Expat's Manual

Shipping pets abroad is something that should never be done without careful consideration. Pet relocation can be stressful for both the animal and the owners. Pets are often an integral part of any family and the thought of leaving them behind when you move to a new country can be simply unbearable. However, out of love for your pet, you should take time to truly consider if the move abroad will be right for them. There are a number of factors you should consider when contemplating shipping pets abroad-

  1. The age of your pet. If your pet is very old it may not be a wise decision to put them through the stress of being transported to a new country, especially if this involves a long haul flight or several transfers.
  2. The breed and disposition of the pet. When it comes to shipping pets abroad it is vital that you throughly research the breed of animal in order to ensure that there will be no complications. Some breeds of dogs, for example those with a pug-nose, are often unable to fly safely because they experience difficulties breathing. Speak to your vet and ask his or her advice on the potential issues with shipping your animal.
  3. The health of your pet. You should always check with you vet that your pet will be fit to travel. You will be expected to produce a health certificate for your animal, which was issued and approved by a qualified vet 7 to 10 days prior to departure and a similar certificate will be required in order to clear your animal of immigration when you arrive in your host country.
  4. The appropriateness of sedating your pet. Whilst many people consider sedating their animal during pet relocation in order to calm them and try and make the journey as stress free as possible, the majority of veterinarians will actually advise against doing this. The effects of tranquilizers on your pet may be unknown and you should always check with a vet before you take such measures.
  5. The living conditions of your expat destination. Whilst your home country may be suitable for you pet, the one that you intend to relocate to may not. Before shipping your pet abroad you should fully research the living conditions, climate and acceptability of having a pet. You need to try to objectively make a decision as to whether the new location will be comfortable and safe for your pet and, as much as you may find it difficult, it can sometimes be better to leave them behind as opposed to negatively impacting their standard of life. For details about what it is like to own an animal in your chosen destination please see our international relocation guides. They contain everything you need to know about the attitudes towards pets in expatriate destinations throughout the world and give you valuable insights into the types of conditions you can expect and how they may impact your animal.

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