Deciding whether to take your pet with you can be a difficult decision. As part of the family, many want to take them with them, but there can be issues that should be considered.

Questions to ask include: what is the climate and where will you be living (an apartment or a house)? Are there any restrictions on importing animals into your chosen country? You need to consider the interests of your pet as well as of you and the rest of your family.

Moving abroad with your pet can be a stressful and complicated process for owners, working out what the rules are and deciding on the routes for the special family members can be a very difficult part of relocation. There are, however, specialist companies available to help.

It is important to plan in detail when taking pets abroad. There are often pre-travel veterinary requirements which will need to be followed up to six months before the planned export date and so early research of the requirements for your intended destination is essential.

Each country has its own entry requirements and although there may be information available on the internet, this can be difficult to find for some locations and will often depend on where you are departing from. It is advisable to make contact with a specialist in the country you are planning on departing from to ensure you receive as accurate and up to date information as possible for your pet. Not every country will accept every breed of pet. Australia, for instance, will not allow the importation of rodents, among others.

Shipping Your Pet

If you decide to take your pet with you, you should ensure that it is looked after by professionals and that you are comfortable with your chosen service provider. So how do you choose a reputable pet travel company to suit your requirements?

You should arrange for at least three quotes from different companies and compare levels of service and cost. You need to be sure that you know what is included in each quote and what will be your own responsibility. Wherever possible you should find out what you can about their reputation by talking to others who have used them through friends or colleagues who have used them.

Pets are generally transported as ‘live animal’ cargo when shipped internationally. They will be booked into the specialist cargo hold of the plane by your pet shipping company. This area will be pressurised and heated.

Pets can be shipped with some airlines to certain destinations as ‘accompanied baggage’ if you are on the same flight as your pet. This is charged as excess baggage and is bookable directly with the airlines. You should check if there are any restrictions with the airline that could result in the pet’s flight being cancelled at the last minute. Sometimes this may include 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

Crates must meet the current airline regulations. These regulations can change from time to time and so you may not be able to use the crate that they have flown in previously. Make sure you comply with the current regulations.

The right size crate will reduce stress and ensure comfort and security for the journey.

The pets’ ticket price (airway bill) will be determined by the volume of the crate in which the pets travel and so a slightly longer crate than needed not only means your pet may not feel as snug and safe but it could potentially cost you more.

It may be worth arranging for the crate to be delivered to you before your journey so that you can get your pet used to it. This is not always an advantage, however, and for some pets it is better to introduce them to the crate on the day of departure when they will adopt it as their ‘safe place’ away from home.

Make sure that the carrier provides sufficient water for the journey. Food is, however, not allowed to be provided during the flight as it can be a risk of choking.

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 during the journey as the changes in altitude can adversely impact the pet’s health. There are natural remedies that can be used to help your pet feel more secure and comfortable for the journey, but you should ensure that this is discussed with your chosen pet shipper as well as your vet.

Paperwork For Moving Pets

There is a significant amount of paperwork and veterinary requirements when shipping pets. More exotic pets often require even more paperwork and checks and in some cases it may be necessary to use a specialist shipper of exotic pets. The rules vary in different destinations and some have more stringent rules than others.

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