Every year, thousands of people around the world move from their country of residence to a new one for different reasons, and they sometimes have to take their pets on the journey.
The process of travelling from one country to another with your animal is more complicated than when you have to move interstate thus you have to make out time to do some preparation and research before the travel date.
Contact the consulate
The need to contact then consulate is to find out find out about the available quarantine requirements and the possible restrictions. Once you can contact the country’s consulate, make sure to ask the right questions.
Do not wait till it’s almost the day you have to travel before you start researching your move because some countries add a six months vaccination before departure to the requirement.
For individuals who plan on travelling to Europe, the European Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows pets from some specific countries to come into the United Kingdom and other European countries without quarantine.
There are a few steps that are vital for you to take before your pet can be allowed into the country.
Essential questions to ask the consulate
- If my pet must be quarantined, where will it be kept and is it vital I make a space reservation?
- Is there any form of restrictions for bringing pets into your country?
- How long will my pet be quarantined?
- Are there age restrictions?
- What are the documents I’ll need when my pet arrives in the country?
- Are there breed restrictions of any kind?
- How can my pet get a custom clear?
- Which vaccines will my pet require?
- How long do I have to wait for my pet to clear customs?
- Will there be import fees of any kind?
Contact your vet
Once you are clear about the new country’s rules as regards the importation of animals, make contact with your vet doctor to make a vaccine schedule, ask for copies of your pets medical records, and the best of ways to make your animal comfortable during your journey.
Questions to ask your vet
- When is best for my pet to have its vaccination
- Are there any other vaccinations you think is essential to help protect my pet in the new country?
- Should my pet be given sedatives for the journey?
- How long is too long for my pet to stay in the carrier?
- If there is a need for my pet to be quarantined, what questions should I ask the facility about where my pet will be kept?
- Will other documents be needed?
- Is my pet medically fit enough to endure the trip considering the distance?
- Should my pet be fed before the trip? What about giving it water?
- What is the most advisable way to transport my pet?
- Do you have any recommendations for vets in the area of the new country I’ll be living in?
- Should I put some food and water in my pet carrier?
- Do you need to check my pet before travel?
Make flight reservations
If you have plans to book your animal with an air carrier company, you should be aware that most airlines will insist that you make use of an International Air Transport ( IATA) approved carrier to travel with your pet.
The requirements of an IATA approved carrier are based on the animal size and the need of the species. The IATA Live Animal Regulations lists and describes the minimum standard of carrier construction for all kinds of animals ranging from tiny insects to adult elephants.
Also, the space for your animal has to be booked a minimum of 48 hours before your scheduled travel time. Most airlines have a restriction on the number of animals allowed per flight.
Only cats and small dogs are allowed to travel with you in the cabin, and if the airline company does not let them stay with you due to limited space, they will send your pet to you as a special package in a ventilated and heated hold.
The hold is usually less stressful for your pet than the cabin as it provides a dark and quiet space for your animal.
Important questions to ask the airline
- I would prefer that my pet travels in the hold instead of the baggage area. Is such space available on the flight I need?
- If there is no space for pets in the hold, what is the temperature of the baggage/hold area where my pet will be kept?
- Will appropriate labels and stickers be provided for my pet carrier?
- Please Note: When you are booking your pets with any airline company it is vital to get all the information about the area where they will be kept as there is a chance that enough heat will not be provided and that will be harmful to your pet.
- What will happen to my pet if the flight is rerouted?
- How far before departure does my pet need to arrive at the airport?
- Where do I need to go to check my pet in?
- What papers should come along with my pet?
- How much will it cost to transport my pet?
- Which papers do I need to tender when I go to pick my pet?
- Are there any weight restrictions for pets?
- Will, my pet have to check through custom on arrival or that will be done here?
Gather all that your pet will need
After you have done all your research, you have visited the vet with your pet, and you have purchased your kennel, all that is left is to get your pet prepared for the journey.
Take a picture of your pet and print out three copies. One copy should be attached to your pet’s carrier, one should remain with you as you travel, and if someone else will have to pick up your pet for you, let them have the third copy. This is very important in case the airline loses you pet.
Purchase a collar and attach two identification tags; one tag with your old contact info, and the other tag with your new contact info. Be sure to put the collars on security, so they are not too tight or loose enough to get caught.