What is Pet Quarantine Really Like?
We field lots of questions from pet owners who are starting to plan their international pet travel adventures, and more often than not concerned pet parents wonder about quarantine. Is it necessary? Is it terrible? How can it be avoided, or at least handled safely?
Read on to see a few common misconceptions about pet quarantine along with our tips and advice for carrying out quarantine with as little stress as possible.
Most people feel better once they've faced these myths and facts head on (and we think you will, too).
Myth #1: Every country requires pet quarantine upon arrival.
Many pet owners researching international pet travel assume that every country requires quarantine upon arrival, but the truth is that only a handful really do.
Moving to strict rabies-free countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore means fulfilling a few days’ quarantine, but for most places in North America, South America, the EU and much of the rest of Europe and Asia, there is no quarantine. Look up your destination country or check with the relevant Ministry of Agriculture to find out if there is a quarantine. (Note: Sometimes the quarantine requirements depend on the country of origin.)
Myth #2: Quarantine facilities are basically like jail.
Not true. Quarantine facilities are government run facilities staffed by trained professionals, and while they’re not as posh as a nice pet hotel, they are simple, safe and sufficient -- they'll probably just remind you of a standard boarding facility with dog runs, separate cat areas and outdoor yard space allowing for fresh air and exercise. Want to see some examples? Read about Archie’s time in Malaysia quarantine and check out this video of Tilly in Australia quarantine for a look behind the scenes.
Myth #3: Pets are forever changed after spending time in quarantine.
In our experience, pets do just fine during and after fulfilling their quarantines. Time and again through post move updates, pet owners tell us that it was tough to be apart from their pets, but their furry family members stayed healthy and ultimately life was able to go back to normal very quickly upon their release. (Just ask Kuro, a Pomeranian who moved to Perth and "Singapore kitty" Purrla.)
Myth #4: If I pay extra fees or get “special” paperwork, I might be able to avoid quarantine.
No matter how rich or famous you are, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to be excused from a country’s official pet import rules. If you plan everything correctly your pet will only need to face the minimum quarantine (which is often just 7-10 days), but never count on finding a way to skip it altogether.
Myth #5: Pets won’t be able to get their own food or medicine while in quarantine.
Each station has its own rules, but health and safety are priorities at each. Examples: Kuala Lumpur Animal Quarantine Station (KLAQS) allows visitors each day, so we recommend that you or your pet agent administer any necessary medication during visits (this facility also accommodates special food requests).
Australia quarantine stations do not allow visitors at this time, but the staff will administer medication provided you supply detailed instructions, and you'll have the opportunity to make a special dietary request when you apply for your import permit. Overall, when making reservations, find out the rules of the facility well in advance so that you can adequately prepare.
Research the import requirements via the USDA or Ministry of Agriculture for the country to which you’re moving to find out if quarantine is necessary; if it is, find out as much as you can about the facility and its procedures in order to streamline the process and avoid problems.
Start this research early in the process, as many facilities see high numbers of pets passing through and have waiting lists during busier times of the year.
Quarantine rules can change at any time (just like general pet import requirements), so make sure you’re working with the most up-to-date information.
Read about the experiences of others by searching online for expat blogs, and check out our customer experiences for detailed insights.
Finally, especially when a pet move involves quarantine, we recommend hiring expert help to guide you. With experience navigating the quarantine process, pet travel specialists can facilitate a less stressful quarantine and overall relocation for pets and pet owners.
Have questions about pet quarantine or pet travel in general? Contact us for a consultation.
(Picture #1: A dog at Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station in Singapore; Picture #2: Lucky and Diesel at London & Essex International Quarantine Kennels; Picture #3: Chunk the French Bulldog at Eastern Creek Quarantine in Sydney, Australia)