Relocating Overseas: Nerve-Soothing Advice for Devoted Pet Owners

Moving overseas? It’s a daunting prospect for most people, especially those who have families to think about. What if you family happens to include a pet…or several pets? It may seem that the easiest thing is to say farewell. But if you can’t bear to cut that bond, taking them with you is not impossible.

Check the Paperwork

Taking your pets to another country is rarely straightforward. You will need to check the regulations of the country you are going to and follow them precisely, as you would for a visa application. Officials can be notoriously sticky.

You may need to get a certificate from your vet that the animal is healthy and fit to travel. For most countries you will need the animal to have a registered microchip implanted.

Get the Vaccinations

It is essential that your pets have all the required vaccinations. Most countries require rabies inoculation, and many have their own special requirements.

Check whether your pet will be required to go into quarantine. In some countries, this can be for as long as six months. It is costly and traumatic for both pet and owner.

Plan Ahead

Research as much as you can about the veterinary provision in your destination. Most large modern cities have excellent clinics and if you are looking for a vet in Dubai or other major cities for instance, you can easily find a practice that will suit you. You might even be able to register with a clinic in advance so that your furry friend can have a check-up on arrival.

The Flight

Every airline will have its own rules, within the general framework of the aviation authorities’ regulations.

All animals must, of course, travel in cages. If these are able to fit under the seat, you may be allowed to keep them with you in the cabin. Otherwise, they will have to fly as checked-in baggage or cargo. Conditions in the hold can be more variable than in the cabin, and some airlines will not take pets in certain weather conditions.

You will need to provide an approved cage or crate. Equip it with familiar-smelling blankets and toys. Ice can be better than water as a source of hydration because it does not spill.

Coming Back?

If your time overseas is likely to be limited to a couple of years, remember that you will have to go through the same procedures (or stricter ones) when you return. Consider whether it would be better for you all to have that time apart.

Need Help?

Given that it is important to get everything right before you leave, and that the procedures can be complicated, you may want to enlist the services of a specialist agency to deal with all your pet travel arrangements.

A New Life

Taking a pet overseas is not something to be undertaken lightly, but it is possible, and the aggravation of officialdom may be a small price to pay to avoid separation. Research it carefully and double-check every form—you will soon be sharing your new life with an old friend.

Jake Rowe works in the animal reception center at a busy international airport. He is a huge softie when it comes to animals, and thinks pets are part of the family so goes out of his way to look after them when in his care. He shares his knowledge of moving them in his articles.

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