By: Ann Knapp | CRP, GMS, CMC

July 31, 2019

With 68% of American households owning a pet, chances are high that a relocating employee will include a pet move. There are many benefits to owning a pet. According to Animal Planet, some health benefits to owning a pet include:

  • Enhanced social skills
  • Less likelihood for children to develop related allergies
  • Decreased risk of heart attack and lower blood pressure
  • Healthier lifestyle from taking care of pets (walking dogs)
  • Increased companionship improves overall state of mind

What is a Pet?

A pet can be almost any kind of domesticated animal that is kept for companionship or pleasure, and may require a pet move, including:

Service Animals

Pets are distinct from Service Animals. Service Animals, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations as published by the Department of Justice, are defined as any dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks that benefit an individual who has a disability.

Emotional Support Animals

Pets are also distinct from Emotional Support Animals, Therapy Animals, or Comfort Animals. These types of animals may be used as part of a medical treatment plan to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, and phobias.

Points to Consider on a Pet Move

There may be times when a relocating employee must arrange for a pet move. This can be due to timing issues related to work travel or other business needs. A number of solutions are available depending on what is required. However, it is important to investigate the options as soon as possible and understand everything that is required in order to arrange the transport. With enough notice, a range of solutions may be available that provide the best option for a pet’s care and well-being during a pet move. It may also help relocating employees to look into training for their pets that might be traveling with them.

Ground Transport Points to Consider on a Pet Move

Shared Ride or Private Transportation

Ground transport for a pet move usually includes pickup at origin and delivery to destination. Usually, animal transportation services require a minimum of 4-6 week notice. Also, ground transport may be in a share-ride format, where pets are in transport with other pets. Should an employee’s pet not interact well with other pets, this may cause stress for the animal. Costs may be higher for private transportation.

Health Certificates and Microchips

Most ground transport firms require some form of interstate health certificate, verification of appropriate vaccinations, and other documentation to ensure the animal is in good health. Veterinarians should microchip all animals for identification. Some ground transport firms will send a complimentary microchip to the relocating employee’s veterinarian to implant during the examination needed for the health certificate. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association has a number of helpful resources to review for a pet move. Many pet owners also choose to invest in pet insurance to cover the rising costs of veterinary care.

Air Transport Points to Consider on a Pet Move

Temperature Issues

While air transport may be available, it may be highly dependent on temperatures. Some airlines do not have temperature-controlled vehicles to take pets to and from the cargo hold on the aircraft.

Restrictions on Cargo Transport

Also, each airline has its own restrictions on whether pets can be transported in cargo. Costs are variable, as are space and type of transport. Some airlines have restrictions on the breeds of dog they will accept for cargo transport. Health certificates and vaccination records are usually required, and some airlines require the use of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved kennel. Even the size of a kennel may be an issue; some airlines will not accept large kennels, so air transport for larger animals may not be possible.

What Should Employers do About a Pet Move?

It is important for employers with relocating employees to know and understand issues relating to the concept of pets, Service Animals, and any other designations such as Therapy Animals, as they relate to the transferee. Relocating Employees with Service Animals may not be able to travel alone, so the relocation process must take the Service Animal into account.

Similarly, for all pets and non-Service Animals, employers should exercise care and concern on behalf of the relocating employee for these animals. Transferees and their family members usually consider pets and Comfort or Therapy Animals as a member of their family. Employers should extend the same level of service to these animals as they would to any other member of the relocating employee’s family. They should ensure safe transportation options are available, and consider all issues including health certificates.

Employers should work with a qualified and experienced Relocation Management Company (RMC) that can provide guidance for a pet move.  RMCs can help clients and transferees understand how to arrange for the best pet move transportation options and determine how to comply with pet shipping requirements for health certificates and other issues.


Global Mobility Solutions’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to help transferees arrange for safe and secure transportation for a pet move. Our team can help your company understand the issues involved with a pet move, and use appropriate pre-decision services to identify needs and requirements to ensure a smooth relocation process for the transferee and their pet.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com, created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.

Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall, and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s interest in learning about solutions for a pet move, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

Director, Transportation Services Ann has over 20 years of leadership experience in the moving and relocation industries. She is a council member for the International Association of Movers (IAM) Leadership Alliance. As a 2nd generation mover, Ann has worked in all areas of the industry from survey scheduling to claims settlement which has provided her with a well-rounded understanding of the ins & outs of moving. Ann is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Transportation Team, the GMS Transportation Network, managing contracts, policy advisement, and monitoring quality.

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