By: Sam Hoey | CRP, GMS

June 18, 2020

With the majority of US households containing at least one pet, the issue of animal transportation is an important consideration. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports that 67% of US households own a pet. The variety and number of pets in the US provides an indication of the complexity of transport logistics and decisions:

Pet# of Households (millions)
Freshwater Fish11.5
Small Animal5.4
Saltwater Fish1.6

Source: American Pet Products Association

Pets and COVID-19

Pet owners face unique challenges when it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic and animal transportation. They must address social isolation, sanitation, and safety concerns for themselves as it pertains to their specific area circumstance. Also, they must address the same parameters for their pet. APPA has identified several products that are ideally suited to dealing with social isolation for pet owners and their pets. Unique ideas include pet grooming kits for home use, a motorized ribbon toy to keep cats active, puzzles made specifically for dogs to play with, and a dog treadmill.

Some evidence suggests that pets may become infected from close contact with humans who are ill with COVID-19. However, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program in their publication Animal Services’ Role in COVID-19 Support, “There is no current evidence to suggest that pets play a role in the spread of this human disease.”

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pet owners treat pets as they would treat other human family members:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household
  • If someone in the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets

COVID-19 May Impact Animal Transportation

Clients with new hires or transferring employees should be aware of any issues related to pet ownership as it may relate to a possible relocation. Pre-decision services help clients learn what the employee will be facing as it relates to a move that will include a pet. If a new hire or transferee is a pet owner, COVID-19 issues may impact animal transportation and directly affect the relocation process.

What May be Necessary for Animal Transportation During COVID-19?

Animal transportation must receive the same consideration as human transportation. The UW Shelter Medicine Program’s publication notes that “Every exception to social distancing decreases its efficacy.” Therefore, routine travel outside of a community for pets should be discontinued, the same as for human travel.

Relocation and moving are an essential service during COVID-19. For pet owners, consideration should be given to points during animal transportation such as:

  • Social distancing during the pet move
  • Limiting moving company employee exposure to the pet during the process
  • Following local regulations that are part of “safe at home” and “stay at home” orders
  • Careful observation of the pet for signs of illness

The CDC notes that the situation is evolving, and information will be updated as it becomes available. However, as noted previously, pet owners should provide the same level of care and consideration for their pets as they do other human family members. CDC Guidelines on Prevention therefore apply to both humans and pets, and include:

  • Frequent handwashing before and after interactions with pets
  • Avoiding close contact with other animals and people
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover if in close contact with others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes around humans and pets
  • Cleanliness and disinfection throughout living spaces
  • Health monitoring for pets

Many pet owners already consider their pets as members of the family, and take as good care of their pets as they do themselves. As a result, pet owners would likely exercise diligence related to COVID-19 prevention for their pets as well.

What Should Employers do About Animal Transportation During COVID-19?

It is important for employers with relocating employees to know and understand how to address issues related to animal transportation during COVID-19. Employers should extend the same level of service to pets as they would to human members of the relocating employee’s family. They should also ensure safe animal transportation options are available.

Employers should work with a qualified and experienced Relocation Management Company (RMC) that can provide guidance for a pet move and animal transportation during COVID-19.  RMCs can help clients and transferees understand how to arrange for the best animal transportation options and determine how to comply with pet shipping requirements such as health certificates and other issues.


Global Mobility Solutions’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to help their new hires and relocating employees with pets arrange for animal transportation. Our team can help your company understand the issues involved with animal transportation during COVID-19. We can help your company utilize pre-decision services to identify needs and requirements to ensure a smooth relocation process for the employee, their family members, and their pets.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also 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.

Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts who are dedicated to keeping you informed and connected. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s interest in learning about animal transportation solutions during COVID-19, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

Senior Vice President, Global Account Management Sam joined Global Mobility Solutions in 1996 and has a unique perspective with her 25 years of industry experience. Samantha offers her clients relocation expertise and a commitment to excellence in her. Her proficiency in orchestrating the BVO and GPO Programs, as well as relocation policy design and implementation, are invaluable assets to the accounts she manages. Her experience in administering Pre-Decision Relocation services to enhance the recruiting process further demonstrates her unique abilities to service her clients. Samantha’s diverse experience, leadership, and outstanding communication skills enable her to manage the relocation process for her clients with finesse and polished professionalism.

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