So, are you all done preparing for the flight? Did you figure out the apartment, language studies, and bank stuff? What about the kids? Not (only) the biological ones, (but also) the furry ones.
Moving abroad with an animal may seem very complicated, but with enough preparation, you can minimize the difficulties and stress for you and your pet. The following guide will provide you with the necessary information before making the move.
There are several things to consider in preparing to move abroad with your pet:
1. Will my pet be allowed on the plane?
Often yes, and if they weigh less than 8 kg, you can bring them in the passenger cabin. For heavier pets, you will be happy to hear that the plane's cargo is controlled. The temperature and oxygen are just like in the passenger cabin, although it can still be noisy and stressful for the pet.
In any case, it is recommended that you consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your pet is fit for the flight and can go through it without too many problems.
Please note that some dog breeds (flat-nose, guard dogs) and cat breeds (Persian, Himalayan, Burmese, and flat-nose) are not allowed on flights. It is recommended that you check with the airline in advance.
2. Did you prepare enough time before the flight?
At least four months before the move, it is important to do all the necessary tests for your pet. When moving to Germany, you need to make sure of the following:
a) Do you have all the documents and vaccinations?
The European Union requires dogs and cats to get:
· Rabies vaccination no more than one year and no less than 30 days before the flight, including a confirmed antibodies laboratory test.
· Payment of export duty (mainly for animals that are flown in the luggage compartment)
· Approval by a government veterinarian on the health certificate
To eliminate any doubt, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your veterinarian. There are also veterinary clinics that can help with the transition itself. You should check all the available options for the best solution.
b) Are they used to being in a cage?
Cages are mandatory on flights unless your pet is small (up to 8 kg) or is considered a support animal.
You must make sure that the flight cage is suitable for the size of the pet (so that it can lie down, sit, and move around freely). The cages must comply with specific regulations of the airlines; so you should make sure you choose the right cage, or you may not be allowed to board the flight with your pet (for humane reasons, that the animal will not tolerate it).
I believe it is mandatory (!!) to get the pet accustomed to the flight cage at least four months before the flight (depending on aggressiveness and learning ability). Pets that are not used to a flight cage will be stressed, which can affect them greatly in the long run and get them injured if they try to escape from the cage. You could also give them sedatives, but you should check with them and the vet that there are no allergies; plus, some flight companies don't allow this.
Some tips regarding the flight cage:
· It must be made of plastic, wood, or metal. Mesh cages are not permitted.
· It must not have wheels.
· Its floor should be solid, from a non-leaking material, and padded with a liquid-absorbing material.
· It must be closed and secured so that your pet cannot escape.
· It must contain ventilation openings on all four sides
· It should contain only one animal at a time (recommended).
· It must not have any hard toys or snacks inside.
· It must have a sticker on it that says "Live Animal."
c) Did you choose a suitable airline?
Not all airlines allow animals. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you verify all the company's procedures before booking the flight, to make sure you can board the plane with your pet.
If the pet is not allowed to fly with a passenger airline, another option is air delivery, which flies the animal in the luggage compartment and without an escort (I do not recommend this option at all).
3. Are you financially ready for the move?
Moving with a pet can sometimes be financially hefty, so you should save accordingly.
The flight cage, the treatments at the vet, the passport, the type of flight, the documents to gather, and the preparations in the city you are moving to can become very expensive. In addition to saving, I recommend making a list (after having done all the checks) with all the prices and costs, something you should probably do even if you are not moving with an animal.
4. Is the pet allowed to enter Germany?
Exotic, poisonous pets, certain insects and reptiles, and even certain dogs or cats are not always allowed to be imported into Germany. If you are moving with a special breed, we recommend looking to see if Germany allows them to enter the country.
It is also important to check if your animal is welcome in your accommodation. Aggressive dogs or dangerous animals can be refused by the property owner (in case you are renting), even if the animal is legal in Germany. Therefore, you should pay attention to these details and find out as much as possible before moving.
5. How long are you moving for? Is the bureaucracy worth the transition?
Ultimately, an animal is part of the family and their happiness is the most important thing to us. Due to the financial and mental burden of moving with an animal, it is important to ask ourselves - is all of this worth it?
If you are moving for a relatively short time (two years or less) or if the move will endanger the animal, maybe it is best to leave them with relatives or friends and drop by to visit them every few months. The last thing we want is to hurt our pets, and sometimes painful concessions can save greater pain.