Thursday, 27 June 2013

Pets and passports

When planning a move abroad, people are likely to be at the top of your priorities. You will think about where your kids should go to school, how you will keep in contact with your family and friends, and whether what your colleagues would be like. But, for those among us who spend far too long in the working day getting teary eyed over pictures like these…

Picture source: Flickr
…then you might also want to have a think about whether you will be moving cross-border with any pets at your side.  While many people view their pets as honorary members of the family and cannot conceive of leaving them behind, there are certain extra things that will need to be considered when planning to move cross-border with animals in tow.

As always in the expatriation planning process, it is worth doing your homework beforehand. Not only do the rules and regulations change depending on the country but they can be updated frequently. Therefore it is crucial to be fully aware of any issues that could arise so you do not get any unwelcome surprises.

If this is all a bit daunting, it is worth getting in touch with a reputable pet transport company whose job it is to deal with all of the admin and best steps to take. Many expats take advantage of the expertise they can offer when navigating the complex procedures. The service commonly extends right through from picking your pet up to dropping them off at your new home, so that you do not have to worry about check-ins, flights or customs. Companies also assist with the forward planning and are there to help with the array of paperwork, medical records and vaccination requirements. If you decide to go ahead with this option, it is generally recommended that you use a company accredited by the IPATA (Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association) who regulate the industry. Having this added guarantee and endorsement should set you at ease and help to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly.

Picture source: wikimedia
Although you might be set on taking your pets with you, it is also vital to think about their well-being.  Indeed, some animals are at greater risk of illness when travelling. Pekinese Terriers, British Bulldogs and Persian cats are among those who are susceptible to respiratory problems and therefore might become unwell in the air. Equally, if your animal is older, the stress of travel might not be worth it. As airlines do not tend to have an upper-age limit on travel it is down to you to consider whether travel can be avoided. If you do decide to go ahead with the transportation process, there are certain measures you can take pre-flight such as crate training to help your pet adjust to the environment.

Although you will have done lots of the legwork by the time you get to your new home, there are also other issues to consider upon arrival. Pet protocols differ from place to place and in some countries it will not be common to own a domestic animal at all. This can cause problems when trying to find an accessible vet and food supplier. If in doubt about the best places of practices, make use of the local knowledge as they tend to have real-life insights beyond that of the internet or directories.