So you have decided to make Aliyah and bring your pets along, but you don’t know how to go about getting the write documentation, papers, vaccinations, shipping carriers etc. Well we are going to talk you through some of the steps for flying your pet to Israel and ensuring a painless happy arrival.
First and foremost, proper preparation is key to a positive pet/animal relocation and Aliyah experience. The process can take 3 to 6 months to ensure that you can ship your pets in the correct way Before you book ticket, we would advise you to consult with terminal4pets, as not every airline will allow you to fly with your pets .
In addition to packing, shipping, or selling your stuff and shipping your possessions, taking these steps (as well as others) to get your animals to Israel are crucial too:
- Ensure all documentation has been completed according to regulation
Documentation must meet both countries regulations, so that you wont go into quarantine on departure/arrival. We can help you to do this!
- Getting an airline approved animal carrier
In order to fly with your pet or ship him abroad you will need an airline approved carrier. It need to meet the international standard and match your pets' measurements perfectly. Having the wrong brand name or size could either cause your pet to be able to escape and run away, or the airline won’t even accept the carrier onto your Aliyah flight. Terminal4Pets has flight management specialists available to help you ensure that you do have the right carrier for your pets needs and that match the airline and international regulations.
- Get your pets vetted and micro-chipped
Before you leave, make sure that your pets’ vaccinations are up to date. You need vaccinations for the flight and for the country of destination.
Additionally, you need to ensure that you have a supply of any medications that your pets may need during transportation to Israel, as well as for the first week or so until you find a new vet.
Also, register your pet’s microchip at www.look4mypet.com, in case he gets lost in his new neighbourhood. You have to do this according to the Israeli laws.
- Organize your pets’ information
Keep your pets’ veterinary records, along with photos and descriptions of each animal, in an easily accessible folder or tote in your hand luggage as well as a second copy in your stowed suitcases. Keep a pet first-aid kit and your pets’ medications on your carry-on, too.
- Gather your pet supplies before you leave
Get enough pet food to last for the first month, plus a couple more days in the event of delays during travel. If you buy canned food, get a product with a pull top. Have paper towels, spare carrier liners, puppy pads, and pet stain cleaners easily available. You could also bring some Rescue Remedy or some other calming flower essence.
- Keep your pets’ needs and comfort in mind
Pull up all food and water an hour before you leave. That will allow your pets to eat and do their business before you leave, and it will reduce the chance that they’ll vomit.
- Be as relaxed as possible
A long-distance move is a huge transition. Your life and your pets’ lives are changing forever. This trip can be an amazing experience for all of you if you can be fully present because, after all, the journey is as important as the destination.
If you are concerned that your pet is calm before travel, seek a professional, you cannot sedate before a flight. You can call us for advice – From US the number is 1866-pet-2-fly and from Israel is +972-8-926-4554.
- On arrival in Israel
You need to organise transportation for you, your family and your pets in advance. Not taxis/transportation is set up to be able to transport your animal to your final destinations. We can help you to organise a shuttle from the airport to your final destination in Israel.
Below are the accounts of 3 pet owners Aliyah stories, whose experience we at Terminal4Pets hope can help future Olim with their relocation to Israel.
- Allyson made Aliyah with her husband and 2 cats. She would like to relay her advice and insight on this process. For one cat they used a carrier that was slightly larger than the required size that they had for several years and then they purchased a new one, which was much smaller and designed for air travel for the second cat. Both cats travelled well, but it was very traumatic and stressful for them especially being that they are usually such calm cats. The hardest part for them was being inside the carrier for 24 straight hours. Allyson and her husband drove to NY the weekend before their Aliyah flight to make the trip a little bit shorter for the cats and that worked out really well. An important tip from Allyson “You will spend at least 4 hours in JFK before your flight and 4 hours in Ben Gurion when you arrive so don't forget to include that in your travel time. On top of that you will have to travel to your final destination.” Allyson also purchased a Calming Pheromone Collar , which is supposed to help with anxiety. It doesn't actually have to be worn, but at least in the carrier with the cat and they thought it was helpful for the flight, but even more helpful the weeks after as the cats settled into a new place. The best tip they were given and that they used was taking them to the handicap bathroom before and after the flight to let them walk around and drink water. Many suggested putting down newspaper and a small handful of litter, but their cats were not interested in eating, drinking, or using the litter. They did, however, make sure that they had a small ziploc of cat food in our carry-on and they had a small suitcase for them with Disposable litter trays, food, toys, and some of their "things" from home so that they would be comfortable as soon as they arrived.
Allyson – “I do want to caution you now that the paperwork and procedure for getting all of the documentation in order is very complex, takes much longer than you'll anticipate, and costs a lot of money. I would definitely take the paperwork to your vet ASAP to review when appointments need to be made for the rabies titer shot, microchip implantation, regular shots, and the health certificate. Our cats were already chipped, but we ended up having to re-chip them at the last minute to meet USDA standards. It was unclear if the chips they had met standards for Israel, but they were definitely not permitted for entry into the US if we ever needed to return with them for any reason. Another thing we did was having tags printed with their name, our US and IL phone number and their microchip ID. Because one of our cats did not wear a collar before the flight we had to train him to tolerate one without ripping it off. It is a good idea in Israel with so many stray cats to have a collar on your cat. That way people will know that he belongs to someone.”
2. Sivia and Chanan made Aliyah from New York with their son and dog, Buddy. Here is Sivia's account of her Dog, Buddy's aliyah experience:
"I must say with all the worry about the flight and everything it actually was not that bad and he was the first to adapt to Israel from all of us.
Of course we did everything we could to make his flight comfortable, by buying a mat to put inside the crate and a fan that we attached outside the crate to make it more comfortable since it was the summer. We also got him used to the crate beforehand. Some people were able to teach their dog to drink from a bottle drip, but he was never interested so we deep froze water in a dish and attached it. We also made a sign with a picture of him and all his info and attached it to the top of his crate (both in Hebrew and English) and we wrote "friendly dog" in permanent marker on the sides of the crate. we also brought zip ties with us so that after we put him in the crate before we boarded we tied it for added safety. we did not give him any meds except for anti-nausea, which also can have a relaxing effect. The day of the flight was very hectic, but we kept him out of the crate until the very last minute and he was okay. My family stayed with the crates til it was taken away and they said that all the dogs quietened down after a few minutes. Of course he was waiting for us when we arrived and anxious to get out of the crate and to see us.
Once we arrived to our new home, we immediately took him on a walk and he was more than okay. In fact, he is a less anxious dog since we moved and loves to sunbath on the porch (we had a porch in NY, but he never liked going on it). We all had t-shirts made the one for the dog reads "Aliyah…what a schlep”
Here is Alissa, Morey and Maimo’s Aliyah story:
“We half-joke that when people ask us about our klita, we say thank G-d, ours has been great, but the dog's? Not so much. He went from having a yard, an off-leash dog park, a river to swim in every day and a bunch of dog friends to living on the 3rd floor with no elevator, being on leash, no more swimming, and dogs that are not well-socialized, so he doesn't have a dog friend who migrates to.
That said, we never considered leaving him; he is part of the family. And if we could have asked him - well, we could ask him, but if he could have answered, I think he would have wanted to come with us anyway.
He came on the plane with us, in cargo, and my husband was a nervous wreck until we were finally - after 15 hours - able to let him out of his crate. He was a bit shell-shocked when we got him from the baggage people, but recovered pretty quickly. Before we left, Maimo was a huge hit at the airport, and the film crew that was there filming the @Nefesh B'Nefesh crowd followed him around. We even made it onto Arutz 2!
We eventually moved, so now we have a mirpeset gina, where Maimo can go out and lay in the sun, which he enjoys now that he's older and suffering from arthritis. We live near Ya'ar Ben Shemen, so we take him there for walks, where he can roam a little more freely.
Making Aliyah as a family is a massive step, but when your have pets, who are part of your family, that is a whole other angle you need to take into account. There are agencies to help humans’ transition from the diaspora to their new life in Israel, but Terminal4Pets is here to help pet owners with relocation and emotional support for animals. Terminal4pets can also help you with all the paperwork and getting all documentation in order, and take this stress away from you.
Some further articles that can help you with travelling with your pets:
Have you ever made a long-distance move with your pet? Do you have any more tips to share? The more you share, the better off other animals relocating will be, so we would appreciate your experience and advice!
Mazel Tov on your forthcoming Aliyah from us at Terminal4Pets. We are here to help if you have any questions and if you fill out our Pet flight Information form and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, a pre-flight consultant will contact you within 24 hours.
Fly safely and welcome to your new home in Israel!!!