Moving abroad with your dog is a big decision for several reasons. For some, the need to move abroad is exactly that, a need, not a choice. For others it’s a lifestyle choice. For many, the whole idea of moving abroad is dedicated by domestic responsibilities such as dogs, family and work. In this guide we’ll go through the practicalities and considerations you’ll need to factor if you’re in the thinking or planning stages of moving to another country with your canine family members.
Not too long ago a London man was issued with a fixed penalty fine
for illegally parking his car. The man in question became annoyed by
this. So he emigrated. He had had enough of England, so he left. An over
reaction you may think, but take into account that on that day, the man
in question would have had a one in one hundred and twenty six chance
of being mugged, he would have been breathing some of the poorest
quality air in Europe, he could have been subject to council tax
tantamount to over £6 a day, and he would have been subject to
congestion charges for entering his home town by car, not to mention the
‘big freeze’ that brings our roads to a standstill each year.
To move or not to move; there are simple criteria to help with this
decision. Do you want to live in a country that charges you twice to
commute through Birmingham? Does the stress of relocation potentially
outweigh the stress of staying? If no, you are a prime candidate for
So now we are left with those to whom relocation is a viable life
choice. You people fall into two categories, those who are planning to
move within the next eighteen months, and those who are reading this
from a Spanish villa that cost the price of a Land Rover Discovery. To
those of you planning to emigrate in the next year or so, don’t bother.
Do it now or it will never happen. And don’t even think of using your
pets as an excuse.
There are two things you should know right now. You can buy a large
Italian country house for £40 thousand, and you can take your dogs
without any fuss. So forget about a few months time, if you want it
start doing it now.
If you already have an idea of where on Earth you want to live, you
should consider some of the following in relation to your pets. If you
have no idea, these may help you to narrow down the search.
Is the country similar in climate to Britain, or will I need to take
steps to ensure my dog’s comfort on arrival? Most dogs will adapt
without too much fuss, but a dog with a weight problem or even a skin
problem could suffer if moved to Northern Australia, South Africa, or
even Southern Spain. Consult your vet before you make any firm decisions
regarding location if you are concerned about your pet.
Are dogs a welcome member of the community in the country I intend to
move? Are you considering France where dogs are treated like children
and are welcomed into nearly all public places, or is it Spain where
stray dogs are considered vermin and pet dogs are cherished?
Are you moving to a place where your dog is safe or are there potential
or hidden dangers? Some parts of Australia are home to the world’s most
poisonous animals, we know this but our dogs don’t. Are there more
specific problems such as your favoured property being on a steep hill
or near a river? You will need to visit the property and surrounding
area before even thinking about getting your wallet out.
You may want to get to the other side of the world as soon as possible,
but what if you need to come home urgently. Can you get your pet home as
quickly as you got him out there? Do you need to get him micro chipped?
Is you new home served by an animal airline? You need to check these
things out before moving.
You also need to be sure of what function your relocation will
perform in your day-to-day life before you look at property. For
example, are you going to be moving an existing business to a new
location? Are you going to be starting up a new business? Will the
property you seek be an investment property? Or are you looking for a
new home? All of these factors can and will affect the relocation
The first thing you and your family need to settle on is which
country best suits your needs. Once you have done this you should start
thinking about area and property Once you and your family have settled
on an area or town and are keen to acquire property, you really need to
think very carefully about legal aspects regarding property acquisition.
There are many, many different things that could catch out an unwitting
You need to take into account currency fluctuations between the time
that you settle on a property and the time that you actually hand over
the cash. In some cases you will experience discrepancies of as much as
Now is certainly the time to start seeking legal advice if you
haven’t already. As with any property purchase it is essential that you
have legal advice at all stages but this is even more crucial when
dealing with foreign property laws. It is advisable to find a solicitor
who is not only bi-lingual, but also conversant and familiar with
property law relevant to the country in which you are thinking of
It is imperative to bear in mind that other countries, even those in
the EU have very different laws regarding property and acquisition.
France is a particularly prickly pair when it comes to buying property.
The process can be disconcertingly complex and can easily lead to legal
For example, if after purchasing a property it is discovered that,
prior to your acquisition of the property, planning regulations had been
breached, you as the property owner are responsible for returning the
property to its original state and for the cost of doing so. Also beware
of getting too excited when viewing property.
An oral expression of intent is legally binding in France (even if
you do it English), so refrain from saying or implying verbally anything
until at least after the searches have been completed.
With regards to your pets, it is now a lot easier to relocate with
dogs and cats in tow without quarantine. As long as your pets are up to
date with immunisations and vaccinations, the pet travel scheme (PETS)
allows pets to travel almost as freely as humans. Provided that certain
regulations such as worming and micro chipping are in hand, free travel
is no longer a problem for pets.
One thing it is important to understand is the amount of financial outlay involved in relocation.
Once you have exchanged contracts and readied your pets for travel,
you will need to move yourself and your possessions. This is the
stressful part; you can however ease the pain by following a few simple
steps. It makes sense to have your belongings hauled out of the country
before you leave. You can always borrow from friends when you are in
this country but if you are arriving in a new country without your
things, life will be a nightmare.
There are plenty of things you need to have in place ready for your
arrival such as schooling, registration with doctors, employment,
notification of authorities that you are a new citizen, registration
with utilities firms and much more. It is strongly advised that you do
seek professional help in order to ensure that your relocation runs as
smoothly as possible.
Article and photo from K9 Magazine
Articles of interest -
Pet Friendly Manchester