it safe for my pet to travel in the summer?
We take several precautions to maximise your pets safety.
Where possible, we book over night or early morning flights that ensure your pet is traveling to and from the aircraft at the coolest times of the day.
We complete all pre-flight formalities with the airline prior to the day of travel, ensuring on the day of travel, we are able to check the pets in at the latest possible point on the day of travel.
We opt for the most direct routes and trusted airlines so the time your pet is only exposed to outside ground temperatures is kept to the bare minimum.
The summer is in fact one of the busiest times of year for pet travel. If we or your vet feel that your particular pet may have special considerations restricting their travel during the hottest months of the year, we will discuss these with you.
How can I help relax my pet ready for travel?
Being familiar with their travel crate, being in that crate, traveling in vehicles in that crate, getting used to different sounds and smells, as well as having familiar smells and belongings around them are some of the best ways to help your pet stay relaxed.
Having their travel crate available for them prior to travel and putting their bedding and items that have a familiar smell (such as a t-shirt of yours) is a good start. Encouraging them to go into the crate, using treats or slowly building up their courage by initially, only partly assembling the crate and keeping it in a room that it you and your pet are often in, is a good way to start.
If you feel that your pet will be nervous, regardless of these preparations and therefore there is little benefit to attempting crate training, this is all the more reason why you should not miss this stage of your pets’ travel preparation. If you feel professional assistance is necessary, we can highly recommend our friends at Dog Tags Training.
Aside from crate training, how can I help relax my pet?
Thunder shirts are a very effective option. Swaddling your pet in this closely fitted garment, assists in making them feel safe and secure. Some pets will need longer than others to get used to their Thunder Shirt. It is critical to also get the fit right. Too tight and it will be restrictive, too loose and it won’t have the same effect.
Natural calming remedies in the form of sprays and collars are reasonably effective. They are longer term solutions and do need to be administered for a sustained period of time prior to and on the day of travel.
Again, you should take time to familiarize your pet with any of these calming solution however in our experience, they are very successful, with the majority of our clients.
Can I sedate my pet?
Sedation of your pet is extremely dangerous as they are subsequently restricted in their ability to regulate their breathing and core body temperature.
Airlines will not accept your pet for travel if they believe they have been sedated.
Does my pet get fed and watered during their journey?
We provide your pets water bowl, which is filled with water and frozen in advance of the flight.On the day of travel the frozen ‘ice bowl’ is taken to the airport in a cool bag and put into your pets’ travel crate immediately prior to their crate being secured and them taken through for boarding. The ice will slowly defrost ensuring that there is no spillage of water as they are moved to the flight and ensures a supply of water during their journey.
The need for food is not so critical. In fact, we generally advise for access to food to be restricted in advance of and throughout their flight, so they are not traveling on a full stomach. By fasting your pet for 8 – 12 hours prior to their flight and not putting food in their crate during the journey, it reduces the risk of them experiencing travel sickness or their need to toilet during travel.
They may be a little hungry, however this is widely considered to be less of a discomfort or safety risk than traveling on a full stomach. during their journey.
What happens to my pet on the day of travel?
Prior to your pet’s day of travel, we will provide you with a detailed travel plan. This will include details of timings and advice on preparations during the 24 hours leading up to the day of travel, such as the timing for their last meal prior to fasting, pre-flight toilet breaks and walks, etc.
On the day of travel, your pet will need to be checked in a certain amount of time prior to their flight. Most of the time, this is circa 3 hours prior to the flight departure time. We will advise you on the specific timings relevant to your pets travel.
If traveling as excess luggage, we will meet you at the departure lounge with your pet, check them in with you at the check in desk, install their ice bowl and seal the crate with cable ties. Only once they have cleared all their security checks, are taken through to the animal care area and you are free to proceed through passport control, will we leave. On the day, this process will take between 30 – 60 minutes on average.
If traveling as manifest cargo, the process is similar, with the exception that you do not need to be there. Once your pet is secured in their crate and documentation handed in, they will be taken through to the animal care area where they will wait until it is time to board the flight. Only at the point that they are taken through will we leave. On the day, this process will take around 15 minutes.
What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?
If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. This should take a few minutes, after which you will be able to leave the airport. This process generally takes no more time than the normal arrival process itself.
If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by our colleagues based at the arriving airport, or if arriving into the UAE, ourselves. In some locations, the official vet will also be involved in the arrival process, but not all. The timing for this depends on the location and will be advised to you at the time of putting your travel plan together. In all cases, the pets are attended to immediately they arrive into the centre and looked after throughout the process.
What does your quote include? Is there anything that I have to arrange?
To summarise, we check your pets vaccination and health records, prepare and verify their travel documents, obtain the right travel permits, organize relevant veterinary checks, book flights, coordinate with our network on the receiving end, meet you at the airport and / or pick your pet up and check them in for their flight, ensuring everything runs smoothly - the list goes on and on!
Our relocators will be with you every step of the way. Whether you want us to personally take care of each and every step or if you prefer to be more involved, we ensure everything from start to finish is all set, making the process as stress free and seamless as it can be.
Can you arrange everything for my pet to travel even if I am not there?
We are fully licensed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) as well as having a valid trade license. This means that we can complete all the departure and arrival formalities on your behalf without you being there.
We are also members of IPATA and ATA, professional and globally renowned pet travel organisations, which means we partner with equally qualified companies at the opposite side of your pet’s journey, ensuring a full door to door service.
How long do the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?
In some cases we can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days although this is a little extreme. In others it can be up to six months or more.
Ensuring you do not miss a vaccination due date (even by one day), being aware of the specific country requirements and working closely with your relocator from the earliest point possible, will avoid any subsequent unnecessary delay in your pets travel.
Can you arrange for my pet to be collected from my home and delivered to my new home, in addition to the flight?
We have our own fully insured, climate controlled and licensed vehicles here in UAE. Elsewhere we ensure we only partner with equally qualified and equipped partners.
If opting for our full door to door service you can be confident in the knowledge that your pets journey will be seamless, from departure when you wave them off to arrival when you or your family are there to welcome them home.
How much does it cost for my pet to travel?
We are often asked if we can give ‘an approximate’ cost for a pets travel. This is difficult for us to give without having most, if not all of the above points, which is why, instead of giving a vague, possibly inaccurate figure, it is our preference to put together a full quote for you, based on your individual pet. This takes into account your specific circumstances and will be based on the most cost effective (but primarily safest) route and method of travel for your pet.
The key point for anyone planning for their pet to travel, is not to assume what your pet travel cost will be, based on what someone else has paid. It is always best to work on facts, provided to you by a professional.
Is it cheaper for me to travel with my pet as excess luggage and then complete my journey by road?
The simple answer to this question is that it is not always the case, so we do the math for you. We review and cost all options and advise on those we consider most feasible. Taking into account the costs and your personal travel priorities, we offer advice and guidance on all the available options so that you can make an informed decision on what suits you best.
What a lot of our clients find quite surprising is that unless you are traveling with multiple and/or large pets the direct route can actually be cheaper (or at least equal to) taking into account all the related costs.
Why should I use a pet relocation service rather than doing it myself?
The general assumption is that it is cheaper to do your own pet relocation. Of course, not having to pay a professional relocation fee can keep your costs lower but this isn’t always the case – in fact, most people are surprised at how often it is not.
Requirements differ from country to country and airline to airline.Depending on where your pet is traveling to, the process can be reasonably straight forward. In other locations it is more complicated with the rules and regulations changing sometimes with no prior warning.
Getting these requirements wrong by missing a step, including steps that are unnecessary, using an out of date document leading to issues on arrival and risking additional costs to quarantine your pet where otherwise this would be unnecessary. All of these examples not only add to your costs, they add to your stress and risk your pets travel not running as smoothly as it should.
We ensure that you only take the necessary steps needed for the location your pet is traveling to, saving you unnecessary expense. We remain up to date on mandatory requirements and deal with all the required authorities ensuring everything is completed as it should be, saving you unnecessary stress.
Simply put, our expert team and trusted network of colleagues worldwide, are here to ensure you and your pets travel via the most the stress-free (and ideally, cost effective) route.
Can I keep costs lower by doing some of the work myself?
Therefore, whilst some of the optional services we offer can be removed to lower your costs, we hope that you agree that the cost of your relocation is as fair and affordable as it can be.
I heard that it is cheaper for multiple pets to travel together
Certain paperwork is applicable for up to five (or in some cases) more pets. Certain flight charges, for example, airline handling charges are fixed per flight. Arrival fees (where they are applicable) can often reduce on a pro-rata basis. Our fees are per booking basis, per pet.
When you combine all these factors, it is completely feasible that the more pets you have, your travel costs per pet can be as low as half or even a quarter of the cost of one pet traveling on its own.
Which is best, a wooden or plastic travel crate?
If your pet is traveling as excess luggage – in hold, we will typically advise a plastic crate is the better option as they tend to be a little lighter than the wooden travel crates. This decision is also generally dictated by most (not all) airlines not allowing wooden crates for this form of travel.
If your pet is traveling as excess luggage – in cabin, we always advise a soft travel bag. When in cabin, the pet is required by the airline to be placed under the seat in front of you. By traveling in a soft bag, this enables you to maximise the size of the bag (within airline guidelines) to ensure the most comfort for your pet. Some of the bags available on the market also have an extendable side which gives further space during the journey.
If your pet is traveling as cargo, we will review the size of your pet and advise either a plastic or wooden custom-built crate. The decision between the two will be based on cost as the cost of your pets flight will be based on ‘volumetric weight’ (the size), not actual weight of the crate. For the larger pets, in particular those which are taller, longer and skinnier, the custom-built crate will certainly be the more cost-effective solution overall. This is because for a lot of larger breeds, those crates that are long and tall enough, can often be a lot wider than they need to be.
We provide both standard and custom-built crate options. Check out our detailed how to measure your pet guide here (ADD LINK) and we will calculate and recommend the appropriate size and type of travel crate for your pet.
How do I know which is the right crate size?
There are global industry regulations stipulating the formula for calculating the optimum crate size for your pet, based on your crates size. These ensure that your pet has sufficient room to lie, sit and stand comfortably. They must also be able to turn around inside the crate. For certain breeds (bracphelic) the dimensions of the crate must be at least 10% greater, to ensure more airflow around the pet, mitigating the higher risk that they are at due to their physiology.
We will assist you in determining if a crate is correctly sized for your pet. However, we will need accurate weights and measurements from you, specifically their length, width, height and length of foreleg, determined as follows:-
Length - from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail/bum – do not include the tail length.
Width - from left to right at the widest part of your pets body, when viewing from above
Height - from the top of the head (or ear tip if they are a breed whose ears stand upright) to the floor
Foreleg - from the foot to the elbow
We also carry a full range of all standard crate sizes so in case you are still unsure as to which size your pet will be most comfortable, we can help you make than decision by giving you the opportunity to try them out in the two most feasible options. Where you are having a custom built crate, we will discuss your pets dimensions, the resulting crate size and where appropriate, if we would recommend adding a little on the dimensions to cater for specific needs, for example, a little extra on the length as your pets lays in a ‘splayed’ position, or a little extra on the width as your pet is elderly and a little arthritic.
In all cases, we will ensure your pet has the correct size and type of crate they need to be as comfortable as possible during their trip.
I already have a travel crate – can I use that?
Pets should be able to stand, sit and lay comfortably while in their crates without having to touch the sides and having clear space between their head and the roof of the crate when standing and sitting. If your pet is a bracheltic breed, their crate will need to be at least 10% larger than it would otherwise need to be.
Where you have an existing crate, even if your pet has travelled in it previously, we will ask you to provide us with both the measurements of your pet, the crate and photo’s of both. We will then be able to advise if your existing crate is suitable or if it is necessary (or more cost effective) to replace this.
We provide both standard and custom-built crate options. Check out how to measure your pet here (ADD LINK) and we will calculate and recommend the appropriate size and type of travel crate for your pet.
How do I get my pet used to their travel crate?
Is my pets crate rented or is it ours to keep after they have traveled?
Your travel crate is yours to keep. However, if you feel that you absolutely will not need it once your pet has completed their journey, we can sometimes arrange for it to be donated to a local animal welfare group or in certain cases, it can be shipped back to us to be used for one of the many rescue relocations we assist with.
Are you able to board my pet before or after travel?
We have our own cattery and kennels here in Dubai with our colleagues at BarkPark Dubai. We also work with a number of other boarding facilities here in the UAE and also in all of the countries our clients fly to so that we can offer boarding for your pet at any part of their journey.
Where possible, the four-legged members of our team have pawsonally tested the facilities. Otherwise, work with our colleagues very closely to ensure that your pet’s staycation is at the best location possible.
Does my pet have to go in a travel crate when it travels in your car or other vehicles?
What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?
Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.
Does my pet need a blood test?
Not only is the need for a particular blood test important, certain countries will require a certain methology for that test and even stipulate which laboratory they will accept such a test from. Your vet will be able to draw the bloods for these tests, but it is essential that they are sent to an approved laboratory and tested via an approved method.
Your vet may give advice on such requirements, however we strongly recommend you verify any such advice with your chosen relocation professional, as they are the one who is best placed to be up to-date with the most current requirements relating specifically to pet travel.
Does my pet need to go through quarantine?
In those cases where quarantine is a part of your pets journey, we will discuss the details with you, including the duration and costs of the quarantine requirement.
Can my pet travel with its own luggage?
Your pet can travel with a small amount of items – bedding so long as it fits in the crate, their lead and harness – attached to the outside of the crate, a small amount of food – in an airtight bag taped to the top of their crate. Other than this, there is no facility for any other items or luggage, to travel with them.
Do I have to restrict water and food before my pet travels?
We do recommend that traveling pets should be food fasted for around 8 – 12 hours before their flight. This reduces the chances of them suffering from travel sickness and also the likelihood of them needing to toilet in their crate during their journey.
A final toilet walk immediately prior them going to the airport for check in, is also a critical part of them being comfortable during their trip.
How long does it take to arrange for my pet to fly?
Our Ready Steady Paws program ensures that we have your pet booked into our diary (even if a travel date is still to be confirmed), with all documents checked, verified and travel papers / flights prepared.
In case your travel date subsequently needs to move forward for any reason, or if you are only able to confirm a date at short notice, we can then be far more responsive in getting your pets on a flight sooner than we would otherwise.