For most, relocating to another country can cause a lot of stress. When moving overseas with your pets, you need to make an informed decision as to whether your four-legged companion is up for the trip. You also need to be aware of the laws in the country you’re moving to, figure out what documentation you need, etc. Knowing how the entire process works can make things much easier and ensure a smooth transition for you and your pets. 

Understand the Risks of Pet Relocation

Some dogs and cats are considered to be at a higher risk when traveling. For instance, older and debilitated pets are allowed to travel as there’s no age limit but you should be aware that there’s considerable stress involved for them. Pets prone to anxiety should be trained to get accustomed to the crate ahead of time in order to avoid injuries and hyperventilation. Brachycephalic dog breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, are prone to respiratory issues which can be worsened in stressful situations. 

Other dog breeds that are more likely to suffer from complications while traveling are Shih Tzu, Pekinese, Japanese Chin, Bull Terrier, Brussels Griffon, and Boston Terrier. Persian and Himalayan cats are also at higher risk for complications when traveling.

Obtain an Animal Health Certificate

In order to obtain an Animal Health Certificate, you need to get in touch with a veterinarian at least ten days before your trip. Check if your veterinarian is authorized to issue this certificate before contacting them. The vet will need to see records of your pet’s vaccination history and proof that the pet has been microchipped.

In some countries, the rabies certificate needs to be in English or have a certified English translation. Companies that offer document translation services can translate this and any other documents you might need for yourself and your furry friend. If your pet’s rabies vaccine is not translated or completed by the vet who issued the vaccine, you run the risk of your pet being sent back to its country of origin.

As of July 2021, there’s a temporary suspension for dogs imported from countries that the CDC considers high risk for dog rabies. Dogs from these countries can be brought on an extremely limited basis, with a special Dog Import Permit issued by the CDC. 

Get Pet Insurance

Travel insurance is actually an extension of pet insurance that can be added to cover trips abroad. Some insurance policies include travel coverage as standard, while others offer it as an optional extra.

There are different types of pet health insurance that could cover anything from an unexpected injury to getting regular treatments for therapy. Finding and choosing the right insurance plan for your pet is extremely important as this is one less thing to worry about when you want to take your furry friend on a trip across the globe.

Plane Travel

Your pet can travel on a plane as manifest cargo (without the owner), as excess or accompanied luggage in the cargo hold, or with you in the cabin (under the seat in front of you).

Of course, most people will decide to take their beloved pets in the cabin but this might not always be possible. For instance, airlines have restrictions on size and weight and there are also foreign import regulations that need to be taken into consideration.

For these reasons, many pets won’t be able to be with you in the cabin. Having some adjustable and washable kitten diapers is a must if you are traveling with cats! It’s especially significant when your cat has problems like urinary incontinence, digestive disorders, or spaying incontinence.

The good news is if you choose the right airline, the cargo hold will be climate-controlled and pressurized, making sure your furry companion travels comfortably. Pet-friendly airlines like KLM have special cargo programs designed for animal travelers, with kennel facilities where local personnel ensure the pets are fed and well taken care of. They also have on-site veterinarian services should the need arise. 

Be sure to get in touch with the airline you intend to use, even if you haven’t booked the tickets yet. Ask about their guidelines and options when it comes to international travels with pets. The airline might have additional rules that the country you’re moving to doesn’t have. They can also provide you with details on carrier and crate sizes and what you’ll need to bring along.  

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Your vet is the most useful line of contact when it comes to traveling with your four-legged pal. They will be able to tell you whether your pet is able to travel (too old and too young pets, as well as those suffering from anxiety or other conditions, are generally not advised to ride in cargo). 

The vet will also help you prepare your furry baby for travel by making sure they’re up to date with the vaccines or providing medication to calm the animal down during travel. Finally, the vet will also help you check off any health requirements required in the country you’re moving to.

Consider Hiring a Pet Relocation Service

Traveling with an animal can be complicated, which is why you should consider working with a pet relocation service. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), Airpets, and Animals Away are all good companies to take into consideration. 

These organizations can help you with everything including help with veterinary requirements, paperwork, customs clearance, arranging your pet’s travel, and ensuring that you follow all the import rules of your destination country.

Final Thoughts

Moving with your pet to another country isn’t an easy task. Thorough planning and communication with your vet will ensure that your furball travels safely and in compliance with the laws of the country you’re moving to.