For pet owners, moving or migrating abroad is not as exciting as it sounds when you can’t bring your beloved companions with you. It’s a complicated process that most people aren’t aware of, but we talked to Tatin, a San Francisco transplant, on how she moved Hank, her Miniature Poodle mix, from the Philippines to the United States of America.
Your best bet is hiring a professional mover like WorldCare Pet Transport to make sure your pet gets the safest and more efficient service possible. We’re not kidding—a pet can die if it flies in the wrong crate or isn’t properly cared for, which is why professional pet transport companies are extremely essential in making sure your pet arrives safe and sound.
What are the requirements?
WorldCare Pet Transport is the service that Tatin used to bring Hank to San Francisco, and the company took care of all the export licenses and certifications needed to move her pet abroad. On Tatin’s end, she provided Hank’s updated vaccination records and a screwworm certification from Hank’s veterinarian.
After that, WorldCare took care of the rest, from filing all the documents and choosing the right-sized crate to booking Hank’s flight.
While it’s not required in places like the U.S., Tatin got her dog microchipped for her “peace of mind” since he was taking a separate flight.
How much did you spend and what services were included?
Tatin paid over $4,000 for WorldCare’s full pet moving service. That’s a huge price tag, but our pets are priceless. And when we say WorldCare took care of everything, we mean everything. They even sent photos and e-mail updates during Hank’s trip and chose a longer flight versus a direct flight so that Hank could fly on an airline they trusted to take care of him.
“It gave Hank longer layovers where he was brought to an airport pet hotel for staff to let him out of the crate so he could relieve himself, eat, and drink if he wanted to, and take a break from the flight,” shared Tatin.
How do you prepare your pet for the flight?
Aside from the logistics, it’s important to make sure your pet is prepared for the flight. Animals weren’t born to be in cages for long periods of time, so you’ll need to train your pet to get used to being in a crate so he won’t panic or get anxiety while on the flight.
“In the two weeks before he flew out, we fed him inside the crate and made sure he viewed the crate as a comforting place versus a place where he would feel trapped. Airlines won't let you put a thick bed inside the crate, so we gave him a shawl that smelled like me and a shirt that smelled like my brother to give him a sense of familiarity,” said Tatin, who also shared that it’s important to not rely on sedatives as airlines don’t transport sedated pets—plus, it’s not the safest method. “Consult with your vet well before the travel date, and if you get a relocator to help you with the process, they'll have plenty of advice and guidelines to help you.”
It took Tatin and Hank around two months to prepare for the flight.
The case is slightly trickier if you have a flat-faced dog or cat breed, like Boxers, Bulldogs, and Persians. These breeds have specific requirements due to possible respiratory issues that might occur if they’re being transported to or from very warm climates. WorldCare recommends transporting snub-nosed pets during the cooler months to ensure their health and safety.
What happens after?
Flying your pet to your new home country is only the beginning. There are a number of factors you need to consider after your pet has landed.
“You have to step back and look at the bigger picture. Are you moving to a country where veterinary care is expensive? What about initial quarantine regulations? What about pet laws in that country?” shared Tatin.
In some countries, it’s far more expensive to have a pet than the Philippines, considering the price of food, vet visits, and grooming.
“But, having said that, I would still bring Hank here,” said Tatin. In the end, it’s a matter of asking yourself if your furry companion is worth the cost. And he most certainly is.
You can read WorldCare Pet Transport’s full Guide to Pet Travel here.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. * Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.