The United Arab Emirates is a transient country and sadly thousands of animals are left behind when a family leaves the UAE because they have not thought about pet relocation, the costs involved and the different animal laws which vary from country to country.
This is a basic guide on the process of relocating pets to aid owners.
It is not an exhaustive list nor does it contain detailed costs and information because every country and airline is different.
Further research, including the contacting of relocation agents, vets, IATA (International Air Trade Association) and IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association) is advised to ensure you have all the information with the most up to date details on pet relocation to your new part of the world.
Contacts are provided at the end of this document.
Where to Start?
If you are not thinking about leaving the UAE any time soon, it is still important to start planning now because you never know when your financial or family situation might change.
Is My Dog Actually Allowed to Fly?
You should know as soon as possible if your dog is actually allowed to fly as some breeds are restricted, and others are completely banned from export/import.
Snub-nosed dog breeds are often restricted because of health reasons. Several airlines prevent or restrict if and when pugs, bulldogs, boxers and other short-nosed, or brachycephalic, dogs can fly in airplane cargo. This varies from airline to airline, and the weather conditions.
Dogs that are banned from traveling are:
Check with IATA and IPATA for advice if you are concerned about your dog’s breed and if it is a cross breed of the above.
Pregnant dogs in their third trimester cannot fly.
You are definitely leaving the UAE: What Now?
This is a check list of information you should start considering as soon as youknow you are leaving the UAE. Think about:
Incorrect paperwork will prevent your animal from flying.
The Right Crate
Can I Sedate My Dog Before Travel?
Country Specific Regulations
Before travelling, the UAE requires that all dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination that has been given a minimum of 30 days to 364 days prior to travelling. They must also have Export Certificates even if the country you are travelling to does not ask for one.
You must then also look at your destination country’s laws regarding travel. Some countries, like several European destinations, Canada and USA are straightforward, others are stricter such as Australia and New Zealand, and your pet relocation planning should start a good seven months in advance.
A dog cannot be exported to these countries until 180 days (6 months) after blood is taken for a satisfactory rabies neutralising antibody titre test RNATT. The RNATT result is valid for 2 years after the date blood was collected. The dog must have a valid Rabies vaccination certificate at the time of export. Australia accepts a rabies certificate as valid for 3 years. The most important thing to do therefore is to get this done at least 180 days before the date you plan to export your dog to these countries.
Many countries still require quarantine for dogs. If you’re travelling to Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand with your pet, (several common post-Dubai destinations) your dog will be quarantined. Indian regulations also keep changing on a regular basis.
Australian quarantine requirements are probably the strictest in the world. This is because there are a number of diseases that do not exist in Australia. Early this year (2014) the requirements were eased after a thorough review. The main outcome of this is a reduced minimum time that imported dogs are required to spend in Australian government quarantine stations, from the previous 30 days to 10. Australia also tests for many other diseases before allowing dogs to travel.
However, keep checking and do not take this document as having the most up to date information as it can change at short notice.
Can I Arrange My Pet’s Relocation or Must I Use an Agent?
This is your choice, and doing the paperwork yourself will be cheaper as there will not be agency fees. However, your research must be up to date and you are responsible for getting your dog’s medical procedures done and for transporting them to and from the airport.
If you have missed anything in the process, your dog will not be able to fly.
At a time when your family is relocating, it might be a stressful to also handle your pet’s travel. The benefit of agents means they handle all of the above and they will know all the laws, any changes and can advise you on pet taxis and what to do at your destination too.
It is also advisable to obtain several quotes from different agents or vets (as several vets in the UAE are also relocation agents). Prices vary according to the volume of your pet, airway bill, the airline used, the cost of certification, vet checks and any other hidden costs.
K9 Friends is sponsored by Dubai Kennels and Cattery (DKC) and Move One, who have many years’ experience of pet relocation. They will provide a free quote and let them know if you are relocating a K9 dog.
Will My Dog Be OK?!
It is natural to feel nervous but hundreds if not thousands of animals are transported every week around the world. It is important that you remain calm with your dog and make sure crate training is a happy experience for them before they travel. At the airport, speak to the staff. They will know an animal is on board but you might find it reassuring to let them know personally.
And most importantly, be proud of yourself! You have made a commitment to your dog and your family will stay together throughout the experience of relocating.
Contacts and Websites for More Detailed Information
Dubai Kennels and Cattery – Pet Relocation
Move One – Pet Relocation
International Pet and Animal Transportation Association
The International Air Transport Association
Emirates – FAQ
Department for Environment UK
Create Training – Get your dog ready for the flight.