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International travel w/ pets, microchipping, transport, etc...

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  • International travel w/ pets, microchipping, transport, etc...

    I have been researching all of this for the last 6 mos or so since DH took a job that will be moving us overseas.

    We have two large dogs so they'll have to fly cargo, not in the cabin. I have been following along on the FS websites about a lot of issues people have had with certain airlines--deaths, pets just lost and never found, etc. Crazy! It sounds like a lot of FS people are now opting to just pay to fly on a different airline than what the gov't will pay for in order to keep their pets safe. Right now, KLM/Air France seem to be the preferred airlines to Africa from the US. Thoughts? Experiences?

    Some people here in the DC area have suggested some pet travel planners, akin to shippers for horses. But many with mixed reviews. Thoughts there?

    I'm also trying to figure out the best microchip to use. My pets have AVID but that doesn't seem to be one that is accepted for international travel so I think I have to do another.

    If we go where we think we're going, there's no quarantine, thank God, but are there any additional vaccs any of you have done when it comes to going overseas?

    Generally, I'm looking for any kind of insight, experience or recommendations. FWIW, it looks like we'll be going to Mozambique. I would guess that will be my older dog's one and only overseas move but our other dog is younger and will do this a few more times. Trying to get a plan in order. Sounds like it can take some doing.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    I'll be interested to hear the responses to this, especially on the microchip. I haven't got one for my girl yet so I'll go ahead and make sure I get one thats appropriate for international travel to begin with because I hope to move back to the UK in the not so distant future.

    BR - I'm sure you already know this but another thing to be very aware of in Africa is VACCINATE VACCINATE VACCINATE. There are a lot of loose dogs around, especially if you live in a town. I noticed this in all the towns I visited in sub saharan Africa (I could provide you with the list - it was ALOT), so I am not generalizing.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Event-

      Here is the chip requirement for the UK: http://www.petrelocation.com/resourc...united-kingdom

      Requires a 15 digit chip. Mine have the older 10 digit. I haven't figured out which brand is preferred for the 15. I've heard conflicting info and the folks at post aren't sure who I need to confirm with locally, but since we'll have to stop in Europe (probably France and/or Belgium/Netherlands) I need to look into that too.

      There doesn't seem to be a lot of consistency in peoples' experiences. Another couple who will be doing a similar move with their dogs are researching as well and when we chatted last night it seems that if you talk to two different people you get two vastly different kinds of info. Crazy!

      As for vaccination...anything in particular?

      In the past, my dogs were vaccinated for DA2PP, Corona (as puppies, but no longer), Lepto, Lyme, Bordatella and Rabies. The vet I have here recognizes DA2PP for 5 years, does not recommend lepto, lyme or influenza. I know this has caused problems for clients at the last minute trying to go overseas.

      I'm not really aware of other vaccs for dogs so if you have insight, that would be helpful. They are also on monthly HW and flea preventative and get checked for HW, lyme, giardia, intestinal parasites and such every 6 mo.

      I will say that no matter where we go in Africa, we will be in a gated/walled home yard with security guards and such so there shouldn't be any nose to nose or other contact with other dogs. It doesn't sound like the area will be safe enough to be out and about walking.
      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

      Comment


      • #4
        Start by contacting the USDA area veterinarian in charge for guidance.

        Comment


        • #5
          BR - The following information is specific to South Africa because that is where I lived. Also, as SA is one of the most developed countries in sub saharan Africa it will have the most up to date online info about vaccinations, etc. Dog Rescues are a huge issue in SA especially near township areas because there are soooo many loose dogs. Also, almost every South African has a dog - seriously where I lived outside Cape Town it was weird not to own a dog.

          Anyway, this website has useful info http://www.pawsforpeople.co.za/Health/Vaccination.htm (scroll to the end for essential vaccines).


          If you travel in cars with your dogs be aware of both country and city regulations. In Namibia the woman who owned the trail stables we rode at got pulled over at a regular check point and fined for having her little terrier on her lap. She'd lived there for something like 40 years, always had the dog on her lap, and been through check points no problem. Then one day she got fined, and just had to pay up. As we used to say, TIA (This is Africa). You'll get used to that, and in most cases it is not worth it/safe to argue with officials.

          Feel free to shoot me a PM if you want more non horsey/dog related African travel advice. I've been there, done that, got the t shirt, including dealing with impossible corrupt shipping companies and border agents. Good times. You're lucky to be going with the military (right?) because they'll hopefully take care of a lot of that for you.

          ETA: Thanks for link to microchip requirements! I'm hoping to get her to the vet for it this week.

          ETA2: If you end up going through France let me know. My young adults minister in Paris brought his dog over so I can ask him what was required.
          "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
          "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Marshfield View Post
            Start by contacting the USDA area veterinarian in charge for guidance.
            Thanks you!
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you! Looks like we're covered vaccine wise based on that link as I've elected to keep up with annual vaccination.

              We're not military, Foreign Service, so same difference really as far as having additional support/expediting. Much easier than going as a civilian in some ways. But not with regards to the pets. They really don't help there at all. I am on some private FS forums and based on what I've read thus far, many people are now opting to send the employee ahead and then wait for the timing/weather/schedule to get straight for moving the pets and having the spouse accompany the pets on their own dime rather than using the carrier approved by the dept. of state since there have been so many issues.



              I lived in the region previously but not with critters so this is new. You'd have THOUGHT the most difficult thing would be getting the kid's educational stuff sorted out. Not so. It's the pups that are going to be the major challenge I think.

              TIA--LOL! My husband just got back from Benin and that's his new fave phrase. He had some interesting experiences with guards/police while there on TDY. Corrupt as all get out from the sounds of it.

              I will take you up on the PM option and take this offline. Thanks!


              Originally posted by Event4Life View Post
              BR - The following information is specific to South Africa because that is where I lived. Also, as SA is one of the most developed countries in sub saharan Africa it will have the most up to date online info about vaccinations, etc. Dog Rescues are a huge issue in SA especially near township areas because there are soooo many loose dogs. Also, almost every South African has a dog - seriously where I lived outside Cape Town it was weird not to own a dog.

              Anyway, this website has useful info http://www.pawsforpeople.co.za/Health/Vaccination.htm (scroll to the end for essential vaccines).


              If you travel in cars with your dogs be aware of both country and city regulations. In Namibia the woman who owned the trail stables we rode at got pulled over at a regular check point and fined for having her little terrier on her lap. She'd lived there for something like 40 years, always had the dog on her lap, and been through check points no problem. Then one day she got fined, and just had to pay up. As we used to say, TIA (This is Africa). You'll get used to that, and in most cases it is not worth it/safe to argue with officials.

              Feel free to shoot me a PM if you want more non horsey/dog related African travel advice. I've been there, done that, got the t shirt, including dealing with impossible corrupt shipping companies and border agents. Good times. You're lucky to be going with the military (right?) because they'll hopefully take care of a lot of that for you.

              ETA: Thanks for link to microchip requirements! I'm hoping to get her to the vet for it this week.

              ETA2: If you end up going through France let me know. My young adults minister in Paris brought his dog over so I can ask him what was required.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

              Comment


              • #8
                It's been over ten years since I've done this, but agree wholeheartedly that KLM is the way to go. Lived in Saudi Arabia at three different times.

                First, I would try by any means possible to make sure you are traveling over on the same plane with them. Many of the horror stories happen during unaccompanied transport. And you're not there to make sure things are ok. At the time I last returned home, it was right after 9/11, so they were no longer calling them accompanied baggage, but were shipped separately. I called the airline to see if the dogs could be transported, what the flight number would be, and then that tickets were available to myself and my son on the same flight, and reserved them immediately.

                If you are changing planes in Amsterdam (most probably) KLM will not allow you to see your dogs between flights, but you can go to the service desk and inquire about their condition. May take some waiting at the desk, but they were good about checking and reporting to me how they were doing.

                I also asked the crew upon every flight as I stepped on to the plane, if the dogs were on the flight manifest and if the pilot had taken note that the dogs were on the plane. The crew would sometimes even ask the pilot right then, but usually checked after the passengers were on and then would come back to let me know. My friend who mentored me in the breed made that suggestion - her brother was a pilot - used to be they didn't always have cargo pressurized, or with oxygen? unless there were animals in the hold. The flight manifest should have the indication that there are live animals in the cargo area. Maybe a little ballsy to insist that they confirm this to you, but I was always polite, and was able to get this done every time.

                I have no recommendations about microchips, other than that all my dogs had them. We had vets from Britain and the US over there in the compound. But another suggestion is to make sure the crates are VERY well marked with all identifying information, how to reach you, including new address/phone. Tape the info to the top (or I wrote right on the crates) and even other parts as well, if they are 2 part crates.

                I also got collars with my dogs' names and our new phone number stitched right on to the collars. A different color for each dog, too.

                Also, your vet will probably confirm this, but sedating a dog for the trip isn't a great idea. Something about it possibly interfering with their breathing?

                And if they aren't already used to the crates, best to set them up right now where you live so that they can use them for a bed to hang out in with a familiar piece of clothing/blanket, and intermittent times with doors closed, left open. Lots of treats when they go in there. Some practice drives in the car, etc. so they get used to being in them. My girls were very well crate trained, and although our flights over there were long, they all went very well. With the exception being that once or twice as the plane stopped, they were barking their heads off and everyone in the plane could hear them. Probably had to go. They were so good I don't remember them ever even having an accident on the way over!

                And at times I still feel guilty about having taken them over there, but boy, did they save my sanity! (And moved us right up in the line at customs!)

                Good luck and happy travels!
                But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  CVPEG- thank you for your reply.

                  I keep seeing that KLM is the best choice however Delta is supposedly the worst choice and now they're all one "company" even though they operate somewhat separately along with Air France. That's part of the confusion.

                  I intend to accompany the dogs. Hubby will just have to get there and he may take the kids with him while I attend to the dogs.

                  what I've heard is recommended is to plan to pick up the dogs and overnight in Paris or Amsterdam--just to get them off the plane. I know that France does not require a quarantine if you get the passport for the dogs. But it's all so time sensitive that if there are delays, your paperwork could potentially expire and then you're SOL. I've heard of that happening on the flights into Africa due to the limited flights and frequent cancellations.

                  As far as sedatives--you're right. Sedatives by their very name, sedate. This can lead to suppressed respiratory function that is especially dangerous when flying.

                  My dogs are both crate trained and used to traveling in a car, are not nervous around people or in new places. Pretty happy critters. So I don't think that will be an issue. Just the bathroom option will be an issue for my older dog. he really doesn't do well for more than 5-6 hours without a pee break.

                  That's why I'm thinking that I'll try to go through Paris, off load the dogs, go stay with my friends at the Intercontinental (they like dogs more than Americans and I have a few connections. ) Then get back on a plane the next day.

                  I like your collar idea. I will probably do at least hospital collar type things with all of the info and the embassy contact info. We won't necessarily know our end address or contact info before we get there but we can always put down the embassy info and/or a friend there.

                  what you mentioned about confirming w/ the pilot/staff has been repeated over and over again on the FS websites I've visited. That seems like a biggy. Thanks for the confirmation there. I hate to be a pain but I think that most staff including the pilots get that people are concerned and if you're not a jerk, they probably won't mind the double check.

                  Thank you thank you!

                  I have not lived abroad since 2005 so I'm out of practice to start with and now with the pets and the kids and the stuff..omg. I probably have a year to go yet though that could change. But I really want to have a plan in place.

                  So thanks again!
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    USDA have info here; http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_wel...t_travel.shtml
                    ... _. ._ .._. .._

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, just to give you a time element to work with - each of our flights NYC/Boston to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Saudi/Bahrain were 6.5-8 hours long, and the layover in Amsterdam anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, although usually around 5-7. So they'd have to hang out wherever they kept the pets during those hours, but I understand that KLM has an area for that, they even let them out, of course make sure they had water, etc.

                      But can't say I'd blame you to for staying over in Paris at the Intercontinental. Although I never used Air France for traveling with pets, found them indifferent in other situations, but what else is new?

                      Lucky you to be returning overseas, and good idea to plan ahead. Would love to do it again - especially to reverse the negative experiences I had at the end. It makes such a difference to be doing it with the right person. And the right critters!
                      But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
                        Well, just to give you a time element to work with - each of our flights NYC/Boston to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Saudi/Bahrain were 6.5-8 hours long, and the layover in Amsterdam anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, although usually around 5-7. So they'd have to hang out wherever they kept the pets during those hours, but I understand that KLM has an area for that, they even let them out, of course make sure they had water, etc.

                        But can't say I'd blame you to for staying over in Paris at the Intercontinental. Although I never used Air France for traveling with pets, found them indifferent in other situations, but what else is new?

                        Lucky you to be returning overseas, and good idea to plan ahead. Would love to do it again - especially to reverse the negative experiences I had at the end. It makes such a difference to be doing it with the right person. And the right critters!
                        I think part of what is difficult now is that all of these airlines are enmeshed. They still operate very differently though. Delta/KLM/Air France are all part of one company now I believe. Yet they still have different procedures and different rules. My DH flew out on Delta/AF came back on KLM and raved about KLM. I had great experiences on AF and KLM back in the day, but I'm so out of the loop now! It's been far too long. I'm itching to get abroad again! I'd just like to know what to expect.

                        Your layover model is my experience as well but I still think I'd take an overnight. I would feel better about it because we'd have the 8HR from the US, then a 8HR to SA and one more quick jump to Mozambique I think. Who knows. It could all change.

                        But yeah, staying at the Intercontinental is pretty rich and fun. When I showed up last time, I was a "guest of the manager"--a friend of a friend. I didn't even check in at the counter. They just took me on up, caviar was waiting, etc etc. Now I will say that I had all of my luggage thrown on the street on departure by a cabby who was very anti-American, but such is life.

                        The poor bellman from the IC was MORTIFIED. I just laughed. The cabby asked "are you American?" I said yes. He jumped out and literally threw my luggage on the road and peeled out. LOL

                        It's going to be crazy I'm sure but I know we'll be just fine at the end of the day!
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think SA AIRWAYS go direct from New York to Jo'berg, which may be better.

                          You should check this page;
                          http://www.flysaa.com/us/en/flyingSA...gWithPets.html


                          All live animals should travel as manifested cargo via countries that do not allow the importation of animals as checked baggage, namely:
                          • Angola
                          • Australia
                          • Hong Kong
                          • Mozambique
                          • United Kingdom
                          • Zambia

                          All animals destined for South Africa on an international flight must be carried as manifested cargo. Other countries may have similar requirements; therefore, it is strongly recommended that the respective Embassy or Consulate be consulted. You will however, be responsible for obtaining the necessary permits, forms, container, as applicable, and must also be aware of the import regulations at your destination.
                          ... _. ._ .._. .._

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                            I think SA AIRWAYS go direct from New York to Jo'berg, which may be better.
                            Thank you for that. Being in the DC area, I am hoping we can get out of Dulles but if we have to get to NY first for a better airline, that is certainly something I'd be willing to do. I've not researched that airline at all yet as far as their dog policy/stats.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It may be easier on your animal and paperwork to drive with you to NY, and fly to Mozambique. Did you notice that animals have to be on the manifest for import in to SA and Mozambique. (Not checked baggage)
                              NY to Maputo flight time is about 19 hrs 45 mins.
                              Last edited by Equibrit; May. 5, 2013, 09:39 PM.
                              ... _. ._ .._. .._

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                God I love COTH.

                                Equibrit, thank you!

                                We are so excited about the opportunities going to Maputo (Mozambique) but the dog thing is killing me! I'm freaked out about it.

                                Whomever gets to hang in that new embassy should throw me a party when we're done building it for all the grey hair I'm going to get just trying to get the kids, the dogs hubby and I over there and settled!
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  At least it's a lot easier these days. I used to have to do all the school flights (VC10s and L1011s) several times a year from London, via Khartoum, Niarobi, and Lusaka, to the bush in Northern Zambia. Man that got really old, right quick. I usually got to ride up front on the last leg (DC3) though.
                                  Last edited by Equibrit; May. 5, 2013, 09:41 PM.
                                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

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