EXPORTING A PET FROM THE UNITED STATES
Whether you are selling a dog or cat to a client in another country or traveling with your pet outside of the United States, there are several steps you must take to travel with your pet or ship your pet without you. You must determine where ultimatley will the pet be living, how will it travel there, and what kind of veterinary care is required by the accepting country (country of import). The process and rules of the exporting country for pet travel must be followed exactly or you risk a delay in your travel plans while the correct process is followed.
WHERE IS THE DESTINATION?
The country of export/travel should be your first area of research. For safety reasons all pets that travel should be "micro chipped" with an internationally recognized chip such as "ResQ". This particular microchip is internationaly recognized and has a 15-digit code that has been approved by the ISO 11784/17785 certification. An international scanner that can pick up 134.2kH frequency and will read the ResQ chips. Microchip implants other than ResQ may need to have their specific scanner sent with the pet in order for the microchip to be read at the port of entry.
As an alternative, if your pet already has a microchip that cannot be read by the international scanner, your pet could receive implantation of a second microchip that would be acceptable. A microchip is advantageous and positive pet identification at the port of entry, and if the pet should become lost during transport, or lost once in its new environment. Some countries insist that the pet be microchipped for identification before entry is allowed. For travel within the USA, "AVID" or "Home Again" microchips are perfectly acceptable as well as the international "ResQ" microchip. Microchip implantation can be done as an outpatient procedure in the exam room or under anesthesia when added to an elective surgical procedure, such as spay or neuter. Check with your local veterinarian about microchip implants and advice if you are traveling within the USA. Veterinarians at OPVMC can perform microchip implantation of the "Res Q" microchip for international travel or shipping as an outpatient at any time, if needed.
For International travel:
You will need to be sure before attemtping to enter a foreign country or shipping your pet, that your pet's breed is accepted into the country of desired travel. Information about acceptable and unacceptable breeds can be found by contacting the export country's consulate at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm. Making direct contact with a veterinary services representative at the consulate of the export country is important because some regions in that country may accept the breeds even though banned by that country's government. The veterinary service contact will be able to advise you on any "special" documentation that is required or what port of entry should be used to fly into as the entry point into the country and whether they have waived any bans. The "special" documentation as well as a letter/email or fax from the veterinary services at the consulate will need to accompany any paperwork submitted to the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) a division of the United States Department of Agriculture to aid in the approval of export paperwork for that pet.
For travel in Canada:
For pet owners traveling to or through Canada, use this link to research pet travel http://www.inspection.gc.ca in Canada.
WHAT IS THE PET'S HEALTH?
The pet's vaccination status and general body condition needs to be established and documented by a veterinarian who has been accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office prior to export or travel outside the United States. An APHIS accredited veterinarian will need to apply specific medical treatments within specific time frames determined by the country of export. These may include such medical services as drawing blood for a Rabies titer after vaccination for a Rabies serum titer, applying tick preventative and treatments and/or giving a parasite treatment/prevention regimen to a pet that is to travel abroad. The APHIS accredited veterinarian will be required to assure health and sign the country specific export documents verifying the pet's description, identification and vaccine status. To find information about APHIS, use this website. (www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/). Several of the veterinarians at OPVMC are APHIS accredited and can assist you with the veterinary documentation you will need to travel with your pet.
The APHIS "area office of the state" in your state that implements the federal APHIS regulations, can also direct you to an accredited veterinarian in your area to provide a health check, health document preparation, and medical services. The following web address will take you to the APHIS website to download the international health certificate for the country of export, www.aphis.usda.gov/NCIE/iregs/animals/.
Pets that do not appear healthy or are exhibiting signs of sickness will not pass the health exam and therefore will not be able to travel. If the pet is healthy, the State veterinary service office will then confirm export requirements, approve the health certificates with an official federal stamp and advise you of federal processing fees and processing time frame.
HOW WILL THE PET TRAVEL?
Contact will need to be made with the appropriate airline that can ensure the most direct flight,a climate controlled environment, for a safe as possible passage to the country of export. The following website was created for consumers to research airline delays, flight cancellations and pet transport accidents, http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/index.htm
It is important to read these reports to understand the nature of proper travel crates, and potential perils involved with animals flying.
To keep your pet safe throughout the travel experience, it is important to select a airline pet carrier/crate that can service yours and your pet's needs and keep your pet safe. The investment in a safe travel crate is a wise expenditure. The airline has recommendations that should be followed for a crate. These may include selecting a crate or carrier that:
-Is large enough to allow the pet to stand up fully without touching the top of the crate, then turn around, and lie down.
- Has a smooth interior that is strong and free of interior protrusions from knobs, handles or grips.
-Has a bottom surface that is leak proof and covered with an absorbent material in case of urine, feces or other bodily fluids are produced during transport.
- Has labels with your contact information and the contact information at the destination country.
-Has a sign or label indicating that the crate has a "LIVE ANIMAL" inside and and an arrow showing which way is the upright position for the crate.
-Has sufficient ventilation so as not to overheat the pet during travel.
It is also recommended to purchase the crate well in advance of travel in order to acclimate the pet with its new surroundings. Most pet injuries and fatalities happen from use of improper crates or with pets that escape during the flight. Please adhere to the airline crate recommendations to secure crate doors properly.
Some airlines will allow pets 10 pounds or under to travel in the cabin stowed under your seat in an appropriate sized pet carrier. Again, please contact the airline in advance in order to make the appropriate reservations and confirm what paperwork the airline requires for pet travel.
Before the flight:
Sedation is not recommended for pets traveling on airplanes that are not attended. Pets that are sedated are not able to navigate sudden movements of the crate and can slip and hurt themselves. A sedated pet is not as able to withstand increased altitudes, changes in cabin pressures and temperature extremes that can cause respiratory and cardiovascular compromise and which can lead to death.
If possible offer the pet a light meal approximately six hours prior to travel so it will have time to digest and not leave the pet nauseous for travel. Give the pet ample time to eliminate prior to crating at the airport. The airport staff will not feed or water the pet while in transit. Ensure all toys and clothing in crate cannot be ingested and choked upon during travel.
Travel arrangements need to be made once the accepting export country location has been established. An appointment should be made with the port veterinarian to sign off on the export paperwork that identifies and confirms the vaccine and health status of the pet. Often times there are fees for the export veterinarian and the importing veterinarian to sign off on the shipping documents once the pet has departed and arrived at the final destination.
Exporting a pet or moving to a new country can be a cumbersome event. Pet mover companies are familiar with the export requirements in most countries. Please contact a pet mover company or your local veterinarian in your area to see which service may be best for you and your pet.