How do you make sure the process is as stress-free as possible when moving with pets? You enlist the services of an expert, of course! Dr Gerry Pahl from Pet Export Vet answered some commonly asked questions for us.
What can I do in the lead-up to moving to another country with my pet?
You need to have a good understanding of the import requirements of the country you’re going to and also the export requirements of the country you’re leaving. With some countries, the requirements are quite complex and we would recommend professional assistance, which can save a lot of difficulties, wasted time and extra expense.
How far in advance should I start planning before moving with pets?
The lead time for export preparation is dependent upon the country of destination. For example, countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan need six to eight months of pre-export planning. Some countries with simpler import requirements need only four to six weeks of preparation time.
What sort of things should I consider before exporting a pet?
There are several factors to consider to ensure your pet is safely transported to its destination:
• It’s important to make sure there are no hidden health issues and your pet is fit to travel. This is of primary importance and concern to the pet owner.
• Take into account the duration of the travel time, and how many stopovers or transit flights are involved.
• Determine if quarantine will be required on arrival at the destination.
• Some countries have a requirement for pets to undergo certain blood tests.
What’s your role as an export vet?
My main role is to make sure all the import and export requirements are met and satisfied. That may involve blood tests, parasite treatments, import/export permits, flight arrangements or dealing with the airlines, health certifications and veterinary examination, quarantine arrangements, ground transportation, liaison with destination agents, liaison with the AFCD and other countries’ government or bio-security departments, pet boarding and more. A point of difference for my pet shipping business is that I can travel to the owner’s home to do the vet health examination, blood tests and other pre-export treatments. That’s less stressful for the pets and more convenient for the owners.
Any advice for people moving with pets to Hong Kong?
The most important fact is that the Hong Kong Government requires that all pets arriving into HK by air must do so by “manifested cargo”, not as “excess baggage”. An Import Permit is required and there are particular terms of the permit dependent upon the exporting country that they have come from. Import from some countries requires quarantine at the AFCD Government quarantine centre on arrival. All dogs over five months of age will receive a rabies vaccination and a dog licence on arrival.
Pet Export Vet is at Room 8C, Tower 2, Hong Kong Gold Coast, Tuen Mun
This article first appeared in the Apr/May edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
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