When moving abroad, there are so many factors to consider, especially when you have a short timeline to prepare the move. What we often forget is how stressful moving abroad with pets is and here are some key things you should know about moving your dog abroad.
1 Start planning your pets move before your own.
I know this sounds slightly crazy, but in theory, you can pack and move in a short period of time. Your pet, however, could take months of preparation depending on a whole list of immigration rules. So best to check with the incoming country first. Each country has different rules for immigration and quarantine, so contacting a pet relocation company first thing might save you hours of research on the internet. If you can not find a pet relocation company, then either ask around (someone will know someone who knows someone). Or speak to your vet, some vets are licensed to help with the export process.
2 Do your research
Of course, your first thought is that your fur babies are coming with you, how can you leave a part of your family behind? Well, you need to consider a few things before making that decision, and they are.
1- Is your pet a restricted breed of animal?
2- Is the climate suitable for your pet, e.g. too hot or too cold?
3 – Is it a pet-friendly country?
4 – How old is your pet? Can they be transferred with as little stress as possible?
5 – Will airlines take your particular breed onto flights, e.g. is your dog snuffed nose?
6 – Would they be better off staying behind with someone who can take good care of them?
3 Get your pet records into order
For those who have not travelled with their pets, there are a few records that they will need to collate before the move goes ahead. These include things like vaccination records, vet records, health records or governments certificates, e.g. birth records and breed. Some countries may request other documentation so always check online first.
4 Find a pet relocation company that you feel comfortable with
Relocating your pet is not only expensive and time-consuming; it can also be stressful. You want to find a company that takes the stress out of the move (you already have a million other issues to stress about when moving, you don’t need anymore). You also need to read the reviews and do a little research into the company that is going to take care of your pet. We were devastated to see the condition of our dog when moving from Seoul to Tokyo. She spent five months in a pet hotel (do not let the name fool you), and she came back skinny, scared and full of sores all over her body.
5 Training your pet to be in a crate
Most pets who have not travelled will have never experienced a crate before. My dog, from a very early age, was crated at night until we felt she was comfortable when moving. She is a whizz at it now (this will be her 6th and final move), the crate is her safe haven, and when we bring it out, she is straight in there. Having them trained in a cage reduces the anxiety your pet may have on long flights or for extended periods in quarantine etc.
Ensure that you have all of the records for the pets chip. We were surprised to find that when she arrived in a country, they chipped her again because they didn’t look hard enough for the one she already had. This not standard practice and this is something I assumed I didn’t need to provide them with (I thought this was all done by the vet and relocation company).
7 It is going to be expensive
Prepare for a crazy invoice, do shop around, but you will find that most places are standard practice and will charge a similar amount. Some employers will include pet travel into your moving expenses, but unfortunately, most won’t, so do try to negotiate this before the move, so you aren’t shocked by this extraordinary bill.
8 Things to research for when you arrive
Find a vet (preferably one that has come recommended), and in your neighbourhood oh and check whether language is going to be a barrier. Having an English speaking vet or receptionist, it makes communication a little easier for you and your pet. Ensure you research things such as pet license, pet rules in your area and when and if your pet needs regular vaccination.
Once you have moved, your pet is now an international traveller. Remember to get them used to their new environment, join pet-friendly facebook groups in your area. Make sure you check the local community notices to see whether your pet can be on or off a leash, whether they need to be muzzled or even whether your pet is allowed in certain places. Many countries do not allow dogs to be walked in many parks or even walk on certain parts of the street.
Whether you choose to relocate your dog to a family that you know will take care of it, or whether you decide to transfer your (now) expat pet with you. The primary key is to do as much research as possible. It is not an easy decision to make, and sometimes you realise that the decision is taken out of your own hands.