Plan a smooth journey home for your furry friend with Pet Relocation LLP’s top tips for expats.
1. Check the importing country’s requirements
Each country has its own set of importing regulations, permits and quarantine requirements.
Certain countries also require that your pet be quarantined for a time, so you will need to make the proper reservations with the quarantine centre in your destination country before you leave.
Tip: Check if your pet’s breed falls under banned or restricted categories, as this may mean you need additional clearances and/or paperwork to bring your pet along.
Once you’ve checked out the paperwork that your destination country requires, ensure that your pet receives all of the necessary vaccinations and veterinary treatments.
You will need to produce a health certificate for your pet, which should be issued by a qualified vet within 5 to 14 days of departure and endorsed by the exporting country’s official veterinarian. These documents will help clear your pet at your host country’s customs and immigration.
Tip: If your pet needs to be quarantined upon arrival, some countries will require that your pet receive a kennel cough vaccination beforehand.
3. Get ready to travel!
Your pet can travel in 3 ways: in a soft carrier under the seat in front of you, or as an accompanied checked bag (check your pet in as “excess baggage” at the airport).
In some countries, pets are only allowed to travel in/out as manifested cargo. Pets must be checked in at the freight centre. Rates apply. (Don’t worry – your pet will travel in a climate-controlled compartment.)
Know your chosen airline’s policy on transporting pets. Some airlines will allow in-cabin access and some will charge pets as excess baggage or allocate them as free baggage allowance. Some have flight duration limits for pets; some don’t allow pets at all.
Connecting flights, if planned poorly, will result in pets being checked out in transit and checked back in again, which can cause an upset if your pet’s travel documents are insufficient to clear the transiting country’s customs. Always book a direct flight, if possible.
Some airlines have restrictions for snub-nosed pets; check before booking.
Lastly, it is not recommended to sedate your pet for the journey as your pet might have an abnormal reaction or it may not be able to maintain its balance during the flight, which can cause injury.
Prior to the flight, try kennel training. Keep the experience positive with toys, blankets and treats to help it adjust to being alone in the confined space of the kennel by itself.
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By Hazel Joanne Vincent De Paul, The Finder, October 2016/ Updated by: The Finder Team, August 2020