As a pet owner, you already know that traveling with your pet requires lots of research and planning. You may have already mastered the art of traveling with your pet within your current country, but international travel is a whole other ballgame. International pet travel comes with its own set of issues you might not expect which can leave you feeling overwhelmed. From understanding entry requirements and quarantine restrictions to finding the right veterinarian in your new country—giving yourself extra time to pre-plan will help you feel empowered and provide a better travel experience for your fur baby. Here’s some helpful guidance.
COVID-19 and Your Pets
The COVID-19 global pandemic is a fluid and ever-changing situation. There isn’t enough data to indicate whether pets can transmit the virus to humans. Nevertheless, there are ways pet owners can protect themselves and their animals just in case. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a video with some guidance.
Yes, they are a thing. If your Blaxit involves moving to a country within the European Union, you must obtain an E.U. Pet Passport for your animal. The E.U. Pet Passport is a universally accepted document that contains information regarding the ownership, identification, and medical information about your animal, including vaccination history. Pet passports are accepted in all E.U. countries and are valid for the life of the animal, provided their rabies vaccinations are up-to-date.
Brexit and Your Pet’s Blaxit
It should be noted that since the UK is no longer considered part of the European Union, beginning January 1, 2021, there will be a different process in place for pet passports. If your Blaxit involves travel from the US to the UK after January 1, 2021, it is recommended that you contact your veterinarian at least 4 months in advance to get the latest guidance on travel requirements.
For Dog Owners
Your dog’s breed and size could impede your plans depending on the country you wish to move to. Make sure you thoroughly read and understand the requirements and restrictions before committing. In some countries, breeds including pit bulls, mastiffs, Great Danes, and other large breeds are strictly prohibited.
Many countries including China and the EU require pets to have a 15 digit, ISO 11784/11785-compliant microchips implanted. In order to avoid any hassle upon entry, it is recommended that you confirm with your pet’s veterinarian that they use ISO-compliant microchips.
Carry on vs. Cargo Hold
While this varies by airline, most carriers will allow small pets to fly in the cabin with their owner for a fee, provided the animal is in an approved carrier for the duration of the flight. It’s best to contact the airline as early as possible so you are aware of the requirements.
Depending on the breed, size, or other requirements, it may be necessary for your fur baby to ride in the cargo hold of the airplane. Airlines have taken greater care in recent years to reduce the danger to your pet. For example, airlines will not fly your pet if the origin or destination temperature is outside of the 45 to 85 degree Fahrenheit range. That said, do your due diligence and understand the risks. Only dogs and cats are allowed to travel in the cargo hold of an airplane, and no short-nosed breeds are permitted.
Regardless of which option you choose, make sure your animal has adequate shelter and water to endure the flight. Changes in cabin pressure, noise from other animals, or the plane, can cause animals distress and you want to make sure your fur baby is as happy as can be.
Pet Relocation Service Providers
Another option are pet relocation service providers. These providers specialize in shipping your pet to your final destination. Typically, this option comes at a premium but in return, you and your pet will receive customized, expert planning and support for your international travel.
Before you take your fur baby to any country, you owe it to yourself and them to do your homework and plan ahead. Doing so will help you have a hassle-free arrival and an easier transition.