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I spent $3,400 relocating my dog overseas

...and yes, it was worth it

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty conservative spender. I’ll always take the train over catching a cab, I eat in over dining out and wouldn’t dream of dropping a month’s wage on a handbag. Yet, there is one area in my life where my usual tendency to save turns into a splurge: my dog.

Look how cute and worthy of expense he is!

Look how cute and worthy of expense he is!

Frank came into my life just over seven years ago and as my emotional investment in this 14 pound pooch has grown, so too have his expenses (rising vet bills, increasing insurance premiums, speciality diets etc). However this year brought with it the big daddy of doggie expenses; an international relocation.

I moved to New York from Sydney, Australia late last year. I left Frank in the loving care of my sister while I went about setting up a New York home. By March 2017, I was gainfully employed, adequately accommodated and ready to bring Frank over.

When first considering Frank’s relocation, my main concern was with his safety and comfort. For that reason, and after a lot of research later, I opted for a reputable pet transport agency to handle his travel arrangements.

There are two main options in Australia; JetPets and PetCarriers. Their quotes were relatively the same, so I ended up going with Jetpets based on online reviews.

Given the quote was pushing $3,400, I asked for an itemized breakdown:


Jetpets said I was welcome to provide my own crate or organize vet work separately (all other costs are part and parcel of their service) but on assessing external options, I decided the cost differences weren’t worth sacrificing the ease of the door-to-door service.

For me, convenience and peace of mind were my priorities over cost. For example, my dog’s flight from LAX to JFK was canceled and he required an additional overnight stay. Jetpets arranged this for me at no additional cost to what I had already paid. Had I organized his trip independently and had this happen, I would have been scrambling to find a solution not to mention been incredibly worried that he was languishing in a cargo bay. Instead I knew that for the entire trip, including his unexpected delay, he was fed, watered, walked and cuddled.

Seeing the sights of LA on an unexpected detour

Seeing the sights of LA on an unexpected detour

For those that do want to organize their pet’s relocation without a specialist agency, the costs will vary depending on where you are traveling from in Australia and to in the United States, how much your dog weighs along with crate, and any additional vaccinations they need.

Here are a list of some of the items you will need to budget for:

  • International and domestic airfares: Cost will depend on size and carrier and each airline has their own rules and restrictions eg Virgin, Qantas, United Airlines, Delta or American Airlines
  • Shipping crate: depending on your dog’s size will range from approximately $70 upwards of $150. Check airline requirements before purchasing.
  • US quarantine health check: $360
  • Additional vaccinations: if your dog is already vaccinated as per typical Australian requirements (pavovirus, bortedella and corona virus) then the only additional vaccination your pet will need is a rabies shot. This cost is normally around $100 and not all vets can administer so you may need to go to someone other than your regular vet. More details of vaccination requirements in the US can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention site.


In addition to cost, one of the biggest questions I have been asked about the relocation process is quarantine laws.

While in Australia the government requires imported domestic pets to stay in quarantine for a period of around 6 weeks, there is no quarantine period for pets incoming to the US from Australia.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has more details on health requirements and quarantine rules that apply to other countries.

All said and done, the process was certainly not cheap but the return on investment has been huge. Frank is now loving his new life in New York City, and I’m beyond happy to have him here too.

Pug in the park

Pug in the park

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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Laycock, Insights editor and senior content marketing manager


/in/richardlaycock/ /aleksvee/

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Jennifer McDermott has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Huffington Post, CBS and the Los Angeles Times. She is passionate about breaking down complex themes and providing actionable advice that empowers people to make better decisions about their money. See full bio

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