The most common questions I am asked regarding this move are about the pets. I will be honest- if we did not have these pets the move would be a breeze.
I mentioned previously about calling each airline to ensure there is enough room on the plane for the pets. Some aircraft and flight routes do not have a temperature, pressure controlled cargo area for pets, and in cabin there are number limits for pets. We could not book a couple of the potential flights due to the lack of available pet space.
Once the flights are set, it is time to make sure the kennels meet the airline standards. I had to make a couple of changes to the ones we bought- I switched out the plastic wingnuts for metal, as some (not all) airlines require metal. As I mentioned previously on this blog, sometimes you get a different answer depending on who answers the phone, so I would rather just do it and be sure we don’t have a problem.
Each crate has an absorbent puppy pad taped the bottom, and will have a towel and t shirt of mine in there. That way the pets will have 20 hours in a crate to figure out upon whom to exact their revenge when we arrive in Vicenza. I also taped a small pan in each cat crate which I will fill with shredded newspaper in case they need a litterbox. Murray will get to come out for a couple hours in Atlanta, and I hope that he will get walked in Amsterdam. Schmitt doesn’t like to pee when I want him to on a regular day so who knows what will happen. Good thing he is RW’s favorite. We also had to buy him a jacket here because he was shivering when it was 70 degrees on Siesta Key. It will be colder than that in Vicenza. That dog…
Each pet must have a 15 digit microchip inserted for permanent identification purposes (not a 9 or 12 which are common in the US). This microchip must be inserted BEFORE the rabies vaccination that is going on the health certificate is administered. Check on your destination country’s requirements for rabies vaccine timeline (ie. not older than a year but not within 21 days of travel). I recommend completing all vaccines, etc at least a month or two ahead of time to be sure your pet’s immune system is primed for travel.
The next step is the international health certificates. I could go on about this… but my advice is to be sure that the veterinary clinic that does your paperwork is familiar with writing health certificates, and takes the time to call the USDA and ask what the current requirements are for your destination. Requirements change all of the time so it is worth it to just check. The paperwork must be signed and dated within 10 days of arrival, and has to go to the USDA office in your state and be signed by that veterinarian. Be sure you account for any federal holidays when sending your paperwork. Here is the place where I shout out to the two amazing women who went out of their way to ensure that my paperwork was completed on time and correctly. I hear Gainesville is nice this time of year… 😉 Thanks JL and KP, I am so grateful to you both.
Well, I think that is it. I will let you know how it goes!!