Relocating overseas, whether by choice or for work, is a big decision that requires quite a lot of forethought and planning. Things get even more complicated when you have furry friends to take with you. Moving with pets internationally is a lot tougher than moving with them domestically, and it’s stressful for both humans and their pets.
The good news is that if you do your research (which you’re doing now) and plan properly, you should be able to make it easier for both yourself and your beloved pet. If the thought of quarantine is something that concerns, then learning what is required and following the rules is the first step to easing your mind.
There are countries that require quarantine no matter what. However, in some cases they will waive or reduce quarantine time if your paperwork is in order. Therefore, it’s certainly worth ensuring that all your documentation is ready.
Here’s what you need to know about the quarantine requirements
The rabies-status of each country
Quarantine gives officials a chance to look for numerous health problems, but rabies is the biggest concern that drives quarantine requirements.
Every country in the world has been split into three categories relating to rabies; rabies-free countries, rabies-controlled countries and high-rabies countries. Before you relocate your pet internationally, you need to be aware of the rabies-status of your furry friends origin country, along with the destination country.
The rabies-status information can get quite complicated, but we will try to summarize it for you here:
- Rabies-free country to just about any other country: they can enter without quarantine and minimal paperwork.
- Rabies-controlled country to another rabies-controlled country: there may be certain requirements, such as; current rabies vaccinations, your pet should be microchipped, and you may need an import permit for entry.
- Rabies-controlled country to EU country: A pet-microchip is required for all EU countries. You will also need a veterinary certificate, current rabies vaccinations, and sometimes tapeworm treatment certificates.
- Rabies-controlled country to high-rabies country: Paperwork is minimum and you will probably just need the correct pet passport and occasionally an import permit.
- High-rabies country to rabies-controlled country: A blood titer test will usually be required and your fur baby should have a microchip.
- High-rabies country to high rabies country: Pet passport forms are required and maybe an import permit.
- High-rabies country to rabies-free country: There are some countries that do not permit pets from high-rabies countries. Others may require blood titer tests to prevent quarantine. But, there are a few countries that make quarantine mandatory, even if your pet is coming from a rabies-free destination.
Countries that quarantine pets on arrival usually require proof of a rabies vaccine performed at least six months before they arrive. Even countries that don’t have a mandatory quarantine period need a health certificate and rabies vaccination certificates.
Country specific quarantine
Many countries have strict regulations pertaining to international pet travel. No matter where you’re going, you should contact the embassy of that country to confirm pet travel regulations and quarantine rules.
Here’s an overview of the requirements for some of the most popular countries that travelers relocate to with pets:
- Canada: Cats and dogs can come into Canada for any period of time without quarantine from any country. However there are a few requirements and exceptions (rabies-status being one of them).
- Australia: There is a list of rules and regulations for pet travel to Australia. When your pet arrives in Australia, they will immediately be taken to the Quarantine Facility. The quarantine period is for a minimum of 10 days.
- New Zealand: Cats and dogs can be imported only from approved countries. If arriving from any country other than Australia, you'll need an import permit and your pet will be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days.
- United Kingdom: All pet dogs and cats can come into the UK from any country in the world without quarantine if they are in line with the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
Research import requirements
Different countries have different rules and requirements, and therefore you will need to research the import requirements through the Ministry of Agriculture of the country to which you’re moving to find out if quarantine is necessary.
If quarantine is required, you will want to find out as much as you can about procedures and the facility to ensure that you have all necessary documentation in place. This will help to avoid any issues and subsequent delays in having your pet released.
Each country incorporates its own rules with regard to live imports. These are aimed at keeping diseases and invasive species out. All countries need basic vaccination certificates and formal proof that your pet is in good health.
Other things to consider
If your pet has a layover that exceed 2 hours or will be changing airlines, you need to consider quarantine requirements of countries in which they must clear customs. There may be additional requirements in these countries.
Also, keep in mind that quarantine rules and regulations can change at any time. So always make sure that you are working with the most up-to-date information.
Moving to a new country and wondering about the process involved in having your furry friend fly with you? Driving with a pet in the car can be stressful enough. So the thought of your pet boarding an aircraft might sound like a nightmare. But, of course, often you don’t have much of a choice because the thought of leaving a beloved four-legged friend behind is not even an option.
These days, most commercial airlines allow passengers to fly with their pets. This is great news for all the fur-baby parents out there who are moving counties, and naturally, taking their pets with them. However, pets aren’t people, and therefore they have a very different flying experience. Even if your sassy little cat were capable of appreciating the amenities of a first-class ticket, they wouldn’t be eligible.
They may be treated like royalty in your home, but onboard an aircraft there are typically two categories that they will fall into: Carry-on baggage (cabin) or cargo. Below we will take a closer look at each of these options. Keep in mind that every airline is different and may have different requirements. But, for the most part, the general concept will be the same.
Carry-on Baggage (Cabin)
Firstly, you will need to figure out if your pet is small enough to fit under an airplane seat. Unfortunately, this option is only available for small pets. So if you have a large dog, they will need to fly in cargo luggage.
Most airlines allow passengers to travel with small pets tucked away inside a carrier, and under the seat in front of them. Size and weight restrictions vary between airlines, but most stipulate that together your pet and carrier should not exceed 20 pounds in weight. The other requirement is that the carrier fits under the space in front of you.
It’s also important to note that there are some restrictions in place regarding breed and age. Many airlines don’t allow puppies that are younger than eight weeks to fly in-cabin. In addition, some airlines don’t allow short-nosed dogs to fly because of the increased risk of respiratory problems. However, sometimes short-nosed dogs are only restricted from flying in-cargo, but can fly in-cabin. So it’s important to check these requirements with the relevant airline.
Most airlines allow passengers to ship their pets as cargo year-round in climate controlled sections. Cargo hold specifications may vary between airlines, but pilots are able to change the temperature according to the type of “load” and any items that may be sensitive to temperature, like your beloved furry-friend. However, there are often restrictions in place for extreme hot and cold weather conditions. This is because even though the cargo section may be temperature-controlled, other parts of the terminal might not be.
Despite what many people think, pets are not confined with luggage in a dingy dark hole at the bottom of a plane. Your pet will be securely loaded into the cargo area, but their crate will be placed in a separate area, away from the rest of the luggage. Baggage handlers often strap animal crates in place and typically wrap them with perforated air cushion rolls. Also, they get loaded onto the plane last and come off first.
While storing your pet in cargo may be a terrifying thought, it’s really not as bad as you imagine. Some great ways to prepare your fur-baby for the experience is by introducing them to the cargo crate as soon as possible, ensure that they are hydrated (water is very important), and fill the crate with toys and blankets to make them feel comfortable.
Other things to consider
Sometimes airlines restrict the number of pets that they allow onto an aircraft at any one time. This is why it’s very important to book and pay for your pets ticket as far in advance as possible.
It’s also important to go carrier shopping and ensure that you get a carrier that will offer your pet the most comfort, but also complies with airlines rules. There are many different types around so you can shop around to see which one will work best for you.
Lastly, sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. Remember that airline employees who handle your precious cargo are highly trained and they are often animal-lovers who take your pets safety very seriously.