Traveling with your pet can be quite a task, especially if you’re flying off to a foreign country.
If it is a vacation, you can consider Pet sitting or Lodging Boarding options. But if you are relocating to a new country, the last thing you want to do is leave your pet behind with relatives / friends back home.
The guilt is endless!
For all the true pet owners, leaving without your baby is as good as committing a horrible crime! They find a way, no matter what to take their pets with them.
To make life easier for everyone, this section of our website, will tell you how to travel/relocate with your pets to different destinations without much hassle.
Yes, each country has their different procedure for different animals – but hey, it’s just normal procedure! We can all get this done with a little bit of patience and being prepared ahead of time.
Relocating/Traveling with your pets (especially cats) from Mumbai to the USA
This section of the article has been written with the help of pet parent, Mrs. Kavitha Rao who took her two cats Molly and Chester from India to USA when she decided to move there.
We sincerely thank her for sharing her amazing travel experience with us.
After you read this article, we’re sure that you’ll have good clarity & awareness about the subject; we hope you’ll help us pass on this information & help more pet parents travel safely & happily with theirs fur-ever pets…
Step 1 – Vaccination
Make sure your cats/dogs are vaccinated.
The vaccination will consist of the regular annual shots you do with your vet every year.
For more clarity, these vaccinations are normally against Rabies, Feline Calcivirus, Feline Rhino Trachitis and Feline Panleukopenia in case of cats.
With dogs, the vaccinations included are against Rabies, Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis.
Remember, vaccination stickers are very important on the vaccination certificate, so ensure that they’re stuck properly in the right place.
Step 2 – Microchipping
Microchipping is a painless procedure in which a veterinarian inserts a microchip under the skin of your pet via a subcutaneous injection. This rice-grain sized chip works as a proof of ownership that helps authorities to read the barcode on the pet and cross check the number with the number on the papers. This helps to identify the pet properly without mistake and make sure that one animal is not going in place of another.
A second kind of chip (not available in India yet) also stores information which helps to reunite lost pets with their pet owners by tracking down the ID & contact details embedded on the microchip.
Please ensure you microchip your pet for emergency & security purposes.
Step 3 – Airline & Flight Booking
Google out the pet-travel policies of various airlines & make sure you choose the best option for your pet. Ensure that you select a date on which you and your pets can travel together. We recommend you booking the ticket well in advance, as the pet carrier gets booked very fast, especially in season timings.
The best time to book the flight is at least 6 weeks prior to to your departure date.
Kindly note that pets are not allowed in flights which have a stopover in the Middle East/ London. They are not allowed on direct Air India flights as well.
You must call up all the airlines and check the best possible combination for the travel.
For example – Jet airways does not fly directly to Chicago. The connecting flight which was Etihad (From Abu Dhabi) does not allow pets. Hence, the Jet – Etihad combination will not work to get you and your pets from Mumbai to Chicago.
The other options are Lufthansa and United Airlines.
Choose to travel by Lufthansa Airlines if possible.
They handle the pets very well.
They allow 3 pets per flight.
Step 4 – CRATE/CARRIER selection for your pet
Buy an IATA approved crate as per the size prescribed by the airline. These crates are available at many local pet shops and can be delivered on order.The requirements might vary from airline to airline, so remember to ask them for the specific dimensions when you’re booking the tickets.
To check out the official pet crate requirements, please read through the following links-
Buy the best crate for your furkid by availing awesome discounts on these websites-
* Amazon – http://goo.gl/jxckLd
Make sure your crate is lined well with absorbent lining material. This will ensure that any potty or pee accidents are taken care of well during the flight. Also make sure to put a clothing item which smells like you into the crate during travel. This helps them keep calm during the flight. The feeder bowl and water bowl are normally attached to the crate.
Make sure you attach an extra bag of food to the top of the crate. A form is to be filled at the airport which indicates their feeding time and quantity. The pets are not likely to have a good appetite during the flight, however it’s best to be prepared, in case some tummies start rumbling.
Step 5 – Health Certificate from your veterinarian
Request your vet to give you a health certificate stating that your pet is fit for travel. It must also clarify that the concerned animal does not carry any infectious disease or has any medical problems. Every country has a different format for the health certificate. This format can be obtained from the country’s specific government website which gives information on pet travel.
Step 6 –Animal Husbandry Department Procedures
Get an Animal Health Certificate from the Animal Husbandry Department of your particular district / region.
For Mumbaikars, the nearest Animal Quarantine Center is located at Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai.
Their contact number is 022-27552021.
Their address is “Koparkhairane, Navi Mumbai – 400709, Near Balaji Garden Housing Complex”
You must take your pets there for inspection. The procedure is free of cost but you may pay as a gesture.
Please carry the following documents that are mandatory for the processing of the export certificate:
- 3 photos of your pets (full size)
- Pet fitness certificate (issued by your vet) stating that your pet is fit to travel and does not have any contagious disease.
- Microchip number & details
- Visa copy of passenger
- Passport of passenger (with copies)
- Air ticket copy
- Vaccination certificates (all of them)
Please make sure to make at least 3 copies of all the above mentioned documents
Also, note that this certificate is valid only for 10 days from the date of issue. This means that you have to make your travel arrangements much in advance and make sure that this certificate is valid during the travel period.
Step 7 – Day of travel
So, you’re done with all the documents & procedures. The D-day is finally here. What do you do? Well, the most important thing to remember is that you MUST STAY CALM. If you panic in any case, you’ll not be able to handle even petty technical difficulties that might happen on the way.
Please ensure you stay mentally cool & alert for the sake of your baby. Before you place your furkid in the crate, please ensure that you line it up with absorbent sheets (available in all pet stores) and keep a few more in your bag in case you need to change the spoiled ones.
Hang in a familiar smelling cloth (ex- a bed sheet on which your pet sleeps.) This will help keep your pet calm on the flight.
Fill up the hamster water bottle attached to the crate. If it is not available, buy one from the pet store & ensure that you fill it with fresh water. Keep a small bowl of dry pet food in the bowl; in case your pet gets hungry, he/she will have something to munch on. Also, we recommend you to keep an extra food bag handy. (Zip-lock is most preferred.)
- Ensure that you LABEL THE CRATE with all your address & contact details.
- Call the airline day before and reconfirm all the details. Please remind them that you’ll be travelling with a pet. This will help the airline make necessary arrangements.
Once you reach the airport, go to the check-in counter and tell them about your furry co-passenger. The authorities will usually be aware about the boarding procedures and will help you with the same.
An official will be present to check all the paperwork and you have to pay a certain fee which might roughly amount to $ 200 per pet. You also need to tape a form regarding the feeding instructions for your pet. (example – normal eating time, average meal amounts & habits.)
You will need to show all the vaccination certificates, animal quarantine export certificate, photos, and vet health fitness certificate.
After you pay for the pets at the counter, you will be asked to take out your pet from the crate for a while for screening & security purposes.
At this point of time, you may change the sheets in the crate (they’re usually soiled by this time.)
After all the procedures are done, you can kiss your pet goodbye and put them back in the crate, They will be taken to the pet cargo hold and you will only see them at your destination.
Before you board your plane, please got to the on-board hostesses/authorities & ask for a confirmation of your pet’s presence on the plane. Repeat if there’s a connecting flight.
At this point there’s nothing much you can do, so please try to remain calm and enjoy your flight.
Once you reach your destination, you’ll need to first complete all the standard immigration procedures. You can proceed to the baggage counters. This is where you’ll meet your pet!
Trust us, the happiness you feel on seeing your baby safe can’t be expressed. It’ll make all your efforts & hard-work worthwhile.
At all major airports, there’ll be a health officer who’ll check all the paperwork and also the animals. Please ensure that you provide all the necessary documents he/she asks for.
In some countries like Singapore, the pets will need to be quarantined for a few weeks. Do not be afraid about this procedure as the pets will be handed over to responsible & loving experts who’ll take very good care of them.
Step 8 – Begin a new adventure!
Before you take your pet to your new house, please walk him/her around the corner so that he/she gets acquainted with the area & its climate.
The first few days should be dedicated for resting and feeding. This will ensure that your pet feels comfortable in the new environment.
* Set strict rules for feeding & walking timings and follow them diligently.
* Google out pet-friendly places like parks & restaurants where you can hang out with your pets & help them socialize & enjoy their new home.
That’s about it from our side. We sincerely hope that you enjoy your travels. Do tell us about your adventures with your pets & stand a chance to win free goodies & gifts for both you & your furkid!
For pet-care counseling & help, please contact PAL (Thane) at 9324699829
Article by Manik Rege & Aditi Nair
Special thanks to Mrs. Kavita Rao for sharing all the information and helping with the article.