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Emigrating abroad comes with a whole range of checklists and challenges, and if you’re a pet owner then there are a few additional considerations you need to make.

Luggage transport experts at My Baggage have revealed the major concerns pet owners should take into account before moving abroad, including the cost and the potential transmission of disease. 

That’s not to mention the logistics of moving a pet abroad. For their toys and accessories, you can arrange for up to 30kg of unaccompanied luggage to be collected and transported with a luggage shipping service, but for your pet, many airlines will only ship them as checked baggage, which could raise a few health concerns.

A spokesperson for My Baggage said, “Whether you’re making a permanent move abroad or you’re planning on exploring another continent and you’d love to take your canine companion along for the ride, taking your pet abroad isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

“Before you even have the documentation you need to take your pet on an airplane, for example, you’ll need to pay for health certificates, vaccinations, kennels and a microchip if they don’t already have one.

“And once you’ve ticked all the boxes, jumped through all the hoops and actually got your pet onto different soil, some countries will require quarantining them for a longer period of time – sometimes up to six months!”

Top things to consider

1. Cost

Shipping your pet abroad can be quite expensive. In addition to paying for the actual transportation, you have to pay for health certificates, vaccinations, kennels and even a passport. 

2. Disease

By far the biggest concern when importing and exporting pets is the potential transmission of diseases, and rabies in particular. Most countries will require a certified rabies vaccination for dogs, cats, and ferrets, and sometimes even a blood test is required. You’ll also need to find out if the country requires a lengthy quarantine, which could last up to six months. Dogs will probably have to have been treated for tapeworm too.

3. Passport

Just like humans, your furry friend is going to need a passport. To obtain a pet passport, your animal will first need to be microchipped and have a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before departure.

You will then need to ask your vet for a Fit to Fly certificate as close as possible to your departure date. Dogs will also need tapeworm treatment. Your vet will then issue your pet with its very own passport.

Dog at vets

4. Transportation

Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane’s cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Others will have to ship your pet as checked baggage, which could raise a few health concerns. In general, the shorter your flight and the more direct your route, the better it will be for your furry friend.

5. Housing

Before you buy a kennel or cage for your pet to travel in, check if the airline has special requirements and get detailed information. Make sure your pet gets acquainted with the kennel or container well ahead of your flight too. Add some familiar toys or an item of your clothing so your pet feels comfortable and at home.

6. The journey

Once the relevant documentation has been obtained, and you’ve purchased the items necessary, all you need to do is ensure your pet is calm and happy throughout the duration of the journey. You can obtain natural remedies to calm anxious pets from most vets.

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