For many of us, our pets are part of the family. For expats intending to move overseas with their pet, planning and research before the move is essential. It is crucial to ensure the welfare of your beloved pet during and after transit, and that regulation surrounding the importation and exportation of pets is complied with.
Before you go:
Research animal import regulations for your new country of residence, to determine what conditions must be met for your pet to be allowed entry.
Often these regulations can be found via the Department of Agriculture of your intended destination, conditions to entry may vary depending on your type of pet and the destination from which you are exporting your pet. Most countries have procedures in place for the importation of dogs and cats, however if you have an exotic pet, your chosen country of residence may have more stringent conditions of acceptance, if at all. Bear in mind that if you have an assistance dog, many countries will offer special conditions for import which can fast track the process. Determine the quarantine procedure for your destination, and factor lengthy quarantine periods into your relocation timeline. The potential transmission of disease such as rabies and Avian influenza, are a prime concern in all countries. Contact the appropriate consulate to get the necessary forms required for the importation of your pet.
Consult your vet before travel, your vet may be able to advise on animal importation requirements for your destination, and can also advise on ensuring your pets comfort and well-being during transit.
Most countries will require a health certificate issued by your vet, which states that your pet is healthy, free from parasites and that required vaccinations are up to date. For some countries a pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate, will also be required.
Depending on the country to which you are emigrating your pet will need to be microchipped, this will enable your pet to be identified and will also include information on your pet’s health and vaccination status.
Check the conditions surrounding microchipping of animals with your destination country, and ensure that any microchips fitted comply.
Pets in transit
Once you have completed all the required paperwork for your destination country and have satisfied all entry conditions, you can now focus on moving your pet overseas.
Again it is best practice to consult with your vet about transportation options, as some pets may require unique travel arrangements. Consult your airline to determine what their restrictions and requirements are regarding the transportation of animals. Your pet may be transported as live animal cargo, however depending on your pet, the container they travel in and your airlines policy, it may also be possible to transport your pet with you within the cabin. Ensure you get detailed information from your airline regarding the temperature and air pressure in the cargo bay before booking your pet on a flight.
Ensuring your pets comfort
To help your pet feel settled while in transit, allow them to become accustomed to their travel container in advance of the flight, also including their favourite toys or blankets in the container will help them feel more comfortable.
Regulations apply to the types of crates used to transport pets, imposed by the International Air Transport Association. These regulations detail the size of the container, labelling, ventilation and also feed and watering requirements.