Pet travel by air

We primarily transport dogs, cats & birds but we can assist you with the transportation of other family favourite animals too.

Your pets will be booked as manifest cargo, which means that they will travel in the livestock hold below the passenger cabin – this area is dimly lit, heated, pressurized and has a monitored temperature of 18C – 25C dependent on temperature at origin.

Our Animal Handler will walk and water your dogs before booking them into their flight. All pets have to be booked onto their flights several hours before their departure time.

We offer 3 types of service:

1. Door to door:

We collect the pets from your residence – transport them by air or road – and after arrival deliver them to their new home.

2. Door to airport:

We collect the pets from your residence – fly them to your required city airport – upon arrival at their destination airport you collect your pets and finalise customs and airline rocedures.

3. Airport to airport:

You deliver the pets to the airport, to our office or kennels – we fly your pets to the arranged airport – you collect your pets upon their arrival at the airport and finalise customs and airline procedures.

General tips before your pet’s air travel:

A Friendly smell:

Your pet will feel more comfortable and secure travelling with a smell it can recognise. We therefore recommend that you place a t-shirt that you have worn into the travel box. Please do not put an item of clothing into the box that has buckles, zips or buttons as these could be chewed off and become lodged in your pets’ throat. Similarly do not put toys into the box with small parts that could be chewed off. You can also put their doggy/kitty blanket into their travel crate.

Feeding your pet:

Please do not feed your pets a large meal on the day of departure; a small snack or treat is more suitable. This is because they will be in their travel crate for an extended period and will need to relieve themselves at some point. A large meal equals a large toilet and this can lead to a very messy dog and travel crate. Alternatively your pet may feel constipated and if they have been fed a large meal this could lead to some discomfort. So please feed them well the night before collection and give your dog a long walk to have enough time for a toilet break before our scheduled collection time.

Securing your cat:

We all know how intuitive cats can be and they are famous for doing a disappearing act on the day of collection or even the evening before, so please keep your cats securely closed in a room from the evening before the scheduled collection so there are no last minute surprises.

Tranquilising:

The Ministry Of Agriculture and Veterinary Surgeons strongly discourage tranquilizing animals in the pressurized conditions of an aircraft. Adverse drug reactions and breathing difficulties may occur due to the change in air pressure. Airlines may refuse to carry sedated pets, as they cannot detect their state of health. After the initial loading into the aeroplanes, pressurised, heated, sound proofed and dimly lit pet compartment, pets soon settle down to their journey and fall asleep. Nonetheless if you feel that your pet might need some relaxant we recommend using an herbal calming product. We supply calming collars for dogs and calming gel for cats with the Traveller Comfort Pack. It is available for purchase separately to all of our clients. Please read more about Traveller Comfort Pack.

No animal products allowed:

Any hooves, rawhide chews or bones are not allowed but please feel free to put a favoured nibble in with them to keep them occupied.

Travel accessories

Do not send your pet with their accessories i.e. feeding/water bowls, pet beds and boxes of treats or pet food containers. However a small quantity of their favourite dry food can be attached to the top of the travel crate. We can also take their leads and collars which we can attach to the travel kennel door by means of cable ties, we do however strongly suggest that you rather carry your pets leads and collars in your hand luggage. The reason why we suggest this is because one of the airline staff members might remove it from the crate and forget to reattach it again. If you have your pet bird travelling put a half apple into the water bowl.

Grooming your pet for its travels

Brush your pet’s coat before travel. This will remove the dead undercoat that will help keep your pet cooler and in the same way will make them feel more comfortable, especially during the summer months. Shaving double coated breeds does NOT keep them cooler.

Do not wash your pet at least 3 days before departure. Best leave the washing of your pet until after their journey.

Make sure that your pet’s nails are clipped.

Original documentation

Please note that your pets have to travel with their original documentation securely attached to the top their travel crate.

Puppy travel

For puppies it’s a big scary world out there so we would recommend a calming collar to make it feel a little less intimidating.

They will have to be at least 8 weeks old before travel is permissible, this is because their eardrums may not have developed fully and the pressurised environment of an aircraft may harm their ears if they are not fully developed.

Vaccinations; this is always the part that worries expectant parents, so here is the information in detail.

If the puppy is under 12 weeks old it can travel to South Africa on its mothers’ rabies vaccination. The mothers’ vaccination will have to have been valid over the birth period. So ask the breeder for a copy of the mothers’ vaccination booklet before you buy/transfer any funds.

Puppies travelling from South Africa can travel on its mothers’ valid rabies vaccination to certain countries such as The USA, Canada, Tanzania and Angola. However some countries will not accept mothers vaccinations and the puppy will have to travel on its own vaccination e.g. All EU countries and New Zealand. So please contact us to get up to date country requirements for your puppies travel.

If the mother did not have a valid rabies vaccination the puppy will have to travel on its own rabies vaccination. The earliest that a puppy should be vaccinated for rabies is 12 weeks old. Remember that a valid rabies vaccination must be older than 30 days but younger than 12 months. This means that your puppy will be 16 weeks old before travel is permissible.

The UK, Australia and New Zealand are rabies free countries so your puppy will be able to travel from there without a rabies vaccination but will have to be vaccinated once in South Africa.

Elderly pets

Obviously an elderly pet that needs to travel for the first time can be very worrying for their owners, but please let u reassure you that many, many elderly pets travel and arrive at the destination none the worse for the adventure. There are a few additional precautions that we advise, to make the journey a little easier for your elderly family member.

For pets older than 10 years, we recommend that your vet perform an extensive/ geriatric health exam on all vital organs (heart, liver, and kidneys).

An elderly pet’s hydration levels need to be up to par and remain normal without the use of
medication. This is due to the fact that many animals may not drink the water provided while in transit.

Another recommendation for elderly pets is to purchase a kennel larger than the minimum required. Acclimatise the pet as much as possible to the travel crate environment. This may be the pet’s home for up to 16 hours at a time (depending on the length of the flight). Stress levels have proven to drop dramatically for pets accustomed to their travel crates ahead of time.

High risk breed / banned breeds

Most countries and most airlines have a list of breeds that they have banned for import or flights. Some countries have banned the import of aggressive breeds such as American Pit Bull, American Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff and Dogo Argentino.

Some airlines will also refuse aggressive dogs and have restrictions on Snub nosed breeds such as, Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers and Boston Terriers.

There are also a few cat species that are banned on certain airlines such as Persians, Burmese and Himalayans.

For up to date information please contact our office.

Flying locally within South Africa differs a lot from International pet travel. Therefore please choose your type of relocation and we will guide you further with regard to your specific
requirements.