Pet Relocation Costs: How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Pet?

How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Pet? The bond between humans and their pets is unbreakable, transcending borders and cultures. When the need arises to relocate your furry friend to a different country, whether due to a job change, family move, or personal reasons, it can be both a daunting and emotional journey. One of the key aspects that concern pet owners is the cost associated with flying their beloved pets. Pet shipping costs vary greatly based on several factors, including the size and species of your pet, as well as the departure and destination locations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricate details of pet relocation costs, shedding light on various aspects of the process.

How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Pet

Table of Contents

  1. International Pet Shipping Costs
  2. Pet Vaccinations and Medical Costs
  3. Obtaining a Pet Health Certificate
  4. Calculating the Cost of Flying a Pet
  5. Selecting the Right Travel Crate for Your Pet
  6. Navigating Customs Costs and Requirements
  7. Country-Specific Pet Regulations
  8. Next Steps in Pet Relocation
  9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

01. International Pet Shipping Costs

Embarking on an international pet relocation journey requires a solid understanding of the associated costs. Generally, moving a cat abroad can cost between £500 and £1,500, while transporting dogs can range from £1,000 to £4,000. These figures, however, are only rough estimates. The actual cost can vary based on a multitude of factors, such as the airline chosen, the specific destination, and the size of the pet.

How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Pet

For instance, companies like Pet Relocation in the USA charge approximately $2,500 to $3,000 for transporting a small pet internationally. The cost further fluctuates based on the size of the animal:

  • Small dog: £1,900 to £1,400
  • Large dog: £3,000 to £2,500
  • Cat: £1,500 to £995

For a more precise cost estimate tailored to your pet and its unique circumstances, obtaining a specific quote from a reputable pet relocation service, such as Starwood Pet Travel, is recommended.

02. Pet Vaccinations and Medical Costs

Before your pet embarks on its international journey, a comprehensive health assessment and vaccination regimen are imperative. Different countries have varying health check requirements, but common necessities include microchipping and rabies vaccinations. A microchip, ensuring pet identification, costs approximately £33, while rabies vaccinations range from £15 to £40, depending on the duration of protection.

How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Pet

Additional vaccinations against specific diseases might also be necessary, such as Leishmaniosis. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your pet meets all the necessary health checks to prevent quarantine upon arrival.

03. Obtaining a Pet Health Certificate

Once your pet passes the health assessment, it’s issued a health certificate. This crucial document attests to your pet’s fitness for travel and its compliance with all health and vaccination requirements. Costs for health certificates can vary significantly based on the medical tests performed. For example, in the US, a health exam and certificate for a cat or dog can cost around $600, inclusive of vaccine fees.

For travel within the EU, a pet passport, typically costing around £120, is required. However, due to changes resulting from Brexit, UK nationals now need an animal health certificate to travel within the EU.

04. Calculating the Cost of Flying a Pet

Flying with a pet typically involves transporting them in the cargo hold, as only small pets that fit in a travel crate beneath the seat can travel in the cabin. The cost of flying a pet can range from as low as £400 to as high as £4,500. This wide range hinges on factors like pet size, weight, and travel route.

Airlines have varying rules for pet transport, with costs ranging from £95 to £600 depending on the airline and whether the pet is in the cabin or the hold. Partnering with a knowledgeable pet relocation service can aid in navigating these complex airline regulations.

05. Selecting the Right Travel Crate for Your Pet

Each pet must travel in an appropriately sized travel crate that meets the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) requirements. The crate should allow your pet to stand and lie down comfortably. Crate costs vary, ranging from around £15 for extra small crates to over £100 for larger ones. Starwood Pet Travel recommends a crate priced between £65 and £300.

Some airlines offer the option to rent an IATA-approved crate for the journey, potentially reducing costs.

06. Navigating Customs Costs and Requirements

Customs clearance is an integral part of the journey for both humans and pets. Most countries subject newly arrived pets to a veterinary exam and a document review, incurring fees ranging from £30 to over £400, depending on factors like import tariffs and veterinary inspection costs.

07. Country-Specific Pet Regulations

Countries around the world have distinct regulations governing pet relocation. To illustrate the diverse requirements, we’ll delve into the specifics of moving pets to popular ex-pat destinations:

  • Australia: Strict regulations demand planning well in advance, with steps including rabies vaccinations, blood tests, and a minimum quarantine period of 10 days.
  • Canada: The process is straightforward, with rabies vaccinations and documentation preparation being key requirements.
  • France and Germany: EU member states share similar rules, necessitating rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and adherence to certain disease prevention measures.
  • New Zealand: Stringent rules apply, permitting only specific species like cats and dogs. Rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and lengthy quarantine periods are essential.
  • United Kingdom: The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) streamlines the process, requiring rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and adherence to specific travel timelines.
  • United States: While flexible regarding rabies vaccinations for some countries, the US mandates health checks and inspections for all arriving pets.

08. Next Steps in Pet Relocation

Given the complexity of pet relocation, engaging in a professional pet relocation service is highly recommended. Although these services come at a cost, their expertise significantly simplifies the process. By partnering with such experts, pet owners can ensure compliance with all regulations, save time, and minimize the stress on their furry companions.

09. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How much does it cost to ship a dog? The cost of shipping a dog varies based on size, weight, breed, and travel details. A rough estimate ranges from £1,000 to £4,000.
  2. How much does it cost to ship a cat? Shipping a cat is generally cheaper than shipping a dog. The cost varies between £500 and £1,500, contingent on factors like size, breed, and travel route.
  3. Can pets fly alone? Yes, pets can fly alone in the cargo hold, secured in an appropriate travel crate. Specialized livestock holds to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.


Pet relocation involves careful planning, attention to regulations, and budget considerations. Costs associated with flying pets internationally can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors. By understanding the various components of pet relocation costs, from vaccinations and health certificates to travel crate expenses and customs fees, pet owners can embark on this journey well-prepared and ensure a smooth transition for their beloved companions. Partnering with experienced pet relocation services, such as Starwood Pet Travel, can alleviate stress, simplify the process, and provide peace of mind throughout the entire journey.

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Imran Qayyum is a writer from Cyprus, holding an MA in Creative Writing from Durham University. Their work has been featured in HAD, Electric Literature, and LitReactor. Currently residing in London.

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