Though international pet travel can seem mysterious (and frankly a little scary) at first, this part of your move can be completed safely and smoothly by taking advantage of the resources available online and by following the advice of pet travel experts.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Research Import Rules
-- When preparing to move internationally with a pet, start by researching the pet import requirements for the country to which you’re moving. Every country is a little different, but most likely your pet will need an up to date rabies vaccine, a microchip and a health certificate at the very least. Once you’ve found the official rules (the USDA, Ministry of Agriculture, or a pet travel professional are good sources to check with), you’ll be able to build a timeline for your pet’s move and align their needs with your own travel logistics.
Crate Train Your Pet
-- Second, it’s very important to start crate training your pet if they’re not already used to spending time in a kennel. Pets who see the crate as a safe and normal place to be will experience much less anxiety during their flight, and devoting time to training in the weeks before the move is one of the kindest and smartest things you can do as a world traveling pet owner.
Choose a Pet Safe Airline
-- Another important detail is your pet’s flight. Some airlines are more pet friendly than others, so it’s worth it to do a little research and choose a carrier with established pet policies in place. International pet travel will most likely mean that your pet will fly via cargo (and not necessarily on the same flight as you), but when handled by a pet safe airline this is a safe process. The cargo area is pressure and temperature controlled and pets are overseen by trained staff (not just baggage handlers).
Above all, don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed. Advice from your fellow expats and guidance from pet travel professionals can make all the difference when it comes to arranging a safe move for your most precious cargo.
Good luck, pet travelers!
(Example of a fanciful pet crate made from a barrel, not airline approved, pictured.)