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International Pet Relocation Guidelines

International Guidelines for Shipping Your Pet

These guidelines are general requirements. Due to the dynamic nature of international pet relocation, these guidelines can vary depending on destination, origin, airline, and breed of animal.

Date of Departure

Many airlines restrict the transportation of pets during warmer months. This is especially true for snub-nose dogs as well as some snub-nosed cats. Try to plan an overseas pet relocation before July and after September, depending on your geographic location. Note: Residents in Florida may not be able to book a snub-nose dog on a flight out of southern Florida under any circumstances. AE Pets can arrange pet ground transportation to a cooler-climate airport.

Size and Weight

We will need the size and weight of your pet(s). Most importantly, we will require the height of your pet in a neutral standing position, measured from the ground to the tip of his or her ears.


Most pets will need to have a microchip implanted before rabies, or other vaccinations are administered. If your current microchip is the older 10-digit sequence, you may have to supply your own scanner to customs agents. The current microchip protocol is a 15-digit format.


Most pets will need to be current on their rabies vaccines. The rabies shot must be administered after the microchip has been implanted. AE Pets can coordinate both the microchip implant and rabies vaccination for your pet in addition to other health certifications, vaccines, and examinations, as required.

Other Vaccinations and Certifications

These vary by country of destination and airline and often must follow an exact timeline. More than one trip to the veterinarian may be necessary. The final office visit usually must occur within ten days of the flight. The vaccines and certifications must also be administered by a USDA-accredited veterinarian. AE Pets can take care of all vaccinations and certifications, including all ground transportation to and from a veterinarian. We will simply fetch your pet from your home on these days, at times convenient to your schedule.


AE Pets can provide crates that follow IATA standards for pet air travel. We purchase travel crates from Critter Crates. Every crate they offer is airline-approved, while many other pet store websites offer those that may get rejected by an airline. See

Note: It is advisable to introduce the travel-crate at least one week prior to transport. This allows your pet to become more acclimated with his or her surroundings before being put on a plane for an extended flight.

AE Pets can bring you your crate a week or so prior to export. This will make the flight a little less traumatic for your pet. Below are steps to take if your pet is allowed to acclimate him or herself to the crate a week or more before departure:

  • Place the crate in a room most frequented by family members, preferably near the pet’s food and water dish.
  • Temporarily remove the crate’s swinging door. Throw a treat or a familiar toy in the far end of the crate. Praise the pet as he or she enters and exits the crate for the toy or treat.
  • Do this daily. After several days re-attach the door. A few days after reattachment, shut the door behind your pet, but remain nearby.  Encourage your pet to sleep or rest in the crate, with the crate door open or closed. Try to have a family member or more stay near your pet while they ‘hang out’ in their new temporary home.
  • As your pet becomes more comfortable with the crate, leave him or her there for longer intervals up to the date of departure.

USDA Endorsement

The USDA must endorse all medical paperwork no more than five days prior to departure. The USDA follows strict guidelines on what paperwork they can endorse, and which they will not. AE Pets can take care of this USDA endorsement for you. In order for the process to be more seamless, we recommend having us do all health paperwork and USDA endorsement. Things go much smoother if tasks are not performed on a piece-meal basis.

Preparation of pet and crate for the flight

  • Do not sedate your pet UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
  • Include a blanket or absorbent pad, preferably something from home that smells like home. Note: Do not include anything of value. You may not see it again.
  • Toys are typically not allowed in the crate with the pet while he or she flies.
  • Prepare a baggie of dry dog food. Tape this baggie to the top of the crate.
  • Provide all paperwork relating to your pet’s health and vaccination history to our driver. Photocopies of these documents are acceptable.
  • You may or may not want to fly on the same flight as your pet. That is your choice and has no effect on the process.
  • It is required that the driver and your pet(s) arrive at airport cargo four hours before all international flights. If originating within one of the five boroughs of New York, you need to have your pet ready for pick-up five hours prior to the flight departure.
  • We will be here to provide guidance and answer any questions throughout the process.

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