Deciding to take an assignment abroad takes planning and preparation. For those who have a beloved pet, it can be a tough decision as to whether it should stay or go.
Many expats successfully move their pets overseas, and there are benefits to taking your animal with you. It can be a great comfort to have a familiar friend with you as you make the adjustment. Additionally, it may be in the animal’s best interest for you to continue to be the caretaker and maintain your relationship.
Depending on location, taking a pet on assignment can be difficult, stressful, cumbersome, and expensive. It’s important to take time to weigh options. Let this guide you.
Contact the consulate
There rules and regulations for pets vary significantly from country to country. Contact the country’s consulate to get the most updated official requirements. Be aware that in some countries, certain breeds may not be allowed. Additionally, quarantine may be necessary before you can have your pet with you.
Get local information
The consulate may be able to provide information for a local contact that can answer questions such as:
- Are cats or dogs common in your specific city or neighborhood?
- What is the local attitude towards pets?
- Are there many pet stores nearby?
- Are vet facilities available?
- Is animal care affordable?
Tend to health requirements
If you decide to take your cat or dog with you, most countries require a stringent sequence of medical tests. Some countries may require blood tests, rabies vaccinations, or microchips. This should be done well in advance of departure. It is also helpful to find a vet at home that has experience preparing animals for overseas travel. Be sure to discuss with him or her any potential problems. Keep multiple copies of documents.
Prepare for travel
Even if you have traveled with your cat or dog domestically, keep in mind that airlines have different regulations for transporting animals internationally. Call the airlines and speak to a representative about specific issues or concerns and ask how to best prepare for a flight, especially if your travel will require changing at different stops before arriving at your final destination. Be sure to inquire about the type of carrier to use; many airlines require the carrier to be approved by the International Air Transport Association. Also, expect there will be fees for various services en route and upon arrival.
Have a backup plan
Something may happen at the last minute that prevents you from taking your pet as planned. Always have a second option for such situations.