The logistics of moving to another country as an expat can be complex. This is multiplied many times, however, if you plan to take the beloved family pet with you.
While there are many obvious elements to consider – such as booking a flight for your pet, plus ensuring your dog or cat’s vaccination record is up-to-date – there are many other factors that could slip through the net.
In this article we’re going to take a closer look at some of the most commonly-forgotten elements to consider when taking your pet abroad…
Pet Travel Insurance
Many of us insure our pets to help cover the costs of veterinary care. But what happens when you leave “home turf”?
As it turns out, a small number of companies offer specialist pet travel insurance, which offers cover for public liability, loss and injury of your pet during the relocation process. This relatively small investment can be worth its weight in gold if the worst happens during travel.
Booking a flight for you is one thing; booking a flight for your cat or dog can be an altogether different experience. For example, not all airlines accept pets, and those that do may require booking through a specialist pet travel company. Space is often limited to just a few animals per flight, so early booking is also essential.
More than just booking flights however, you also need to consider the logistics of how both you and your pet will travel. Would it be of greatest benefit to travel on the same plane together? Alternatively, would it be more beneficial to arrive some days before your pet, so they can avoid the mayhem of arriving in a new country?
Approved Pet Carriers
If you’re taking a pet on a plane then almost without exception your chosen airline will insist on certain standards when it comes to carriers. Frequently, dog crates and cat carriers purchased at standard pet shops simply won’t pass the strict IATA rules for both construction and size.
It’s therefore wise to find out in advance exactly whether your crate is acceptable, and if not to purchase one well in advance. In this way your dog or cat can gain familiarity with their carrier before being restricted to it throughout the flight.
Thanks to the wealth of paperwork required, and the specialist nature of pet flights, transporting pets abroad is not a cheap exercise.
Be certain to factor these costs into your moving budget – or ideally even make it part of your expat remuneration package.
Not all countries are full of animal lovers. Furthermore, laws and rules for pet ownership can also differ considerably. In the Middle East, for example, it is not uncommon for dogs not to allowed off the leash in parks or on beaches; they can only be released in dedicated doggie parks.
Before you decide to take your pet abroad, therefore, investigate how you’ll need to behave on arrival to keep your pet safe and legal.
Lastly, even if you have been wise enough to already invest in local pet insurance, be certain to identify and sign up for a local vet in your new country. If something untoward occurs, which is particularly likely in the stressful environment of not just a new home but also a new climate, at least you know you’ll be suitably prepared.