Moving your pet across borders can be quite cumbersome, but if you are emigrating then you would not want to leave a furry member of your family behind. The process for transporting your pet overseas differs and it is largely dependent on the specific rules of the destination country. There are several companies specialising in pet relocation. While these services may cost more, it usually removes all the red tape and difficulties that you may face on your own.

Here are some of the factors that you need to consider when moving your pet to another country. Remember that the restrictions and regulations can differ significantly from one country to the next. Always check on the immigration and customs website of your destination country for the specific requirements for pets entering the country. Also be prepared for the fact that your pet may not be allowed to travel on the same flight as yours.

Ensure that your pet is fully vaccinated

If you have skipped any recent vaccinations then you will need to immediately get your pet vaccinated. In addition to the standard annual vaccinations, like the rabies vaccine, certain countries may have specific immunisation requires for your pet. Some animal diseases may not be a concern in South Africa but vaccinations may still be required by your destination country. Do not rely entirely on your vet who may be unaware of the requirements of certain countries. Do your own research and the collaborate with your vet.

Complete the necessary paperwork

All the necessary paperwork of the destination country needs to be completed in full. Depending on the country, this paperwork may not be in English and you may have to hire the services of a professional translator. Do not attempt to bypass any of the requested documentation if it is not a requirement in South Africa. Remember that rules and laws differ and the destination country may refuse your pet entry.

Find the state veterinarian

Even if your local vet has completed all the paperwork, ensured that your animal is fully immunised and done all the required checks and tests on your pet, the state vet may still need to approve your pet’s documentation. You will always need to take your pet to the state vet. Instead the completed documentation from your vet may need to be taken to the state vet’s stamp of approval. Call ahead to the state vet and clarify what is required.

Use only the recommended cages

An airline can refuse to take your pet on a flight if the pet carry cage does not meet  specific requirements. Ensure that the size of the cage is correct, that the breathing holes are within specification, that the cage has mesh wire if necessary and can be locked for the duration of the flight. Speak to the airline representations about the exact requirements so you are not caught off guard at the last minute.