Moving countries is an all too common reality for most Expats. There are so many things to organize- new schools, houses, cars, packing, shipping and more. The list can be exhaustive. With all these details to worry about, sometimes our beloved pets get put last on the list of priorities.

At Kowloon Veterinary Hospital we believe relocating your pet should be done with as little anxiety as possible. This article, written by Dr. Amanda Roddam, will help you with all you need to know about relocating your furry family members with minimal stress to both you and your pet.

Pet relocation can be a very confusing and daunting task, with a lot of elements to consider, from paperwork to government restrictions. Below are a few pointers to help make the process easier.

– Obtain a quote from a reputable pet relocation agent as early as possible.
– Research the timing involved for your particular destination.
– Book a flight and consider any quarantine requirements.
– Arrange a suitable crate for shipping.
– Arrange necessary documentation.

Obtaining A Quote
The first step is to obtain a comprehensive quotation as early as possible from a reputable relocation agent. Pet relocation can get very expensive. Some companies outsource each step, and end up costing you a lot more money than you really need to spend. However there are a lot of aspects of the process that you can organize yourself. Knowing exactly what is needed, and timing involved, will help you decide what you can personally organize and what would be better left to the professionals.

Timing
The entire relocation process can take from 1 month up to even 6 months depending on the import/export laws of the country you are relocating to, and the health status of your pet. Some countries have little or no rules, however others can require a series of complicated and involved steps such as blood tests, treatments and even quarantine.

Australia and New Zealand require a special mention as both these countries have very strict quarantine laws and require at least 7-8 months prep time. To minimize the amount of time your pet spends in quarantine requires a lot of detailed paperwork and precise timing of bloods tests etc.

Pre-booking Your Pet’s Flight
A detailed medical examination with a trusted Veterinarian is recommended before considering air travel with any pet, no matter the age or breed. Be sure to select flights carefully in order to offer your pet the most direct, comfortable and safe journey. Some airlines allow passengers to carry small pets with them directly in the cabin. However this is not always best as most pets will exhibit strange and inappropriate behavior causing stress to both the pet and owner.

When transporting your pet via cargo, airlines determine the cost based on crate size and destination. For example, to ship a small dog via cargo from Hong Kong to New York ranges from $450-$550, and for large dogs it can range from $1300-$2000++ (USD).

Travel Crates
To ensure your pet travels safe and sound it is important you choose a crate that is tailored to your pet’s individual size and needs. Make sure you have accurate measurements of your pet so they have enough room to move freely, but not so large that they could get tossed around. Freight charges are based on volume of the crate rather than weight.

To keep your pet dry and comfortable, line the crate with “Vetbed”- specialized bedding that ensures that your animal stays dry throughout their journey.

“CRATE conditioning”
It is a great idea to introduce the crate to your pet as early as possible. Minimize the stress to your pet by getting them comfortable with the crate as well as being inside the crate well before the date of travel. This can be as easy as feeding your animal inside the crate so that they associate the crate with a pleasant experience. Familiarizing your pet with a dripper water bottle is also a great idea as then you can be sure they will be well hydrated and there will be no spillage or sitting in a damp crate for the entire flight.

Sedation
This can be a contentious issue. A lot of owners may be inclined to use sedative drugs to calm their anxious pets. However from a medical point of view, this can be dangerous. Sedatives can make it more difficult for animals to control their body temperature and respiration, as well as making them more reactive to noises and lights. Keeping your pet calm, and in a natural state can be achieved by early conditioning and is much safer for travelling than sedation.

Breed Restrictions
In recent years many airlines have tightened their policies regarding the transport of braycephalic (snub nosed) cats and dogs. Examples of these breeds are: dogs such as Pugs, Pekingese, Boxer, Chow Chow or Shitzu; cats such as Persian, Exotic short hair or Himalayan. The majority of international airlines have either completely banned or placed severe restrictions on the transportation of these animals.

These animals can still be relocated, however careful and detailed pre-export health evaluations by a reputable Veterinarian are vital to ensuring these animals enjoy a safe journey.

Kowloon Veterinary Hospital Pet Transport Services
Take the stress out of relocating for both you and your pet. If the process is managed with professional advice, correct evaluation and shipping knowledge, it can be a smooth and simple process for everyone involved. Ensure your pet has the safest, most relaxed journey, speak to one of our expert staff and find out everything you need to know before, during and after travel.

Call us at 2382 3300 or email enquiry@kowloon-vet-hospital.com to book your consultation today.