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Making an international move? A long-distance relocation will require research and care to ensure your dog's safe travel and arrival.

Having to relocate can be a stressful time for everyone in the family, including the dog. With research and careful preparation, you can hopefully avoid the pitfalls and worries that are often associated with moving your dog to another continent--but you'll need to start your homework as soon as possible.

A dog that was not crate trained as a puppy will need that training before the trip is planned (for related article on crate training, see DogWatch August, 2011). This process can't be rushed, so get started as soon as possible. If the dog becomes accustomed to his crate, the animal will essentially be traveling in a familiar environment during the flight.

For many countries, an international health certificate is required, which can take extra time to obtain. Additionally, some countries require an animal to be in quarantine for days (or even months), so be sure you know the rules before you make your departure.

Completed and signed international health certificates for the export of animals from the United States have to be endorsed by a Veterinary Services area office. To obtain the USDA endorsement of an international health certificate or any other documents relating to traveling with your pet, the documents must be completed by an APHIS accredited veterinarian.

Before taking your pet to another country, you should contact that country's consulate or embassy to learn the specific requirements that must be met. A list of consulates can be found at

Prior to the flight, you can give your dog a small meal an hour or two before. Dogs should have access to water, but dispensing water can be tricky. Using water bottles similar to those used by guinea pigs, you should try to train your dog prior to the trip to make sure that he understands how to use it.

The items that you can include in the crate are food, water and a pad or blanket, along with a favorite toy, if you're certain he won't chew and ingest it. (Remember: The airline is the final authority in all matters.)

Update All Information. You should affix proper identification and current contact information to your dog's crate. It is also a wise idea to have recent photos of your dog in case he gets lost. And if he has a microchip, contact the company to provide them with updated information.

Only in special circumstances should a dog owner give a tranquilizer to his animal, and then only based on the recommendation of a trusted veterinarian. Many animals become disoriented on tranquilizers, and actually become more fearful as a result. They are less able to control their body temperatures and may become too hot or too cold. And some tranquilizers have cardiovascular effects that are dangerous. Additionally, dogs that are sedated often lose their "righting reflex" - if the crate tips over or is jostled by turbulence, the dog may not be able to brace itself and an injury could result.

The Safe Air Travel for Animals Act states that airlines are required to report to the Secretary of Transportation any incident involving an animal that is injured, lost or killed. That information is available to the public in the Department of Transportation's publication, Air Travel Consumer Reports. Additionally, baggage handlers must now be trained in animal care and safe transport techniques.


LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. When you bring your dog, you'll need extra preparation. Be sure you know what rules you have to follow.
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Title Annotation:NOTEWORTHY
Publication:Dog Watch
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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