Moving pets overseas – a simple guide:
April 17, 2018
As April is International Pet Month, we’re looking at the rules of moving pets to some of the most popular expatriate destinations.
We’ve provided the basic process of any pet relocation to the UAE, Singapore, Australia or New Zealand; along with tips to help alleviate some of the stress for both you and your pet.
Check your pets’ eligibility for relocation
Firstly, make sure that you check early in the process if your pets are eligible to relocate with you.
Both Australia and New Zealand have strict rules about which animals are permitted. Presently New Zealand only accepts certain dogs, cats and chinchillas. For the latest information, visit New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website.
Australia currently accepts cats, dogs and horses. For Australia, you’ll want to visit Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).
Singapore’s generally strict regulations unsurprisingly apply to pet importation too. The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) have a simple calculator on their website that can help you better understand the requirements, given your circumstances. Some of the general requirements include an import permit and Singapore-specific health certificate.
Most breeds of dogs and cats can be moved to the UAE (the exceptions being dogs that are restricted elsewhere, such as pitbulls).
Traveling with an assistance dog
Australia or New Zealand differ slightly in their rules regarding assistance dogs. If you are relocating to New Zealand you need to prove that the dog is fully trained as an assistance dog, and has been with you for at least six months.
For Australia, you will need a doctor’s note that states details of your disability and how your assistance dog improves your quality of life. Your assistance dog will need to register with either the International Guide Dog Federation or Assistance Dogs International.
Check with your airline as some will permit your dog to travel with you rather than in the cargo hold. Dog Jaunt provides a useful list, including which airlines allow assistance dogs to travel in-cabin.
Visit your vet for guidance
It is necessary under any conditions to visit your vet to discuss the health requirements for your pet and to obtain documentation.
Ask your vet about what the tests and treatments needed will entail. Find out how long each vaccination will be valid for, and note this down within a vaccination card.
New Zealand’s Important Health Standards (IHS) document can help you identify what’s necessary up front.
For Australia visit the DAWR website. Both countries will require the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test. This should take place 180 days before the date of export, so speak to your vet about this to fit it easily into your relocation schedule.
UAE also require a rabies vaccination. Like New Zealand and Australia, you’ll need to submit this vaccination document to the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Singapore requires similar vaccination documentation, but also requires this to be confirmed when you arrive in Singapore. Both UAE and Singapore require a quarantine period.
Prepare your pet for the big move
It is crucial that your pet has a low stress experience. To do this you should familiarize your pets with the crates they will be traveling in well in advance of your departure day.
Help your pet have a positive association with the crate in advance. Leave it near their sleeping area so they can feel comfortable around it.
You can also place treats inside to entice them to sleep inside of it. A helpful tip is also to take your pets on car journeys in their crate so they can get used to what it’s like to be inside during motion.
Animals are susceptible to heightened emotions. If you feel like they may need calming on the day, plan to add a recently worn t-shirt to their travel crate before departure. An owner’s scent during transit will help to calm nerves.
Discuss in advance with the airline, or pet shipping company any concerns or questions you may have about their journey. Another key question to ask is how you’ll be notified about them when you arrive.
Time in quarantine
When your pet arrives in Singapore, Australia or New Zealand they will need to spend at least 10 days in an official quarantine facility. The UAE by contrast requires no quarantine period, unless the pet is younger than four months.
If you are using a pet shipping company they will book your pet into a nearby facility and you will be able to discuss any issues or concerns with them. If you are arranging your pet’s stay independently visit the MPI or DAWR websites dependant on where your nearest approved facility is. You will be able to reach out to the manager of the facility ahead of time and during your pets stay to discuss any issues you may have.
Welcoming them to your new home
Following quarantine, ensure that you visit a local vet to update your pets microchip to the local database.
After what was hopefully a period of minimal stress, you should be ready to settle in to your new home. Remember to bear in mind how differences in climate can affect your pet’s comfort, particularly when it comes to walking dogs.
As featured in Australia and New Zealand magazine.
If you are planning to relocate this year with your furry friends click here to find out how Crown Relocations can help you.