Flying with your pet is not as simple as you might think. Bringing your dog on an airplane isn’t just a matter of buying him a ticket. When you are flying with your cat, you might not get to stow him away under your seat in his familiar travel carrier. If you planning an overseas move and want to bring your best friend, you need to prepare well.
Obviously, you must make sure you can bring your pet into a foreign country. Some countries will have restrictions and quarantine regulations. Consider too how long you plan to spend in the country and what you will need to do to bring your dog or cat back into Ireland. The details vary according to where your pet has been. If you follow the protocol, your pet can avoid quarantine upon return to Ireland.
Preparing Your Dog or Cat to Move Overseas
The details of what is required to allow your dog or cat to enter another country are up to that specific country and vary considerably. You will need to check with the other country’s department of agriculture. But some things are universal and purely for your animal’s benefit.
Your pet should have a comprehensive vet check and parasite treatment before departing. Let your vet know where you are going and how your pet will be traveling (by car, plane, etc.). It’s also a nice time for your pet to go to the groomer for a bath, trim, nail clipping and ear cleaning. Your pet will take some time to adjust to a new place, and because few pets really like baths and nail trims, it is easier to get those done in familiar territory.
Air Travel for Pets
If you are flying, your pet will need a carrier that meets airline standards. It must be large enough for your dog or cat to stand and turn around while inside. You might be able to bring a very small dog or cat into the passenger section of the plane, but don’t worry if your best friend has to fly cargo. He has no idea he’s in a metal tube flying in the sky. He just knows he’s in a carrier in a dark place with a soothing humming sound. If you give your pet a chance to get comfortable in the carrier by using it as a pet bed for a few weeks before you leave, he’ll be more relaxed.
There are two significant safety issues for pets on airplanes. First, resist the urge to sedate your pet. Your vet can explain in detail why this is dangerous, but basically the sedation interferes with your pet’s ability to regulate his body temperature and his breathing. And temperature is a big issue when flying with animals. Spring and autumn are the safest seasons. Because temperature control in the cargo hold is not as exact as in the cabin and because your pet might have a wait on the tarmac before boarding the plane, it is best to avoid seasons with extreme temperatures. Consider the climate and season along your entire route when you are choosing a time to travel. If your vet is not familiar with air travel for pets, find a vet who works with show dogs or cats. They often travel overseas.
Finally, before you go plan on how you can make your best friend feel at home in your new home. Bring his familiar toys, dishes and bed, and don’t wash them right before you go. Scent is important to dogs and cats, and the smell of a new soap will not comfort them. Bring some of your pet’s regular food. You might not be able to get it in your new location, and you can transition slowly to the new food. That will minimize tummy upsets. Also, try to locate a new vet before you arrive just in case you need one shortly after you arrive.
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