Planning any international trip can be a convoluted process. If you’re actually moving with your family to another country, the details multiply exponentially. You’ll need time to organize your to-do list, let alone get everything done in time.
So the sooner you get started, the better. Especially on the pet part. Shorting yourself on time will only leave you feeling frazzled, and that will make your other preparations more chaotic. The less time you give yourself, the easier it will be to overlook an important detail or make some other mistake. When it comes to moving your pet to another country, every detail is critical. And the penalty for mistakes or omissions is high.
You’ll need to schedule a visit with your veterinarian
How much lead time do you need to make an appointment with your vet? Chances are good this won’t be your pet’s only appointment, because she may have to come back for necessary vaccinations or tests. Your vet will need time to fill out the USDA health certificate, and that can’t be done till all the medical requirements are met.
Depending on where you’re headed, your pet may need a rabies titer test to confirm the antibodies from her rabies vaccination are working within her body. It requires only a blood sample, but it takes six months for the test to “percolate” in the lab. Six months. You can’t hurry it along.
Because rabies is such a high-risk concern around the world, countries that require the titer test will not allow your pet to enter without the final lab results. In some cases, your pet may be allowed to enter early and then spend the remainder of the 180-day waiting period in quarantine. Not much of a “benefit,” for you or her.
Health-related paperwork can also take time beyond coordinating with your regular vet. If he or she is USDA-accredited, that’s a plus. If not, you’ll also have to get sign-off from your state’s USDA veterinarian. Some foreign countries require this additional step even if your vet is accredited by the USDA. Depending on how far from you the state vet is located and how busy they are, this can add several days to your preparation schedule.
Another priority task: her travel kennel
Every dog or cat who travels by air must have an airline-approved kennel. It’s not hard to find these, although it is critical that you get the correct size. Nonetheless, you want to purchase this carrier as soon as you can, because you want to give your dear girl maximum time to get used to it. With so many other strange things going on, she will feel less stressed if she is surrounded by a familiar “home.”
Weather affects pet travel
To protect pet health and safety, airlines will not transport dogs and cats if it is very warm or very cold outside. Airlines have to transfer animals between the terminal and the plane. Pets are loaded last and unloaded first, so they spend minimum time on board. However, sometimes there is a wait on the tarmac no matter how efficient and pet-friendly the crew tries to be. Temperature extremes can quickly affect pets.
Why does this matter?
Because the weather restriction applies to every airport on your pet’s itinerary – departure city, destination, and any stopovers along the way. Our pros here at Starwood always plan the shortest, most direct routes for pets. However, depending on the specifics of your pet’s journey and the time of year, weather delays or embargoes can happen without warning. The more advance notice you have regarding your international move, the easier it will be to sidestep these potential problems.
Pulling it all together takes time
If you’re preparing to move overseas, you have a lot of details to choreograph. You’ll need time to research pet import requirements for your destination. (It’s not always as simple as it sounds.) Then there’s the running around – taking your pup or kitty to the vet, following up, shuffling paperwork, ordering a kennel, etc., etc. It can add up fast.
Not only that, many of the medical and other documentation requirements for pets must be accomplished within specific timeframes that do not coincide in any helpful way. It’s not only time-consuming, it’s complex.
What if you’re short on time?
We know that sometimes you don’t have as much time as you’d like to get organized, even if you’re moving to another country. We can help you in two ways. We will relieve you of the burden and stress of dealing with your pet’s moving arrangements. And we can expedite those arrangements in ways you cannot. Time may not be on your side, but we are.