I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about what it’s like flying long-haul with a cat, and now I’m going to talk about the paperwork involved with travelling abroad with a pet. Make sure you read my earlier post as well as it offers helpful tips while flying with a pet as well as my favourite pet travel products.
When I was preparing our cat, Beany, to move abroad, I found it really difficult to find out online exactly what I needed to do. From the research I originally found, I knew she needed a microchip and a rabies vaccine, but I didn’t know about the official paperwork. The first vet clinic I called told me I couldn’t get an appointment right away since they only had one Veterinarian. Thankfully, they referred me to a bigger clinic where I was informed that I needed official government paperwork to bring Beany to Germany. Had I waited on the smaller clinic, things could have gone very wrong.
In my situation, I travelled from Canada to Germany with Beany. While your situation may vary, I hope you’ll feel a bit more at ease after reading this. As a disclaimer, this is just a basic outline of my experience, but still be sure to follow exactly what your local government authority tells you you need to do. Travelling to different parts of the world will have different requirements regarding paperwork and vaccines, so keep this in mind.
Contact the Government
As soon as you know that you’re going to be travelling abroad, contact the government to get the official paperwork that you need. In Canada, you will be dealing with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The person I dealt with over the phone was so friendly and helpful. She was able to guide me through everything that my cat needed in a concise way. Honestly, I’d never dealt with such a friendly government worker before, it was amazing!
Following this link will get you to the right webpage where you can find the number to call in your area.
Call Your Vet
Once you’ve obtained the official paperwork, it’s time to make your first vet appointment. It’s possible, as in my situation, that you will have to sign a disclaimer waiving the vet clinic of responsibility if something goes wrong with your travels.
In my first appointment, Beany received her microchip, as required by EU law. I also discussed possible medications she could take to put her a bit more at ease while she travels.
The Rabies Vaccine
When travelling to the EU, cats (likely all pets) will need a rabies vaccine. However, it’s very important that the rabies vaccine is given after the insertion of the microchip. The waiting period I followed for this was 24 hours. That way, on your paperwork it’s easy to tell that the microchip came first since it was done on different days. But talk to your local authorities about this for clear instruction.
Important Notes to Keep in Mind
Firstly, the airport you fly into matters. For bringing Beany to Germany, I needed to enter the country through Frankfurt airport. Entering through the wrong city could result in being sent home. If the government worker doesn’t mention this, make sure to ask!
Your Vet clinic may ask you to get a Pet Broker. Basically, this is an agency which is suppose to guide you through the steps of getting your pet abroad. They check over all of your paperwork to make sure that everything is in order before you fly. As a personal preference, I decided not to do this. Like I said earlier, the lady at the CFIA was so helpful and made sure everything was in order for me that I felt it wasn’t necessary.
The Week Before Flying
Normally before a big trip, it’s just about packing your bags and showing up at the airport. With a pet, it’s a little more involved; the paperwork needs to be approved.
For flying with a cat to Germany, I needed to have my paperwork signed by my vet and afterwards the CFIA within 5 days of my arrival in Germany. During my vet appointment, I also asked for a Certificate of Health for the airlines in case they asked for it. They also checked Beany over to make sure she was healthy before signing the paperwork. I also received some sedatives to help relax Beany for travel.
After I had the paperwork signed by my Veterinarian, I drove to my local CFIA office to have my paperwork approved. At the CFIA, they have their own Veterinarian who approves and signs the paperwork. Once it was all signed, I paid $20 and was ready to fly with Beany!
While getting the paperwork needed for travelling abroad with our pets is quite an involved process, as mentioned in my previous post, our pets are our family. We would do anything for them, and the thought of leaving Beany behind would be selfish.
Be prepared to feel anxious about flying with your pet, because you probably will be and its normal. It’s always a challenge when you can’t explain what is happening. But in the end, having our furry friends around is priceless.