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Pet Travel: Emigrating with your pets

Induku Group: What is the first thing you need to think about when emigrating with your pets?

COLLEEN CLACKWORTHY: Firstly you need to know where you are going as every country has different rules. Establish where you are going and the various requirements of that country. Start with looking at the health of your pet and getting it microchipped. This is like your Green Card for your pet and will record the histology of your pet.

IG: How far does microchipping extend? Can you export any animal?
CC: we work with domesticated animals like cats and dogs. Over the last three years with things like Avian Flu it is exceeding difficult to transport parrots and the likes all over the world because of veterinary requirements. You need poop samples and to have tracked the animal since purchase. Moving a dog or a cat to America for example in a month is very easy. There are embargoes on certain breeds of dogs and cats so Google and do your research so you don’t disappoint yourself on whether you can export your pets. Even if your pet is a cross of something that is part of the banned breed or looks like a banned bread that emigration will be blocked.
IG: What is the age restriction on exporting a pet?
CC: It’s a personal thing. You have to establish as a family where socially and emotionally you would place the pet in the social structure of the family and access carefully what direction you want to take because it a very expensive process.
IG: What determines the price of emigrating your pet? Is it dependent on the breed or the weight of the animal?
CC: So the export costs start with the microchipping, then the Veterinary Health Certificate and 5in 1 vaccinations.The second component of the export process including purchasing a crate. It is important that the crate is ERTA approved to travel on an aircraft. The bigger of, the bigger the box the greater the expense; the smaller the dog, the less expensive. For freight, it is not the grammage of the animal that determines the fees, but the volumetric weight of your pet in the box multiplied by the dollar rate of the airline. That is not all. You then add the admin fees plus the fuel and security, aircraft bills and handling fee to get a state veterinary professional in that state to access the health of the animal. Those are just port export fees, you then need to start calculating the important fees and costs at customs.
IG: What are the pros and cons of working with an agent?
CC: There is a lot of objective information online, on Facebook groups etc around pet emigration. If you do decide to go with an agent, chose one that is recognised in the public eye as it will save you time. An agent makes pet emigration simple and gives the client confidence by breaking down the complexities into sizable workable chunks …
IG: Please give us some tips around the trauma of the pet and crate training and preparing your pet to emigrate
CC: Most people who take their pets overseas adore them as they are viewed as family members ... A well-loved, well-adjusted dog or cat reacts positively to a move. Yes, it’s scary, there are funny smells, the noises are a bit different, but it is more an inquisitive response rather than a fear response. We encourage people with dogs like a Staffie or a Jack Russell to administer calming medicines to them ahead of the travel. There are a lot of natural generic products on the market these days that are having enormous positive results that the owner can administer quite a long time before the travel of the pet. The second thing one can do is ensure that your pet travels with something that smells of you. So you put something in that crate that is familiar to them. The third thing you can do is crate train- so you get your agent to deliver the box ahead of time and you make that crate a happy place, feed them nibbles or biltong bits, carrots or whatever they love in it so that box is not a scary thing. It lives in your lounge, you crawl in it with the pet and play with them in it so on the day that they move it is a familiar place.”
IG: What is the quarantine time in America?
CC: There is no quarantine in America at all. One must have the 5in 1 vaccination in American and rabies and must be older than 31 days.
What breeds are more prone to the stresses of moving?
CC: There are certain breeds that a lot of the airlines will not travel with your parents, but other -  Shih Tzu, French bulldogs, Pekingese stuffy nose breeds with a shortened trachea they struggle to breathe and sometimes it causes heart failure of blacking out due to the airlines have a list of high risk the airport.
COLLEEN CLACKWORTHY is the Managing Director of Pets Travel that is a member of the International Pet And Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) and a family orientated business specialising in pet travel both domestically and internationally.