Moving to the USA

(8 Posts)
bluebird3 Sat 30-May-20 10:37:45

Does anyone have experience with shipping their dog to the USA. We are relocating there for 2 years. I've had a quote from a pet travel company for £4000. Just wondering if anyone has done it themselves and managed the paperwork, etc as this is far more than we can afford.

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sun 31-May-20 09:40:12

No idea, but I do know it's certainly expensive - DDog came to me because his owner was in your situation and couldn't afford the dog's airfare. Turns out that trying to pass a dog off as an emotional support dog doesn't reduce the price either 🙄 Luckily I already knew DDog so well and was very willing to adopt him, but not everyone has that option.

Unfortunately, if you can't afford the dog's airfare, you can't afford to relocate.

bluebird3 Sun 31-May-20 11:15:04

I was expecting it to be about £2000. We aren't relocating for fun it's where my husband's job is so we can't afford not to relocate. It's only for two years and then we have to come back here so we will be paying it twice. We won't leave the dog - she's coming either way, I was just hoping someone may have done it themselves rather than through a relocation company that could offer advice.

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sun 31-May-20 12:23:53

If your husband's company is requesting the relocation, can you ask them for the dog's transport to be included in the relocation package?

welshdaisy Sun 31-May-20 15:30:05

Hi I worked with a lady who relocated there when her husband got a new job and they did it via ferry. I don't know the ins and outs but believe it was slightly cheaper

Twospaniels Sun 31-May-20 16:25:25

This was back in 2000, but my sister relocated to usa from uk. The dog airfare was very expensive. The company that transported him to the airport and provided the right size crate and did the paperwork, etc, recommended taking a chance and putting him on as excess baggage. Obviously there was a chance he wouldn’t get on the same flight as them but he did and they only paid some small sum for the excess baggage.

TheSunKing Sun 31-May-20 16:36:55

Hi there,

Your message was forwarded to me by my cousin, b/c I have shipped my beloved dog from Manchester to New York and back many, many times (10+).

It has become steadily very much more expensive over the past 15 years, and his flight out last year (one way) cost, if memory serves, around 800 GBP. I always book through Mike at who is a very safe pair of hands. He gets quotes for the various options (different airlines) and I then book myself on the same flight I’ve chosen. He can also provide you with an airline approved crate if you don’t already have one that meets the requirements (certain measurements required for the size of your dog). Price is determined by size & weight of the crate with your dog in it (to give you an idea, my dog is a 24lb Havanese)

I fly on the same flight so I can deal with customs clearance at the other end (i.e. at JFK) and drop him off at the cargo terminal (4hrs before) before heading on to check myself in (3hrs before) at the passenger terminal. This is all very easy at Manchester, if you have a kindly person (like my Mum) to drive you from one terminal to the next.

It can be a bit nightmarish at the other end if you don’t have someone picking you up who knows the lie of the land. Paperwork is straight forward enough: to clear customs, your dog will have to have proof that he’s up to date with his rabies vaccinations and a Health Certificate (issued by an authorised vet within 10 days of departure). The tricky part is that you have to traipse from one terminal to another and back again before you get your hands on your treasured cargo (i.e. get yourself & bags from Arrivals to airline’s Cargo Office in Cargo Terminal to collect paperwork, then personally take that to US Customs Office in another location and a fair drive away, to present that to an officer who can authorise release, then back to airline’s Cargo Office to pick up your pooch once released, and then on to your final destination.

In our early years, I did all this by cab and offered a mighty big tip, then had friends or relations collect us, but it was undeniably stressful (navigating around spaghetti junction-like complex of cargo terminals was challenging). Now I have a wonderful dog chauffeuse (, who is an old hand at this and picks me up at Arrivals, then drives to the first office, waits while I pop in to collect the paperwork, then on to the next, ditto, then back to the first ... and then on to Manhattan. Costs around $200 dollars plus tip all in but is worth every cent (a cab from the airport into the city costs at least $80 anyway)

For the return leg, you used to be able to book direct with Continental/now United Cargo via its website, which was super easy, merely a case of submitting an online form, and then checking in your dog at the Pet Check-In Desk which was helpfully located in Departures at the Passenger Terminal (this was at Newark), but this changed a couple of years ago, after a spate of dog deaths 😱 and now you have to go through one of these terrifically expensive pet re-location companies (quoting $4000 in my experience).

Virgin will, however, still let you personally book directly with them either through their website or by phone, I forget which. It cost about $1500 all in last year (a hike from what it used to cost on United, which started, back in the day at around $500, then went up steadily to $700 to around $900 the last time we flew with them). However, for us, it was the only available option (no longer so many airlines flying into Manchester, and Delta, the only other airline that does has now simply stopped taking pets). But the Customer Service was superb and very attentive, checking and double-checking that all the paperwork (Pet Passport, Health Certificate 10 days before departure, Tick & Tapeworm treatment 5 days before) for UK entry was in order and good-to-go in days before departure. Only difference was that there was no pet check-in at Passenger Terminal so doggo had be dropped off at Cargo Terminal.

On arrival in Manchester, all super easy. A company called PBS clears customs for you and that service is included in the Virgin fee (it used to be added to United flight quote) and you simply have to go straight to the Pets on Jets office at the Cargo Terminal to pick up your pup. Can take a while (1-2hrs) to clear customs, but then it also takes a while to get through Passport Control and Baggage Reclaim and then onto Cargo anyway. Again, you need kindly person to be picking you up.

Hope this is helpful. I’m afraid I have no experience of any other UK or US airports.


okiedokieme Sun 31-May-20 16:47:55

Call the airline, ideally one that flies direct. Most contract with a pet shipper

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