Written by Quintin Coetzee
Emigrating can be a stressful experience – not only for us, but for our pets too. It is important to ensure that the correct procedures are followed for a successful pet move, and to make sure that your special friends are taken care of throughout.
We have partnered with a local pet moving company, PETport, who have provided us with some information about the pet moving process, and the top pet-related things to consider when emigrating. Read our interview with PETport owner Hazel below for some helpful tips.
What are the most important things to consider during the process of moving your pet overseas?
It is important to ensure that pet vaccinations and microchipping are done. Afterwards, the process of doing blood tests and permits, as appropriate for the country of destination, can begin.
Are there any circumstances when you would advise someone not to take their pet with them?
Each pet and family is very different. If a pet is unwell, and fails the health certificate, moving it is not advisable. Animals can have differing side effects at altitude if there are underlying health conditions. PETport has successfully flown animals up to 23 years old, so older animals can be relocated successfully.
What are the benefits of hiring a professional pet moving company to assist with the move?
Doing so is highly recommended. The company will ensure that your vaccinations, microchipping, and any necessary blood tests have been carried out at the correct time, in accordance with export and import procedures, specific to your destination country.
If dates are missed at blood testing, the test may be considered null and void, and the entire export process must begin again. A professional pet moving company ensures that the whole process is tied together, managed to arrival at airport, and at the other side – door to door. All that the owner needs to be concerned with is having the correct documentation, and following the clearly laid out instructions provided by the pet shipper.
What are things to look for when deciding which pet moving company to use?
IPATA registration and accreditation is important, as this indicates a set of standards and ethics within your chosen pet shipping company. A red light to mark bad companies is quotes for crates that are too small. Air freight is measured in volumetric kilograms, so some companies quote for smaller crates to make their prices more attractive. Using a crate that is too small will make for a very uncomfortable journey for your pet. All pets need to travel in an airplane’s cargo hold, other than service animals, which, on approval, can sit in an airplane’s cabin.
What are the common requirements (documentation, medical, etc.) for taking your pet overseas?
Blood tests, vaccinations, and microchipping are all common, as is a health certificate, issued by your local vet. As part of its service, a pet moving company will prepare the documentation, and ensure that it’s up to date and correct. There are often issues where vets don’t know about the requirements for the process, and a pet moving company, which monitors the industry, could inform vets as to what is required in order to provide owners with a smooth transition overseas.
What can you do to make the transition for the pet as easy as possible (stress-wise)?
- Keep calm, and try not to transfer any stress you may have onto your pet.
- Keep your pet’s routines as normal as possible.
- Put an old t-shirt with your scent in the pet’s crate.
- If your packing process is hectic and you are stressed, it may be a good idea to move your pet to a boarding facility.Doing so assists with keeping the pet’s routine, allowing them to remain calm.Boarding kennels will also assist with crate training your pet prior to travel, which may make the journey easier for your pet.
Do you have any recommendations for familiarizing a pet with a new home?
- Establish your pet’s routine in the new space as soon as possible.
- Bring elements of the old routine into the new home.
- Put pet beds, an old t-shirt, toys, bowls, etc. down as soon as possible.
- Don’t make a fuss – let your pet explore and find their spaces.
- Some pets like bathing with familiar shampoos for bonding.
Dogs generally acclimatise quicker than cats. Cats may ignore their owner for a few days, but soon settle into their new homes.Cat’s homes must have windows and doors closed until the cat has adjusted to their new surroundings.
PETport is a registered company. Its owner, Hazel Imrie, is a member of IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transport Association), and represents the Middle East and Africa region as a board member. PETport deals mainly with dogs, cats, and birds, but does transport some wild animals. The company does not do relocations for animals used for breeding farms, food, etc.
Following its code of ethics, PETport has markers that it uses to identify suspicious business opportunities, and rejects business when it feels the need, in keeping with its standards and vision. For more information about PETport and its services, visit: www.petport.co.za.
About Relocation Africa:
Relocation Africa Group is Africa’s premier Relocation and Immigration Service provider. With over 20 years of experience, and operations in 48 countries across the continent, Relocation Africa has the expertise to assist you with your mobility, immigration, research, and remuneration needs.