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  • Writer's pictureMelody Fork

International Pet Shipping Regulations Pet Owners Should Know

Updated: May 8

international pet shipping

Safe pet transportation is essential when travelling or relocating with your pet. It is important to be aware of the current international pet shipping regulations.

So here are the international shipping regulations every pet owner should know before travelling and relocating with their beloved pets. Check this out!

International Pet Shipping Regulations Pet Owners Should Know

Navigating the complex web of regulations is crucial for pet owners to ensure the well-being of our beloved animals and remain on the right side of the law. We will explore the essential rules and guidelines governing responsible pet ownership.

From licensing requirements to health and safety standards, this comprehensive overview aims to equip you with the knowledge necessary to create a safe and legal environment for your pets. 

Whether you're a seasoned pet parent or new to animal companionship, understanding these regulations is fundamental to providing a loving and compliant home for your furry friends.

1. Documentation Requirements

importing pets to Hong Kong

When it comes to international pet shipping, there will be documentation requirements that you will have to meet to be able to travel with your pet internationally. 

In most countries, these documentation requirements often include:

  1. Health certificates

  2. Vaccination records

  3. Microchip identification

  4. Import permits

  5. Quarantine applications

  6. Customs clearance

Familiarising yourself with these documentation requirements before your travel date will allow you and your pet to travel smoothly and stress-free. For more information and guidance, consult a professional pet relocation service.

2. Microchipping and Identification

pet microchipping

In Hong Kong, all dogs over five months must have a 9-digit AVID microchip. Regarding microchipping, ensure your pet's microchip meets the ISO 11784/11785 standard, which is recognised worldwide.

3. Veterinary Preparations

international pet shipping

For your pet to be able to travel internationally, the following requirements will be required depending on the destination:

  1. Microchip

  2. Rabies vaccination

  3. Blood tests

  4. Health certificate

  5. Import Permit

Some countries will have specific health checks, vaccination requirements, and timelines. 

Rabies vaccination is a must for your pet when travelling to all countries. Still, for the United Kingdom, you must have your pet vaccinated at least 21 days before you enter the country and no more than one year after vaccination. 

In New Zealand and Australia, blood tests are used for:

  • Leishmania

  • Leptospira sv

  • Canicola

  • Brucella Canis

  • Babesia Gibson

  • Internal and external parasite treatments 

Some countries, such as Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates, require these treatments. 

However, the United Kingdom only requires dogs to have internal parasite treatments, and there are no specific regulations for parasite treatments for other pets. Entering New Zealand also requires your pet to be treated for heartworms.

4. Quarantine Regulations

pet quarantine

In some countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, your pet must be quarantined for a certain period to ensure that your pet has no contagious illnesses and carries no infectious disease that may affect other animals in your destination country. 

5. Transportation Guidelines

pet transportation

International pet shipping requires careful planning and adherence to specific guidelines to ensure your pets’ safety and well-being. 

Some general transportation guidelines for your pets in international travel include researching pet-friendly airlines or contacting pet travel services. You must also select a suitable travel crate for your pet, which must comply with IATA regulations.

The travel crate should be the correct size for your pet and have enough space for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Visit our site for the crate size guide. Familiarising your pet with the crate before the trip is crucial to prevent your furry friend from getting stressed. 

We are stating the obvious, but remember to provide enough food and water for your pet during your travels. You can offer your pet a light meal at least 4 hours before departure

You can attach a water bottle to your pet’s crate during the flight if permitted. Monitor your pet’s temperature and ensure the travel crate has proper ventilation.

When you arrive at your destination, you should follow customs and quarantine procedures as required by the country where you are staying. 

Preparing the necessary paperwork for inspection before arrival is also crucial, and you will also have to declare your pet to the relevant authorities.

6. Import Restrictions and Bans

pet import restrictions and bans

Pet import restrictions and bans are regulations implemented by authorities in each country. These restrictions and bans often relate to the countries’ geographical location, endemic diseases, and conservation efforts. 

Governments implement import restrictions and bans for various reasons, including disease control, invasive species prevention, public health concerns, conservation efforts, and agricultural protection.

Pet owners must research and comply with the import regulations of their destination country to avoid complications, delays, or even denial of entry for their pets. It may include:

  1. Obtaining health certificates

  2. Vaccinations

  3. Microchipping

  4. other documentation as required by the destination country

Additionally, pet owners should be aware that regulations can change over time, so staying informed and up-to-date on current requirements is essential before travelling with pets internationally. 

Consulting with a professional pet relocation service can also provide valuable guidance on navigating import restrictions and ensuring compliance with regulations.

7. Legal Considerations

international pet shipping

Pet owners need to research the legalities of international pet shipping. These legal considerations often include import regulations such as:

  1. Vaccination requirements and other health certification documents

  2. Airline regulations

  3. Animal welfare laws

  4. Customs clearance (animal declaration and any applicable import duties or fees)

  5. Quarantine requirements

Of course, different countries have different legal requirements for each animal. Thus, it is vital for pet owners looking to travel or relocate with their pets to do some intensive research regarding legal considerations in their destinations. 

8. Resources and Assistance

exporting pets from hong kong, importing pets to hong kong, international pet shipping

Regarding international pet shipping, pet owners have various resources and assistance available to help with the process smoothly and ensure their furry friends’ well-being. 

Some resources and assistance available for pet owners to help with international pet shipping are veterinarians, government agencies, airline pet services, online resources and communities, and pet relocation services. 

Veterinarians help pet owners by providing health certificates, vaccinations, and other necessary medical documentation. They also advise and guide preparing pets for travel, including medication and stress-reduction techniques. 

Airlines that offer pet transportation services usually have dedicated departments or customer service teams to help pet owners book and plan their pet’s travel. These services include:

  1. Pet travel policies

  2. Booking pet reservations

  3. Recommending suitable travel crates

  4. Other questions about the shipping process

Government agencies can also assist in international pet shipping and advise pet owners regarding import regulations, quarantine procedures, and restrictions on specific breeds. 

For further assistance on international pet shipping, pet owners can look for online resources and communities. However, not all sources are accurate; please check with a pet relocation specialist to ensure your pet's journey is as smooth as possible.

Pet relocation services specialise in assisting pet owners with all aspects of international pet shipping, and they provide personalised assistance, including:

  1. Guidance on import regulations

  2. Paperwork and documentation

  3. Transportation

  4. Quarantine

  5. Customs clearance arrangements

As mentioned above, pet owners must research and prepare for pet travel before the travel date. Using these resources, pet owners can easily navigate the complexities of international pet shipping and ensure a smooth and safe journey with their pets.

Global Paws is a pet transportation and relocation service committed to providing pet owners with safe and comfortable pet transportation for more than two decades of experience. 

Book our services here to ensure comfortable pet transportation and bring your pet with you on your travels.


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