For many of us, pets are family. But bringing pets along for a relocation, particularly an international relocation, can be a challenge. Not only can it be expensive, but it can also be difficult to overcome some countries’ requirements for bringing in a pet from outside of their borders. However, completely ignoring pets may be a deal breaker for your employees who consider their pets as family members. So how do companies handle pet relocation as part of their global mobility programs?
In our experience, it’s about a 50/50 split when it comes to companies that provide a pet relocation benefit and those that don’t. Some companies provide a capped benefit for pet relocation, with the employee required to make the arrangements and pay any additional costs. Other pet friendly companies may see it as bringing along another family member and provide more robust, full coverage.
Either way, a relocation provider can help your employees get in touch with a reliable pet shipment company, and even if they then proceed with the pet relocation independently from you, you’ll have provided them with a helpful resource and trustworthy service. We recommend being clear and up-front about pet benefits in your policies, regardless of what you offer. Avoiding confusion is one way to ensure a happy transferee. (FYI, to help avoid confusion here, we’re mostly referring to dogs and cats in this article, as many companies won’t ship exotic pets or large animals such as horses.)
We know that any relocation can be stressful and complicated. Adding pets into the equation can take it to another level, so make sure you and your relocating employees are aware of the challenges ahead. Just what should you all be aware of when it comes to bringing a pet along for the ride?
Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first. No move is cheap, and moving pets can especially be an expensive prospect. Depending on the size and type of pet and where they’re moving from and to, costs can range from $500 into the thousands.
A pet relocation often involves boarding, special transportation, arrangement of permits, extra vaccinations and more. Even if you offer some financial coverage, your employees may end up having to spend more out of pocket. Don’t let that surprise them – help them to understand that up front.
2. Country-specific (and ever changing) regulations
It’s important too to understand that it may not be as simple as flying a dog or cat to the destination then picking them up. Some countries require that pets be quarantined before they’re allowed to go to their new home. Plus, there is sure to be a lot of paperwork and steps to follow for a successful pet relocation.
In the U.K., for example, a pet can be in quarantine for six months. Australia is rabies-free and requires a period of quarantine following a pet’s rabies shots. If an animal has anxiety issues or if the owners simply aren’t ok with that long of a separation, this can be a concern.
3. Air travel
Another expensive piece of the pet relocation puzzle is air travel. Each airline has different fees for transporting pets, and there are a number of rules to follow as well. It’s important to research this ahead of time and be aware of all costs and potential roadblocks.
Something you may not have considered is the amount of time a pet could add to a relocation. Finding pet-friendly temporary living spaces or properties with fenced yards, for example, can take longer than it does for those without pets. This isn’t just an issue internationally – within the U.S. certain areas may be more pet friendly than others to renters. Especially if moving from a more rural or suburban area into a city, that housing may prove elusive.
It’s obvious that relocating a pet isn’t simple, but you should also remember how important it is to many people. Consider what it would mean to a pet parent to have to make a choice between a new job opportunity and their pet’s welfare. Even if you don’t provide benefits or pay for the pet’s move, be sure to give them tools and resources to guide them through the process. It will be worth it!