If you are are an expatriate or planning to move abroad, you need to make preparations for any pets that you may bring on your overseas assignment, offshore retirement or extended travels abroad. Depending your destination country, regulations and health requirements can be different for expats with pets. It is important for pet owners to understand the specific rules in their destination country as they vary quite a bit. In this article, we will discuss information on traveling and living abroad with your pet(s).

  • Obtain a Passport for Your Pet

    If you are planning to take your pet abroad, then a pet passport maybe necessary if you are travelling to Europe. The pet passport was originally from the European Union. It allows pet owners to obtain a blue passport from veterinarian and travel within EU member countries. These days almost all the countries around the world accept a pet passport. Many countries have specific regulations on health certificate and limits on how many pets you can bring. For example, if you are visiting China with your pets, then you will need to provide proof of rabies vaccination, health certificate and export documentation from your home country. If you are visiting the UK, a proof of tapeworm test may be needed to complete your pet passport. There is lots of information on this issue in the web.

  • International Health Certificate for Personal Pets

    An international health certificate for your pets is critical if you plan to take your pet abroad. An international health certificate usually includes: name of pet, age, country of origin, breed, colour, the owner’s name/contact info/address, etc. Some non-English speaking countries also require that the health certificate should be translated into the language of that country.

  • Vaccinations for Pets

    Before moving overseas, you should take your pet to your vet and request a full medical checkup. The standard pet vaccinations include rabies vaccines, distemper, parvovirus, etc. In some countries, rabies vaccines are separated into three doses within a three-year vaccines. However, you may need a booster shot for your pet if your destination country does not recognize the three year vaccine. Many countries such as New Zealand also require blood tests and other vaccinations. It is critical to do research of the specific regulations for the country you are entering.

  • Flying Your Pet Overseas

    Many airlines provide for some pets in the cabin when you traveling. For example, Air Canada allows pet owners to bring a cat or small dog in the cabin provided it is small enough to fit and stay comfortably. You can also find valuable information regarding weight, size and cost information on airline websites. It is important to learn and examine the pet policies of airlines that you are going to take.

  • Estimating the Costs of Pet Transport

    Nowadays, many companies are providing services in relocating pets. The cost from each relocation company varies depending on your destination country and the size of your pet. Most of the companies are able to assist in almost all the steps required in order to travel internationally. It can cost a few thousand dollars to move a pet. It is strongly recommended that you obtain a quote early so that you will have the chance to make comparisons.

  • Obtain Pet Travel Insurance

    Pet health insurance will cover all illnesses and injuries of your pets, including diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays and medications. Some pet insurance providers have vet direct pay plan, which will greatly facilitate the reimbursement procedures. Please note that not every pet health insurance plan covers pet travel insurance. Please ensure that you check with your insurance provider before moving overseas. At Expat Financial, we are not able to source insurance for pets – we just arrange coverage for people.

  • Search for Pet Friendly Accommodations

    When you are traveling with pet, another consideration would be the search for pet friendly hotels and expat housing. In many popular pet friendly vacation regions, you can research and select accommodation to visit with your pet. Don’t forget to bring toys and all your pet’s favourite things to make your pet feel at home.

  • Packing List for Your Pet

    Packing a pet for traveling can be challenging. To obtain a safe and comfortable travel for your pet, we have compiled a packing list to assist:

    • Pet calming treat
    • Airline cargo crate
    • A pet carrier bag
    • Water bottle for airline cargo crate
    • Blanket
    • Toys

    It will take some time for your pet to adjust to new routine. Always think ahead about the challenges/needs your pet will be facing.

  • Check All the Required Permits

    As stated above, you will need a pet passport, international health certificate and vaccination proof to travel abroad with your pet. Other than that, some countries require special permit such as import permit. You need to make sure that your pet obtain all required documents before traveling to your destination country.

  • Micro-chipping Your Pet

    Pet microchips are very important in pet identification. If your pet has been fitted with a microchip, and you lost your pet, authorities can scan the microchip number and access a worldwide database and look for your contact information, no matter you are at home or traveling. It is a good idea to visit your vet and ask for an insertion for your pet. The procedure is quite painless and you may want to make sure that the microchip complies with the regulations in the country where you will be staying.

Making the big move abroad requires a lot of planning, especially you are relocating with your pet. We are not able to source insurance for your pets, but don’t forget to obtain health coverage for you and your family while living abroad. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.