When you relocate to a different country, you want to make sure everyone in your family is happy. For many of us, “family” can also consist of a dog, cat, or small pet. That’s why, before you move, it’s important to know what the proper procedures are for bringing a pet into a foreign country. What steps do you need to take before the move? What steps, if any, do you need to take after? How will you transport your pet? There are many questions to ponder. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, and if you follow the steps correctly, you’re pet will be as happy and excited about the big move as you are.
Clean Bill of Health
Before you can even consider transporting a pet to another country, you need to make sure it’s got a clean bill of health. A veterinarian in your home country can do this, however in the US, it needs to be done by a veterinarian who is accredited by the US Department of Agriculture. The veterinarian must then prepare an internationally valid health certificate, which states that your pet is free of parasites, and has the mandatory vaccinations (which includes rabies) it needs.
While it’s wise to obtain this veterinary inspection as far in advance as possible, it has to be completed at the very least within 10 days of your departure. Also, keep in mind that you need to send this form to Panama, which will take a number of days to arrive, so the 10-day window is very risky. You may bring in as many pets as you want, as long as each is certified and cleared by the government.
Getting Them There
Flying with a pet is never an easy task, as animals are not naturally inclined to the conditions of a typical commercial jet. Panama’s national air carrier permits pets as cargo, and under special circumstances, as carry-on in the cabin. It’s best to contact your carrier, or potential carriers in your area, before booking your flight, to make sure your pet can be transported. Your airline will also need to see documentation from customs, as well as your veterinarian, to make sure your pet is healthy enough to fly and can enter the country upon your arrival.
Due to the hassle of coordinating all of this, many people opt to pet relocation services to take care of the procedures. While it’s not cheap, there are a number of services that will transport your pet, from door to door, internationally. Think of them as a travel agency for your pet. They will even take care of the necessary paperwork, and veterinarian trips in order to assure that your pet meets the country’s requirements.
Remember, before you make the decision to relocate with your pet, consider the magnitude of how the move will affect it. Leave yourself plenty of time to take care of the necessary paperwork, and be very diligent about monitoring your pet’s health and well-being. If all goes well, you and pet will both find the relocation process smooth, and easy to manage.