To: Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Pet: Richie, Chihuahua mix, 8 years old, 12 lbs
What vaccinations, paperwork, and other miscellaneous things do I need to send the dog to Japan from San Francisco?
What happened in the world of pet news this week? Glad you asked.
Neat-o animal tourism in Japan.
Goldfish companions as hotel amenities?
Researchers find that looking at cute animal pictures improves productivity. (We like this study.)
Tips from our experts: all about shipping pets to China.
Are you tuning in to DogTime's Pet Blog Awards?
October is National Pet Wellness month.
Here in Austin we have a Dogtoberfest that includes a DogTrot-- do you have something similar in your town?
Taming exotic pet owners.
News of our own: Boris and Mia are our Pet Move of the Month.
Enjoy the weekend!
When it comes to planning important (and complicated) things like relocations, it can feel like time is speeding by. Before you know it it's moving day and you're trying to make sure that everything is taken care of, and at this point all you can do is hope you didn't forget anything too important.
If you're moving a pet with you and haven't taken the time to investigate all the import rules and regulations that may apply, it's all too easy to discover that you've overlooked something that could cause your pet's departure to be delayed.
Some of the stress can be avoided by starting the move process early, but why exactly do you need at least a month to put together a pet move (and at least six months for some international pet moves)? Read on to find out.
Veterinary Requirements – Many countries require vaccinations to be at least a month old at the time of departure, and often the microchip (another requirement) must be implanted before the vaccines are administered. One mistake or omission related to these could delay a pet’s trip by weeks or even months.
Import Permits – It often takes at least 30 days to secure import permits for international moves. Australia, for example, takes three to six weeks to issue an import permit. Note also that import permits must be obtained before other arrangements can be made, so the whole chain of events depends on this important factor. Some countries also require notification of a pet’s arrival (Japan needs 40 days notice), so that’s one more thing to plan for.
Government Endorsements – Many moves require both a USDA endorsement of health documents as well as endorsements from the destination government. For instance Saudi Arabia needs both USDA and Consulate endorsements, and each of these can take about a week to secure.
Titer Tests – For rabies-free countries that require a titer test in addition to the regular rabies vaccine (these countries include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Singapore), an additional three to four weeks should be allowed for in the planning process.
Quarantine Reservations – During busy months, such as summer travel season and during the holidays, many quarantine stations are fully booked. Waiting lists in places like Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand can be months long, so it’s important to reserve a spot well in advance of the move date. In general, moving to any destination with a quarantine (Hawaii is also included in this category) will demand extra time, so pets going to these places can’t wait until the last minute.
Crate Training – If a pet isn’t already crate-trained, owners will need to work on doing so as soon as they know they’re moving. Depending on the pet, this process can take weeks or months to accomplish.
Still not convinced that you’ll need a month’s head start? Here are some pitfalls that pet owners should watch out for if they’ve waited until the last minute:
Incomplete or Inaccurate Vet Records - We’ve seen it many times -- pet owners who have gone to the vet regularly over the years think they’re in good shape, but in terms of the strict standards of international travel, often this isn’t the case. Again, vaccines must often be done in a certain order beginning at least 30 days in advance, and some countries, including Japan, require they be done six months ahead of time.
Agent Availability – Waiting until the last minute means our preferred agents might already booked with other jobs, so travel dates may have to be altered to fit their schedules or second-choice agents will need to be found.
Flight Complications – Pet travel by air entails more than just buying a ticket when you need it. You have to choose a pet-safe flight on a plane with cargo doors large enough to accommodate a travel kennel (some planes are just too small), and then you have to request the booking. After that, the airline must verify that everything is in order and make contact with a destination agent, and all of this can take several days to finalize.
Time Differences - With international moves, dealing with time differences makes communicating with agents and officials more challenging, thus taking care of import permits, reserving quarantine space, and making other arrangements all becomes a little trickier.
The Stress Factor – Rushing to put together a pet move is no fun for anyone involved. Relocating is stressful enough without feeling like it’s a race against the clock, so put yourself ahead of the game by allowing plenty of time to plan your move.
Please contact PetRelocation.com if you have any questions about how to move your pet, and happy well-planned traveling, everyone!
The following post was written by Pet Relocation Specialist Sarah Smith. Find out what she had to say about a recent (and pretty complicated) pet move to Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea is an island off the Northern coast of Australia. It is culturally diverse, and over 850 languages are spoken here. With most residents making less than $1.25 US per day, it’s hardly a place I thought I would be sending any expats and their pets, but this is exactly what happened!
Sophie, a Dachshund from Dallas, needed to be reunited with her mom in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. First we thought about going through Hawaii or Japan (as there are no direct flights from the US mainland). After some routing trials, I decided that going through Australia was the only safe option for little Sophie.
Sure, we could have gone through Japan for fewer costs, but the airline in question could not guarantee where Sophie would be kept during the 12-hour layover. If you’re anything like Sophie’s mom (or me!) this is unacceptable. We pride ourselves on knowing where your pet is every step of the way, and the uncertainty involved in this possibility simply wasn’t an option... So Australia it was!
Australia happens to be one of the most challenging countries to import animals into, and if we were going to transit through Australia, we were going to have to meet the majority of the rules. Luckily Sophie’s mom had already planned ahead and kept Sophie up to date on vaccinations, and she even had her blood drawn for the mandatory rabies antibody test so we were ahead of the game. A canine influenza vaccine would complete the process for import into Australia.
Papua New Guinea was a different story. We needed an import permit and a Hendra test upon arrival in Australia. Hendra is a disease not worried about elsewhere in the world, but is apparently prevalent in one small area in Australia. Therefore, any animal touching down in Australia would need to be tested for Hendra.
This is a lengthy process, so I had to arrange for Sophie to stay in quarantine upon arrival in Australia for two weeks while we got the test done and the results back. This process would take a week except for the following: animals have to arrive into Australia from the US on a Thursday or a Friday, the Hendra test is only carried out on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the results arrive on Tuesdays. So, Sophie arrived into Sydney on a Friday and had her blood tested on Tuesday. The results arrived the following Tuesday, but of course the only flights from Sydney to Papua New Guinea are on Mondays and Saturdays. But, Papua New Guinea requires animals to arrive on a Monday or Tuesday, so we couldn’t take the Saturday flight. Are you confused yet? Imagine how I felt!
So Sophie arrived that Friday, had her blood drawn on Tuesday, got the results back the following Tuesday, and couldn’t leave Australia until the following Monday. Luckily, Sydney’s Eastern Creek Quarantine facilities are top notch and were very communicative throughout the process, and Sophie’s mom was very understanding.
Did I mention calling Papua New Guinea or receiving a call is effective about 4% of the time, and they are exact opposites from us in terms of time? So phone call efforts were futile. All communication had to be done by email.
Sophie finally arrive in Port Moresby safely, cleared customs, and was taken to quarantine for two days. After quarantine was complete, my agent was able to deliver Sophie to her new home (Papua New Guinea doesn’t really have street addresses, so this also proved difficult). In all, Sophie was treated kindly, traveled safely, and is probably excited to not see an airplane for a while. After all, she was on four different planes to get to her mom.
A few things to keep in mind if you’re moving your pets to Papua New Guinea:
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