Moving with pets can be a complicated and stressful process for owners, working out the right rules and routes for the VIP family members is often described as the most difficult part of relocation, but thankfully help is available from a number of specialist companies.
Taking pets abroad requires detailed planning and often there are pre travel veterinary requirements which need to take place up to six months prior to the intended export date and so early researching of the right requirements for your individual destination is advisable.
Each country will have its own requirements for entry and information available on the internet can be wildly different depending on which country you are departing from, it is a good idea to contact a specialist in the country you are planning on departing from to ensure the information you receive is as accurate and up to date as possible for your pet. Also remember that not every country will accept every breed of pet for example Australia will not allow the importation of rodents, amongst others.
Some brief information on specific considerations for each destination are contained on the individual destination pages (under Family Matters). But please ensure you consult a specialist company to ensure the information you have is up to date.
Shipping Your Pet
So you have decided to take your pet with you on your journey... it is essential your animal is properly looked after by professionals and you are comfortable with the company you choose so how do you choose a reputable pet travel company to suit your requirements?
Obtain comparable quotes from several different companies; there are many different companies out there all with varying levels of service and cost. Check out the reputation of companies you have received quotes from and talk to some of their customers (or other members of your own company who have used them) to ensure that they have had a good experience. Make sure you understand what is included in each quote and what will be your own responsibility.
Pets are normally transported as “live animal” cargo, your pet will be carried in the specialist cargo hold of the plane which is heated and pressurized and this will normally need to be booked by a Specialist pet shipping company.
Pets can also be shipped to some destinations with some airlines as “accompanied baggage”, but only if you are on the same flight as your pet. This is charged as excess baggage and is bookable directly with the airlines. It is best to check if there are any conditions / restrictions with the airline that may cause the pets flight to be canceled at the last minute, for example temperature restrictions with some airlines.
Transportation should always be arranged well in advance and all travel documentation, vaccination and permit requirements should be fully researched.
Crates for Transporting Pets
Ensuring your pet flies in the right size crate will reduce stress and ensure comfort and security for the journey. Crates must meet the current Airline regulations ( see the current IATA regulations) these regulations do change from time to time and so just because the pet may have flown in a crate previously will not automatically ensure the crate you have meets the current regulations. The pets’ ticket price (Airway bill) is directly related to the volume of the crate in which the pets travel and so a few centimeters longer than needed not only means your pet may not feel as snug and safe but it could potentially cost you a couple of hundred pounds extra.
If you think it may help then you can arrange for the crate to be delivered to you prior to the flight so that your pet can become accustomed to it. For some pets this helps them adapt but for others they are much better to meet the crate on the day of travels and adopt it as their own ‘safe place’ away from home.
Make sure that the carrier has sufficient quantities of water for the journey, food is not permitted during the flight as it can be deemed as a choking hazard.
Ensure that the crate is marked with all appropriate details and have “this way up” labels clearly visible on all sides.
Pets are not permitted to be sedated for travel as the changes in altitude can have adverse effects on the pets health. There are some natural remedies you can use to help your pet feel more secure and comfortable for the journey, you should discuss these with your local vets and your nominated pet shipper.
Paperwork for Moving Pets
Moving with pets involves an ever increasing/ changing level of paperwork and veterinary requirements. If your pet is not a dog, cat, rabbit or ferret but is more unusual or exotic, it will for most locations require more paperwork and checks and in some cases it maybe necessary to contact a more specialist exotics shipper. The rules vary in different destinations and some have more stringent rules than others. It makes it essential that you take advice from the specialists (see the service directory).