How to safely carry pets while travelling

DUBAI — It is travel time again for people residing in the UAE, and many of them carry along their pets. Following certain rules can help reduce the incidence of pet loss, injury and death during travel.

By M. A. Qudoos

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Published: Sat 30 Jul 2005, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, Inc. — a worldwide network of professionals actively involved with shipping family pets by air — supports air travel for family pets as accompanied baggage and through the cargo system as being the safest, most expedient and humane means of moving animals around the world.

Most important is that tranquillisers and sedatives should be avoided at all costs as these potent drugs can have adverse effects on pets at flight altitudes. To avoid onboard dehydration, pre-flight water consumption by the pet should be encouraged.

Veterinarian Dr Ligaya Miranda (Joy) of Dubai’s Petzone, advises pet owners to do the following when they need to travel: Condition the pets for the move, prepare all the necessary documents, prepare the things needed for travel, choose the right carrier and find a pet mover.

“Where pets have not experienced travel, try to condition them by giving them short rides around the community. Observe for possible motion sickness like vomiting or dizziness. If there is dizziness or vomiting, you have to see your veterinarian to give you medicine for travel,” she told Khaleej Times in an interview.

If the pet is travelling by air, take time to prepare the pet for air travel with pre-flight conditioning to its kennel/crate, and make sure that the pet’s flight kennel provides ample room for the animal to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.

She said the documents needed for transporting pets are Import Permit from the country of destination; Export Permit from the Animal Welfare Division of the UAE Ministry of Agriculture; health certificate from the Municipality’s Veterinary Division in the UAE; vaccination cards from the veterinarian; and pedigree papers from the source of the pet (optional).

Dr Joy said that important among the things needed for travel was to find a suitable pet cage that suits the size of the pet, water container during the travel and a cushion or grill to allow pets to urinate without getting soaked in its own urine. Ideally, pets should not be fed eight hours before travel.

She said there are carriers which accommodate animals for travel. Ideally, the temperature for pet during travel is 25 to 30 degrees C. The room should be well-ventilated with dim lights. This information should be requested by the veterinarian to the carrier. If the travel is a long haul, use air carrier, and if by land, use a ventilated and insulated long vehicle, she suggested.

“Your last option to make life easier is to find pet movers or pet relocators. These are organisations or institutions that facilitate the transport of your pet from your home to the point of destination. They take care of the documentation, pick up, delivery and shipment,” she added.

To choose the right pet movers, look for the extent of service since some pet movers do not do documentation, only pick up and delivery. Find one that does everything for you, she said.

The competence of the staff must be checked and pet movers who are professional, trained and animal lovers as well, should be given the job. The best thing to do is to call someone you can trust, Dr Joy said.

“UAE is now a member of the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS). This means that quarantine is completely avoided and your pets go through a minimum quarantine period,” she said, adding that it is essential to coordinate with your pet relocator because the process for pet travelling starts between 3 to 6 months before departure.

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