If you are moving abroad, you are going to want to take your pet with you. Although the amount of preparation and paperwork is tedious, you will both be happier staying together than separated. Here are a few helpful tips to expatriating your pet:
Prepare Your Timeline
Different countries have different requirements for importing pets. For instance, in Japan, it takes at least 6 months to meet their requirements but in Mexico, it takes 5 days. Look into the countries rules by contacting your local consulate for the most recent guide lines.
Contact the Airlines
Once you know the country’s rules for importing pets, next you have to find out the airline’s rules. Before you book your ticket, you can look up this information on line or talk to an airline representative. Travel agents can also be great resources for relocating as well. Compare the country rules with the airline rules to make sure you have a combined list and pay attention to the smallest of details. Follow all of the rules exactly so that there are no hiccups at check in.
Contact Your Vet
As soon as you know the country and airline regulations, contact your vet to inform them of your plans and schedule the necessary appointments for health clearances and vaccinations. You may want to take a trip in person and bring the country and airline guidelines with you so that you can discuss them together. Most vaccinations and health clearances have to be completed within a certain time frame of your departure, so scheduling the appointment is critical.
Discuss tranquilizers with your vet to see if your pet is healthy enough to tolerate them. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and time the dosage so that your pet is less anxious during the travel. If you have any questions about how to administer the medicine, ask your vet.
Purchase Your Carrier
Dig out your pet carrier to make sure it is within the size regulations. The rules are usually that the animal has to be able to stand up and turn around in it. Go through all of your other pet gear like leashes and water dishes. A collapsible water dish is great because they can fold up in your purse, and as soon as you reunite with your pet, you can offer them water.
It’s also not a bad idea to have a few pet treats in your purse to reward them for being such good travel partners!
Make Sure Your Living Arrangements Are Ready For Your Pet
If possible, bring along a few of your animals belongings that are familiar to them such as their food bowl, their favorite toy, a favorite pillow, ect. I know that it seems silly to almost have to pack an extra bag for the pet, but it will immediately familiarize your pet to their new home.
As soon as you can, take your pet for a walk around the grounds to familiarize them with the area. Take several walks with them! You will both learn more about the area by doing this and possibly meet your neighbors in the process!
Last But Not Least
You know what they say about the best laid plans……so no matter how well you prepare, you never know what can happen when you least expect it. Make a back up plan just in case! For example, if at check in, the flight attendant suddenly makes the announcement that no pets can be boarded that day due to too many bags (this can happen during holiday travels), do you have a friend or family member that will drive to the airport to pick up your pet and care for it until you can retrieve it?
The worst case scenario will most likely not happen, and you and your pet will experience your new life together with all the joy you expect to. Just try to be as prepared as possible for your own happiness as well as your pets.