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Pet Travel News

Learn More about Pet Travel and Pet Moves

Stricter Leishmaniasis Testing Pet Import Rules Spreading

international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet transport,international pet travel,Leishmaniasis December 15, 2023

Dachsund relocated to South Africa

Countries worldwide are toughening pet immigration rules to stop diseases from spreading among animals.

“That’s happening because more people are moving around with their fur babies, and stronger rules protect everyone. The latest expansion is testing dogs for leishmaniasis,” said Walter M. Woolf, Air Animal Pet Movers founding veterinarian and CEO.

Dogs entering South Africa, New Zealand and Australia  need a negative leishmaniasis blood test run no more than 60 days before. Uruguay recently added the requirement. Dogs that have the disease cannot go to these countries.

“Leishmania testing labs are also expanding. The test was only available in Europe. Now it's also offered in the United States,” Woolf explained.

Leishmaniasis can kill dogs. They get it when bitten by a specific type of sandfly. Infected dogs cannot give leishmaniasis to people, but they can pass it to other animals. Symptoms may include skin problems, bloody nose, weight loss, seizures, fur loss, swollen glands, kidney failure, and swollen joints. Dogs with leishmaniasis should see their local veterinarians for treatment and not travel.

Some cases of leishmaniasis have been found in the United States in imported foxhounds and working dogs coming back from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, and Sudan. These places have the most serious cases. People have also gotten skin problems from leishmaniasis after visiting the Eastern U.S. seaboard.

The best way for dogs and people to stay safe is by using bug sprays with DEET to keep sandflies away. Vaccines for dogs are available but they are not highly effective.

REFERENCE: “Hunters hounded as leishmaniasis is diagnosed in Foxhounds.” American Veterinary Medical Association, June 15, 2000.

Lexi moved to South Africa with her best bud, Tequilla.


Pet Move Delay Advice

domestic pet move,domestic pet shipping,domestic pet transport,international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet transportation,petmovedelay September 23, 2023

German spitz dog

We’ve got four steps to share with pet parents who experience a pet move delay or flight cancellation.

We’ve all seen videos of luggage and travelers piled up in airports because of: 

  • Scheduling glitches.
  • Severe weather.
  • Labor shortages. 
  • Mechanical failures. 

Pet moves are also delayed by:

  • Temperature. Temperature regulations assure pet safety. Anything below 45 or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 27 degrees Celsius) at origin, all transit points and the destination cause cancellations. 
  • Space. When there are too many animals booked, airlines cancel or reschedule pet flights. It’s similar to bumping people from overbooked flights.
  • Destination limits. Pet import departments at popular destinations are fully booked during much of the year. 

When people on airplanes are delayed or cancelled, so are pets. Sometimes even more so because there is less space for pets.

If your pet move manager tells you your pet move is delayed or the flight canceled:

  • Prepare to adapt to a new itinerary, airline change or new pick-up and arrival arrangements.
  • Understand that a supplemental health certificate or a new international health certificate may be required if the move is delayed beyond the original health certificate expiration.
  • Watch your email or overnight mail for updated pet export and import papers if needed. Put them in your carry-on. 
  • Follow all instructions prepared by your pet move manager.

“At Air Animal we’re really good at what we do. We know all the airline regulations for pets. We know all the pet import rules for countries around the world. But we can’t control the weather, and we don’t fly the planes,” says Walter M. Woolf, owner and founding veterinarian of Air Animal Pet Movers. “If a pet move is delayed or flights canceled, we work hard implementing Plan B, C or D.”

Air Animal has helped more than 50,000 families move their 110,000 furry, feathered and scaly pets around the globe since 1977. Air Animal is an appointed and endorsed IATA air cargo sales agency working with all airlines that move animals. They are an Indirect Air Carrier cleared by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration for tendering live animals to airlines.

Benny relocated from Sao Paulo, Brazil to St. Paul, MN


Weather Delays Happen

domestic pet move,domestic pet shipping,domestic pet transportation,flight delays,international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet transport,weather delays August 25, 2023

Dr. Woolf and weimaraner at TPA

Weather Delays Happen—Even for Pets—Tips to Weather the Storms.  2023 has been peppered with weather-related airline delays so far. Pet parents traveling with their pets in the passenger cabin and pets relocating to their new homes in temperature-controlled air cargo areas can be delayed by weather.

“Generally, pets under 22 pounds (10 kgs.) may travel in the passenger cabin. Larger pets travel in air cargo,” advised Walter M. Woolf, VMD, founder and CEO of Air Animal Pet Movers. “Many U.S. and international airlines only accept pets for air cargo transport when air temperatures are between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 27 degrees Celsius) at origin, all transit points and the destination. These regulations assure pet safety.”

As a result, airlines cancel flights when temperatures along the route are below or above this window. If that happens. Air Animal’s team works with their clients and the airlines to re-book flights. As with delayed flights for people, out-of-pocket expenses may be required.”

Blizzards, cold snaps, storms and heat waves can cause havoc with carefully planned and anticipated pet moves. “We do all we can to plan ahead, but piloting the planes and controlling the weather are beyond our service package.”

Weather Delay Tips

Passenger Cabin

  • When traveling with a pet in the passenger cabin, reduce food intake the day before travel.
  • Bring along a collapsible water bowl and a small bag of the pet’s favorite treats along with a leash.
  • Offer water often between flights and treats sparingly to avoid messes in the flight kennel.
  • Research locations for all Service Animal Relief Areas in each airport along the route.

Air Cargo

  • For pets traveling air cargo, reduce food intake the day before travel.
  • Freeze water in the flight kennel bowls and add them to the kennel at air cargo.
  • Add a T-shirt used by the pet’s favorite person or small comfort blanket to the kennel.
  • Add cut up newsprint or newspapers to pad the kennel and help absorb accidents.
  • Pack a small bag of the pet’s favorite treats in the human’s carry-on to treat the pet for entering the kennel and to say hi at the destination.

Pets and flight kennels are not always clean when they arrive after long flights or weather delays. A quick, pre-planned trip to a local groomer is a good idea for longer post-flight car trips. We have more quick links for pet parents moving or traveling with their pets for the first time.

Pet Moving Made Easy® is our passion, our focus and our promise to you. Our pet move managers know the drill, the routine and use their experience to de-stress thousands of pet moves every year.

Dr. Woolf tenders a weimaraner at Tampa International Airport.


Know Before You Go...and Return

international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet travel August 23, 2023

Red & White Irish Setter

If you’re traveling or relocating with your pet you may feel you’ve got that down. But, do you know what you have to do to return to the U.S. with your pet? 

The United States Department of Agriculture policy is:

  • Before leaving, pet parents must make sure their pets meet the requirements of the destination country and the United States if returning.
  • Failure to meet the requirements may cause the pet to be refused entry.
  • Health certificates must be legible, accurate, and complete.
  • Taking a pet bird or exotic animal out of the United States may involve multiple agencies. You must meet ALL requirements for each agency before traveling or returning with a pet bird or exotic animal. 

Airlines establish their own policies for transporting pets. Check with your airline or shipping representative to determine their requirements.

For example, many countries only accept appropriately vaccinated, treated and certified dogs and cats. Many don’t accept rabbits from the United States because of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Virus.

Dogs originating from South Africa can only re-enter South Africa if the dog passed specific certified blood tests before leaving the country. Dogs originating from Australia can easily return from the United States if they were microchipped, vaccinated for rabies and passed a rabies antibody test before they left Australia. Those steps can waive the six-month Australian waiting period.

Birds are especially difficult to relocate because bird flu is spreading around the world. Because bird flu is very contagious, many airlines, countries and pet shippers do not accept birds. The USDA is working with other countries around the world to contain the spread. This is difficult because bird flu is largely spread by wild bird migration.

Before traveling or relocating with your pet, check our resource menu for your destination and complete our online request form. We’ll help you know before you go and make a plan.

Winston Churchill moved from Tennessee to the UK


Leptospirosis Danger for Traveling Dogs

international pet transport,Leptospirosis,pet travel,pet vaccination July 12, 2023

Vaccinate Before You Go Overseas--Leptospirosis is emerging around the world. If your dog is infected it can cause kidney damage, liver failure and even death. Prevention is easy, according to Walter M. Woolf, VMD, veterinarian founder of Air Animal Pet Movers. Vaccination with a booster 14 days later prevents Leptospirosis and protects dogs for 12 months.

“Before traveling overseas with a dog, pet parents should direct their veterinarian to give the leptospirosis vaccine,” said Woolf. “This vaccination is really important for traveling dogs moving offshore. It’s not an emerging disease in the United States. That’s why some veterinarians will tell you that the jab is not needed.

“You don’t want to go overseas with your precious pet and have them become sick because they’ve walked in the woods, splashed in puddles or chased a squirrel through brush. If your veterinarian is reluctant, show them the links to the American Veterinary Medical Association leptospirosis information below,” Woolf said.

Air Animal Pet Movers has helped thousands of families relocate with their pets. They’ve also provided pet health certificates for thousands traveling with their small pets in the passenger cabin.

Leptospira organisms occur anywhere. They are more common in wooded areas and locales with warm climates and high annual rainfalls. Leptospirosis is rare in people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control advises reducing potential exposure by:

  • Avoiding swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine.
  • Wearing protective footwear when walking through the woods or near contaminated water and soil.

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers more information in English  and Spanish .

Special note: If you live in an area inside the U.S. that has experienced flooding, you should vaccinate your dog for leptospirosis.

While traveling with you pets, keep them safe from Leptospirosis by getting them vaccinated before you go.


Pet Health Certificates

health certificate,pet health certificate,pet travel May 11, 2023

Before you move or travel with your pet, you'll need a pet health certificate. 

Air Animal offers international pet health certificate services for:

  • Pet parents traveling overseas "above the wing" in the passenger cabin with their small pet when permitted by the destination and airline.
  • Pets traveling air cargo booked by their pet parent.
  • Airline and cruise passengers traveling with trained service animals.
  • Veterinary appointment required.

Air Animal offers domestic health certificate services for:

  • Pet parents traveling from Tampa Bay and Central Florida to the Continental U.S., Alaska, Canada, Cuba, Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands as air cargo. We also work with those traveling with their pet "above the wing" in the passenger cabin and aboard private boats.
  • We assist airline and cruise passengers traveling with trained service animals as well.
  • Veterinary appointment at Air Animal Tampa offices required.


Australia Changes Pet Entry Rules

Australia pet import changes,international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet transportation,pet move to Australia April 26, 2023

Relocating to Australia for work or returning home from an American assignment just got tougher, advises Air Animal Pet Movers. “Plan ahead at least seven months because the new pet identity declarations have expanded the timeline,” said Walter M. Woolf, VMD, Air Animal CEO and founding veterinarian.

The new rules effective immediately require two pet identity declarations by two different U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited veterinarians. Those declarations have to be sent to the USDA electronically. Then the USDA provides the pet identity declaration certificate. “Not all veterinarians are USDA-accredited. Setting up two veterinary appointments for a pet at the start of the process can be tough without guidance from the pet’s regular veterinarian or an experienced pet shipper.

“We’ve updated our Australia Resource page at to help people understand the 18 steps and how the process has to proceed,” Woolf said.

From the Air Animal Australia Resource page

  1. Microchip the pet (if not previously microchipped).
  2. Verify the rabies vaccinations.
  3. Arrange two required identity pet examination/declarations by two different USDA-accredited veterinarians and obtain an identity declaration certificate.
  4. Schedule a FAVN-OIE Rabies Antibody blood draw by a USDA-accredited veterinarian.
  5. Schedule antigen tests for Leishmania, Brucella Canis and Leptospirosis (dogs only).
  6. Submit the blood serums to an approved government laboratory.
  7. Arrange for a USDA RNATT declaration by a USDA-accredited veterinarian.
  8. Fulfill the requirements of the 180-day waiting period that follows step #7.
  9. Secure a DAFF import permit which can take more than four months.
  10. Book quarantine space in Melbourne, Australia. Pets that complete all Australian identity check steps, and pet parents who can prove their pets originated in Australia, are eligible for 10 days quarantine. All others will spend 30 days in quarantine.
  11. Arrange for the approved external and internal parasite treatments.
  12. Arrange a veterinary exam to apply for an international pet health certificate.
  13. Obtain USDA endorsement and all Australian health documents.
  14. Book a USA cross-country flight (if necessary).
  15. Book Los Angeles transfer (if necessary).
  16. Schedule the trans-Pacific flight.
  17. Obtain an airline air cargo air waybill and check pet in for the international flight.
  18. Pick up pet after quarantine or arrange for pick-up and residential delivery by an experienced pet transporter.

“Pet parents should always register with a local veterinarian in their new locale to keep their pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. Veterinarians typically send reminder notices when vaccinations are due. If another move is in their future, they will be ready,” Woolf added.

Air Animal helped Mario, a corgi, relocate with his family from Florida to Australia.

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