Articles and stories

Homes Overseas February 2008

It’s not a dog’s life

In the many years that we have been arranging overseas moves, the relocation of the family pet has often been considered by the customer to be far more important than the shipment of personal effects – or even the family. How Tiddles, Fido or Bubbles is to be moved is among the first questions asked, and arrangements are often put in hand far in advance of other, probably more pressing, considerations.

Each destination country has its own set of regulations for the import and settlement of pets. A good remover will be able to advise the customer of these, as well as which countries impose quarantine, and any cities that cannot provide quarantine facilities – particular important when moving to countries such as Australia where the distance between cities is great.
Your remover should be able to complete much of the documentation on your behalf. For some countries an Import Permit is required prior to transit, so it is important to start the process as early as possible.  Regulations vary – pets may need to be microchipped, blood tested, vaccinated or simply issued with a Certificate of Health.

At the time of quotation, the customer should be provided with information about all the vaccinations that are needed, and the number of days prior to transport they are required.  For example, to transport a dog to Australia it will need: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and ParaInfluenza inoculations at least 14 days but within 12 months of export. A jab for Bordetella Bronchiseptica (kennel cough) is not a requirement prior to transport but it is recommended as it will be needed in Australia.  There are also blood tests required for: Brucella Canis, Ehrlichia Canis and Leptospirosis Canicola within 30 days of shipment.  The Brucella and Ehrlichia must have a negative result.  An acaricide (destroys mites) must be applied within 24 hours of the blood sample being taken.  If the Lepto test is positive then a second test will be required 14 days later.  Your dogs cannot be mated after the Brucella test is taken. It sounds complex, but with guidance and support from your remover, the relevant regulations will all become clear.

Within four days of transport, your pet must be wormed and be certified to travel (this will normally all be done as part of the quotation).  Your pet will be examined prior to export (pets are not fed immediately before loading to avoid soiling, but all kennels are supplied with fresh water during transit). If the vet is satisfied all is well, the kennel will be sealed, and this will remain intact until arrival at destination, otherwise entry may be refused.  In Australia, there is a requirement for 30 days’ quarantine, with pets only going into Perth, Melbourne or Sydney for this process.  Quarantine fees are AU$16 per night.

The requirements for moving dogs to most countries are quite similar to those for Australia, but with minor differences. The specific requirements for your particular pet to the destination country should be advised to you by your remover at the time of quotation.

The process for shipping a dog;

When a customer asks Abels to ship a dog, the following is undertaken:

  • We ask for the dimensions (length from nose to rear when standing, width across shoulders, height from floor to head when sitting / and also when standing). From this, a purpose-built air kennel is made to IATA (International Air Transport Association) specifications and supplied for transit.
  • We ask for the breed, sex, if neutered and age.
  • A quotation is given based on this information.
  • A customer can either take their pet to the kennels or have it collected from their home.
  • Pets can be kept in comfort for as long as the customer requires prior to shipping.  The boarding kennels are approved by DEFRA.
  • Once at the kennels they will be examined by a certified vet to ensure their condition is healthy, and they will again be measured for their kennel.
  • Grooming services can be arranged whilst in kennels
  • On the morning of the flight pets will be exercised before being taken to the airport with the travel and veterinary documentation
  • On arrival at the destination airport, the customs / quarantine process will begin before clearance and delivery to the client’s address can be arranged, although most customers prefer to collect their pets as they are usually desperate to be reunited!!
  • Insurance can usually be offered. The premiums are reasonable and this will be included in the quotations provided.