Once upon a time moving abroad, even for short periods, meant an agonising six month separation from your family pet. Fear of rabies meant that many countries enforced strict quarantine regulations for transnational pooches. For many families, particularly those with young children, these rules made a difficult transition even more unsettling. However, thanks to the introduction of ‘Pet Passports’ this is no longer the case. We came across a really interesting blog post with advice on having a dog in Dubai and thought that maybe lots of expats out there think about buying a cute kitten or an adorable puppy for their new home, or transport a much beloved pet from their old one, but are unsure how to proceed. Thankfully for expat animal lovers there is now a wealth of information and services available on the internet for wannabe jet set pets and their owners.
Before you rush to book the first plane ticket for you are your pet there are a number of things you should consider:
1) Pet passport- these can be quite complicated and expensive to obtain. For expats based in the EU, you can find out on the DEFRA website on things you should be aware of and the procedure for applying for these passports.
2) Local laws - always check local laws because rules vary from country to country. The majority of EU countries allow free movement of animals between EU member states but there are some exceptions. With the right documentation the UK does permit travel from some non-EU countries. Always check before what consequences this might have on taking your pet to other countries.
Local laws are also subject to change so always keep up to date with the latest travel information. For example until recently you could travel with as many dogs, cats or ferrets as you liked within the European Union but that number is now limited to five.
3) Micro chipping your pet is essential and the chip stores information on all the countries to which the pet has travelled.
4) Check what health and safety requirements are needed for your pet in order for them to relocate with you.
5) Vaccinations and blood test – You need to bear in the mind the necessary documentation needed detailing any vaccinations or blood tests your pet has had as these will be important for the authorities
6) Insure your pet- Just as you would buy travel insurance for yourself, make sure your pet is protected if anything goes wrong.
If all this sounds a bit too complicated and stressful, there is a plethora of companies out there that can ease the logistical nightmares of the internationally jet set pet. We've included a list of useful links below. PetAir for example, can take care of everything from booking the flight, to arranging your pooch’s paperwork. With so many companies out there, catering to all different markets, it is worth shopping around for the best fit for you and your pet.
Still feeling anxious?
If you’re still feeling anxious. There are a number of helpful websites and forums that offer advice to owners and pets. Pets and Travel has advice on every type of transport from cars, planes, boats and caravans. The website is also filled with useful case studies of other travellers’ experiences.
Pet travel agents
Pet travel advice