Living in a transient city like Dubai, it is highly likely that as a pet owner, you will, at some point in the future, need to relocate your pet to another country. Whether it is planned or sudden, when the time comes to leave, you need to have a clear understanding of the steps you need to follow. Processes and timelines for import of pets varies by country and airline, so it is difficult to be 100% prepared, but the following gives some simple tips that we can all ensure to have in place.
Ensure your pet is micro-chipped with an ISO 11784 / 11785 compliant 15 digit pet microchip. There are some countries, which do not require a microchip for import, however this is somewhat irrelevant as it is mandatory for all UAE pet exports. In short, without a microchip your pet is going nowhere, so it should be your first action in preparation for a future relocation plan.
Have your vet write the date the microchip was inserted into your pet(s) vaccination book. At the time your pet travels, you will be asked to confirm that the microchip was in place prior to the most recent rabies vaccine. Having this date in the vaccination book from the day it is inserted, makes this step very easy – you will be surprised at how many vaccination books are missing this vital piece of information.
Be clear on the breed of your pet (even if it is a mixed breed it is important to have an understanding of the mixes) and what, if any restrictions would apply for your pet to enter your new country of residence. Have the breed written clearly in the vaccination book and NEVER use white out fluid to make any changes. Remember any restrictions that exist may be mandatory to the country, or may only be particular to an airline. They may be seasonal or permanent. Keeping up to date with this information means that you save time later on, when looking into relocation travel options.
Always keep your pet’s full set of vaccinations up to date, no matter what. Even missing a booster by a few days can mean you will have to start a full course of new vaccinations from scratch and can delay a pet’s relocation for months and months.
Stay aware of the mandatory processes and timelines of the country(s) that you are most likely to relocate to from the UAE. Where possible follow these requirements for the duration you are living in the UAE. Some countries require a six month timeline for various tests and treatments in advance of travel, so even if it is not possible to maintain a requirement (such as a particular blood test for example), being aware of the requirement and knowing you need to take steps sooner rather than later, once it seems likely you may need to move, are a big bonus.
Don’t assume it is cheaper to do it yourself. It often isn’t as expensive as people presume, so always ask. Once you have the information and see what is involved, then make an educated decision as to whether you will follow a Do It Yourself route or engage the services of a professional to provide a stream lined and stress free service. There will always be pro’s and con’s for both options. However, do consider, not being up to date on mandatory steps, procedures and best practice can often lead pet parents to spend money unnecessarily – very frustrating when you think you are saving money, but actually you are not!
Ask an experienced relocator to give you an indicative cost for relocating your pet to the country(s) that you consider most likely that you will move to from the UAE. Remembering that costs and processes are subject to change, this at least gives you a general idea to keep in mind.
Try to keep a savings pot for emergency and non-emergency relocation expenditure. It is easy for the keyboard warriors to preach about this, but not always as easy in practice. If however you can try to put away the odd few dirhams each week, sacrifice that morning ‘on the way to work’ coffee once in a while, you will be surpised how quickly the fils add up. Even if you are not saving huge amounts, every little helps when the time comes.
As soon as you think you may need to travel, refresh your understanding of the current requirements, just in case it has changed since the last time you looked. Contact your preferred relocator as early as possible, especially if you will be relocating during a busy period of the year, to ensure availability of their services, flights, road transport, quarantine, etc. Get your dates confirmed and then allow them to focus on your move. Whether you are going down the DIY or VIP route, you will be supported through out by all parties involved in the process, as they all want the same thing, for you and your pet to arrive safely home.
When the time comes, if you have ensured you have everything is in place as the above steps suggest, it will make things much easier for you and your pet. As we said at the beginning of this article, it is never possible to be 100% prepared, but you can make a pretty good go of it by following these simple Paws of Wisdom.