When thinking about moving abroad to work, preparing for your departure means undertaking basic and essential planning, such as visa applications, housing research, family mobility, etc. However, many people have a pet, a loyal companion for many years that you won’t want to leave behind, so the question is, how do you take your pet abroad?
Depending on the country you are moving to, the rules vary. In most cases, it’s possible to take your pet abroad as long as you follow certain administrative procedures.
To better prepare for your departure, you must plan ahead and contact the Embassy of the country you are moving to first to find out more about their pet healthcare regulations.
In Europe, legislation is in place to make it easier to move your pet abroad. To travel and re-locate to another country, dogs and cats must have a microchip identification (a simple tattoo is no longer enough), be vaccinated against rabies and hold their own passport (yes, pets too!) in which the alphanumeric number of the chip is recorded. For a European passport, simply ask your vet who will also be able carry out any vaccinations required.
In Finland, Malta, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, additional formalities are necessary before your pet’s departure. But if your pet is a rodent, a reptile, an amphibian or a fish, a certificate of good health is enough for it to travel within the EU.
Outside the European Union, the rules vary significantly from one country to another. However, a health certificate is requested by most countries. Some also require that the animal be placed in quarantine (China) or others that it has reached a certain age (Canada, New Zealand). It is also worth knowing that some dog breeds that are considered dangerous are not accepted everywhere.
The most common pets are dogs or cats, but some people have a passion for exotic animals. The legislation regarding these animals is quite different and you will need to check with your vet or local authority to see if your pet is not part of a protected species. Iguanas, tarantulas or parrots do not travel as easily as cats or dogs!
Once all these steps are taken, the animal is almost ready to leave but there are still some other details to be taken into consideration. First of all, some airlines have different rules regarding pets. Some allow certain animals to travel in the cabin and others only in the hold. In some cases, the animal must not be over a certain weight and the size of its cage must meet certain security standards. You must also remember to reserve a place for your pet as airlines have a limited number of places dedicated to animals. It is also useful to equip your pet with a collar with all your details and a leash in case the animal should escape from its cage and pass through the security gates during checks.
If you find the process of taking your pet abroad rather daunting, there are medium and long-term solutions for looking after it in your absence. Host families or specialised boarding facilities will be willing to take care of your pet for a given period.