EU Tightens Rules on Pet Travel and Import of Dogs and Cats

Pets in EU to travel with more controlsEffective on December 29, 2014, there will be a new regulation involving changes to the popular pet travel scheme governing pet movement throughout the European Union (EU). Whether you live in or are visiting the EU next year, these changes will affect you. Here is the abbreviated version:

EU Pet Passports: The passport issued to EU residents will be changing and will be provide for more identification of the pet. This change will not affect visitors to the EU.

Border Inspections: EU countries will be required to provide for inspections of pets crossing borders at certain locations. The EU may not be as laid back on ground controls.

Minimum age requirement: rabies vaccination for puppies, kittens and ferrets entering the EU will be administered no sooner than 3 months of age. This requirement is meant to prevent the movement of puppies and kittens who have been vaccinated too young in an effort to comply with regulations.

Commercial Movements: If you are traveling with more than 5 pets, unless you are traveling to a pet show or competition, you will need to use a licensed agent and enter the EU through an approved Border Inspection Post. The movement must also be registered on the TRACES system which tracks the movement of animals entering and traveling within the EU.

Unaccompanied Pet Travel: when entering the EU by air, if you cannot travel on the same plane with your pet, you must sign a declaration that you are not selling or transferring ownership of your pet. Additionally, you must travel within 5 days of your pet’s transport. This regulation will raise a lot of questions from pet owners who, for whatever reason, cannot travel with their pet.

Definition of Your Pet: Your pet must be a domesticated dog, cat or ferret. Wild animals, Savannah cats or wolf hybrids are handled through the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Most of these rules are targeting the illegal trade of puppies and kittens in the EU. The health and welfare of these animals cannot be ignored. Bottom line is to be aware of the rules for pets to travel within and to the EU. You can find them here for every country in the EU: http://www.pettravel.com/passportnew.cfm.

Puppy Mill Puppies Again Targeted by New USDA Regulations

This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) passed a new amendment under Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act prohibiting the commercial import of puppies to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) until fully vaccinated and 6 months of age. This regulation applies when importing a pet intended for resale or transfer of ownership for more than insignificant consideration from any country in the world including Puerto Rico and all US territories. It does not apply to personal pets or those entering the US for veterinary treatment not available in the originating country or puppies intended for research.

This regulation is directly related to the ongoing problem of internet puppy sales and to the risk to the welfare of the puppy. It also serves to protect buyers who think they are purchasing a puppy from the states, only to find out that the puppy has traveled from Asia, has not been cared for and developed health issues that either require additional veterinary treatments or, in some cases, caused the death of the puppy.

In addition to the age requirement, a commercial transport involving a puppy will require an import permit as well as a health certificate, rabies vaccination certificate and proof of required vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parovirus and parainfluenza virus. (DHLPP).

This is the second time the USDA has passed regulation directed to controlling puppy mill puppies. Last year, it required any breeder who sells puppies over the internet sight unseen to be licensed and inspected.

Early signs from the airlines are that they will fully abide by the new regulations. This is very good news for consumers and everyone concerned with the welfare of puppies. The ordinance will be effective November 17, 2014.

US Department of Transportation Expands Pet Airline Incident Reporting

Waiting for airline with petThe United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recently passed regulations important to helping pet owners to choose a safe airline with a reliable record to transport their pets.

Until now, a limited number of airlines had to file yearly reports on the number of incidents it had regarding cats and dogs during the year. The numbers were buried in the back of the yearly DOT Air Travel Consumer Report. The USDA has expanded the number of airlines required to report their pet incidents to include some smaller US-based airlines. Additionally, they have expanded the definition of a pet to include “any warm or cold blooded animal which, at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States and any dog or cat which, at the time of transportation, is shipped as part of a commercial shipment on a scheduled passenger flight. This is good news for owners of rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and all sorts of reptiles as well as breeders who transport their pets in the cargo hold of an airplane.

Also, the DOT is requiring the airlines to report the number of pets they transport each year so pet owners can run the numbers themselves and see who has a good track record for transporting pets.

More good news: pet incidents are down in 2013. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics : “In December [2013], carriers reported two incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, down from both the five reports filed in December 2012 and the six reports filed in November 2013. December’s incidents involved two lost pets. For all of last year, carriers reported 21 pet deaths, 15 pet injuries, and six lost pets. In 2012, carriers reported 29 pet deaths, 26 pet injuries, and one lost pet.” (ref: https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/dot19_14.pdf)

All good things for pet owners wanting to find the best airline to fly their pet.

New Ruling on Dog Rabies Vaccination Requirements for Entry to the US

Pet vaccination requirements changing for USThe United States (US) is one of the most pet friendly countries in the world. Dog passports need only to document proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entering the country. Presently, dog owners and importers transporting unvaccinated dogs into the United States, or those who can not meet the 30 day requirement, can apply for home confinement for 30 days. During this time, their dog must be vaccinated for rabies and it must be kept in isolation, away from other rabies-carrying animals. It must be leashed and muzzled when removed from the designated premises during the period of confinement. The same opportunity applied for puppies under 3 months of age who were not old enough for rabies vaccinations when entering the US.

Effective August 11, 2014, the rules for dog vaccination requirements will be changing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) will require pre-approval of all requests for home confinement for dogs who have not been vaccinated for rabies when entering the United States from a country which is not considered by the US as rabies-free*.  And, as puppies are not given their rabies vaccinations until 3 months, and there is a 30 day waiting period after the initial vaccination, this means that puppies from non-rabies-free countries cannot be imported to the US until the age of 4 months.

The legislation was written out of concern for the number of home confinements that were issued in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Many importers are not adhering to the rules of the confinement and the number of home confinement requests is growing substantially. After August 11, the CDC will consider each case individually and encourages owners and importers to have their dogs vaccinated at least 30 days prior to import to avoid problems at the point of entry.

*Countries considered by the US as rabies-free.

More details

 

Airline Pet Travel – Flying Your Puppy or Kitten Safely

Airline pet travel with a puppy or kittenWe get a lot of questions from people who are having a puppy or kitten shipped to them from a foreign country which will require that they travel unaccompanied in the cargo hold of an airplane.

Do you know your breeder? If you are purchasing a puppy or kitten over the internet, you best have spoken with your breeder, know them or have been referred by someone who had received a puppy or kitten from them. Purchasing a puppy or kitten over the internet, sight-unseen, is a risky transaction. You can end up with a pet that was not as pictured, an unhealthy pet, or no pet at all. If your breeder requires that you wire money for your pet, especially to Cameroon, but to anywhere, then you need to be very wary of the transaction. An alternative is to find a puppy or kitten from a local breeder, if available, where you can see and hold your new puppy or kitten.

Considerations for pet travel: If you are confident in your breeder, then you need to consider the best way to transport your pet. Although the United States or Canada do not require rabies vaccination, most countries do and it must be administered at least 30 days or more before entering the country. Some countries require rabies vaccination before leaving the country. As rabies vaccinations are generally given at 3 months of age, this can put your new puppy or kitten’s age at 4 months before they can be transported to you.

What are the risks to my puppy or kitten? You should consider the risk to your puppy or kitten flying in the cargo hold of an airplane. Their lungs are not fully developed at young ages and that can impair their oxygen intake. Many airlines have age minimums of between 8 weeks for domestic and 15 weeks for international travel for this reason. Temperatures are also a concern for young animals. Try to avoid transporting a puppy or kitten in the summer or winter when temperatures are extreme. Additionally, your puppy or kitten has not been oriented to its crate at a young age, adding to the trauma of leaving its familiar surroundings.

Although you want to get your new family addition as soon as you can, remember that it is a stress to a puppy or kitten to fly in the cargo hold. If you cannot pick them up and fly home with them in-cabin, then have your breeder care for them until they get older and are more prepared to travel. The wait will increase the chances that your puppy or kitten will arrive safely.

You can find more information about traveling with a pet at www.PetTravel.com.

Pet Travel Question – What are the ways my cat or dog can travel by air?

Airline Pet Travel - ways your dog or cat can travel by air.We get asked a lot of questions from pet owners about traveling with a pet by air. After all, we live in a mobile age and people move all over the world every day. Certainly, they want to bring their pet with them and knowing airline pet policies and the services offered will help save a lot of headaches on travel day.

All services for live animals offered by airlines based in the United States are covered by the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations issued in November, 2013. There are 3 ways that dogs and cats can travel on an airplane: in-cabin, checked baggage and manifest cargo.

Travel in the cabin: most airlines based in the US allow only small cats, dogs and (maybe) household birds to travel in the cabin on flights and generally only on flights under 8 hours (US-based airlines). Your pet should not exceed approximately 11-13 pounds in weight and 19 inches in length from tip of nose to base of tail. Your cat or dog will need to travel in an airline compliant carrier which has a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation and zippers for security. Pet owners usually opt for soft sided carriers like those found here because they will offer your cat or dog additional room and will compress to go under the seat in front of you. See airline compliant pet carriers.

When flying with your pet in the cabin, you will notify the airline in advance (when you make your booking is best). On travel day, you will bring your pet to the ticket counter where you will pay for your pet’s passage. You will need to clear security on your way to the gate. Refer to this article on clearing airport security with a pet.

Travel as checked baggage: If you or your designee (over 18 years of age) are traveling with your dog or cat, then, as long as your airline offers this service (most do), your pet can travel as checked baggage in the cargo hold. This service is for pets that are too big to travel in the cabin or are pets other than dogs or cats. You need to inform your airline that you are traveling with a pet ahead of time and usually a minimum of 48 hours is required.

Your cat or dog must travel in an IATA compliant pet crate with a waterproof bottom, secure, spring latch door and adequate ventilation. On travel day, you will bring your pet in its crate to the ticket counter (or PetSafe desk if you are flying with United) where you will pay for your pet’s passage. Staff at the reservation desk will take your pet to the loading area and you will proceed on to your gate. When traveling with a dog or cat as checked baggage, you should arrive at the airport in plenty of time to process your pet. Your pet should fly on the same plane as you do. You will pick up your pet in the baggage claim area of the terminal.

Travel as manifest cargo: Dogs and cats traveling as manifest cargo travel in the cargo hold as do those traveling as checked baggage. Animals traveling as manifest cargo may be too big to handle at the ticket counter, be traveling unaccompanied by their owner or be required to do so by the country they are traveling to. Many countries require live animals to arrive as manifest cargo including the United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Tongo.

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, you will need to contact the cargo department of your airline for details. Your pet will need a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel and, like checked baggage, your pet must travel in an IATA compliant pet crate. You will take your pet and its crate to your airline’s cargo facility (United may have a PetSafe Desk in the airport). Most airlines have cargo facilities on airport grounds. There, your pet will be weighed and crate inspected and you will complete an Airway Bill which will travel with your pet. Here is lots of information on preparing your pet crate for travel.

Your pet will travel on the same plane as you do unless there is an issue with cargo scheduled with your flight. Be sure and be proactive and ask whether your pet was loaded on the plane before you get on. Tell the Captain and crew that there is precious cargo in the hold and be sure and monitor pressure and temperature levels.

When you arrive at your destination, you will pick up your pet at the cargo facility or at another processing location. You should clarify this with cargo staff when you check in your pet.

Hope this helps to clarify the ways your pet can travel by air. You can always email us at info@pettravel.com with additional questions. Additionally, you can find more information on pet transport on www.PetTravelTransport.com if you need help with travel arrangements or cannot travel with your pet.

Pet Train Travel: Amtrak Trials Program to Carry Small Dogs and Cats

Pet Train Travel - Amtrak LogoThis week, Amtrak announced that it would trial a pet program that would carry small dogs and cats in designated passenger cars (NOT luggage cars) between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois until November, 2014. Should the trial prove successful, they will consider lauching this program nationwide.

This is truly great news and long overdue. It is certainly exciting that pets may soon be able to travel with their owners by train  in comfort in the United States. Of course, they will need to stay in their carriers. Amtrak’s price for this route is $25.00.  Let’s hope it is successful!

Insure Your Pet’s Health and Protect Yourself from Costly Vet Bills

Pet Health Insurance - it is important to protect your petIt’s time to plan for spring cleaning and making summer travel plans for your family and your pets. When you make your travel plans, don’t forget how important it is to have health insurance for your pet. We get health checkups, enroll kids in summer programs, make vacation plans, but, it is easy to neglect our furry family members…our pets. Health checkups are mandatory prior for international pet travel and just make common sense whether you are traveling or not.

Did you know that, every six seconds, a pet owner is faced with a veterinarian bill of over $1000? The cost of veterinarian care has sky rocketed in the past several years, and costs now rival those of human care. Consider this:

● Pet owners spent over $12 billion on veterinary care in 2009. [America Pet Products Association 2009-2010 National Pet Owner’s Survey]
● Serious illnesses or injuries can easily rack up bills over $10,000.
● Pet insurance has been available in the US for about 30 years, but, only about 3% of dog owners and 1% of cat owners have it.
● Our friends in the United Kingdom provide protection for their pets at rates over 50% for dog owners and over 30% for cat owners.

For around $2 per day, one can easily mitigate these high costs and limit the out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical treatment for our pets. With the relatively low cost of a health care policy, it is affordable for most and could prove to save a great deal of money as well as provide peace of mind for pet owners.
While we are putting our house in order for spring and summer, it would be a good time to consider insurance for your wellbeing and your pet’s as well. Get more information on health insurance for your pet.

Check Your Pet’s Microchip Before Traveling with Your Pet

When traveling with a pet, checking their microchip can save a lot of trouble and expense for youThe Guardian posted a sad, but important article recently about a dog traveling to the United Kingdom from South Africa whose microchip was faulty. Because of this, and according to the Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) policies, the dog was quarantined for 4 months at great inconvenience and cost to the owner. Here is a link to the story.

This story reminds us how crucial it is for your veterinarian to scan your pet’s microchip everytime you bring in your pet for whatever reason, but especially prior to traveling to any foreign country. In this case, there were quarantine facilities in the UK, but this is not the case in other countries in the European Union and other countries worldwide. If your pet is not traveling with the proper identification and paperwork and required tests have not been done, it will be refused entry and returned to the country of origin at your cost or destroyed. This is something no one traveling with a pet wants to happen.

If your veterinarian does not have a scanner, you can rent or purchase a scanner and bring it with you.

Not all countries require a microchip, but many do including all EU countries. Just be sure that you know the regulations for your destination country before traveling with your pet. Find pet passport policies for countries all over the world. It could make the difference between a fun trip and a disaster.

Know your dog before traveling. Strong bonds and training will matter.

Dog travel - know your petJust like humans, every dog is different. They have unique personalities and needs that good pet owners are aware of and respond to. No matter how independent they may appear, every dog depends on their owner for their basics: food,  shelter and attention. And, certainly, some dogs require more love and attention than others. Is your dog one of them that has grown overly dependent on you?

We get so many questions about keeping pets safe during air travel. Getting good equipment is essential. Acclimating your dog to its carrier is essential. Being a proactive pet traveler is essential. Choosing a good route is essential.

But do owners look into their dog’s eyes and truly understand that, when traveling, the need to know that you will find them again is paramount in their mind? To many dogs, that is extremely important and it must be reinforced. The strangers handling the crate, the unfamiliar surroundings, the fact that their owner is not in sight; it can all add up to a large amount of stress for your dog.

It is the bond between you and your dog that builds your dog’s confidence that you will return to them. So, how do you build their confidence? Simply put, you simulate the experience. You crate them, leave them and come back. Crate them, take them out of their environment, leave them and come back for them. The more often you can do this, the more your dog will know that they are not being deserted.

We all expect our dogs to understand what is going on when we take them out of their routine, load them in a crate, take them to a noisy crowded airport and put them on a conveyer belt that leads them down to people and smells they don’t know. But, dogs don’t understand unless they have been in similiar situations before without their master. It is past experience that is the teacher in this case.

If you have a dependent dog, be sure and train them and expose them to experiences out of their comfort zone prior to travel. Take them to a dog park. Take them downtown. Take them to you in-laws house. Doggy day care or a dog sitter nearby will work. And when you come back for them, take extra time for hugs, rubs and a lot of verbal praise. It will make a world of difference in your dog’s state of mind.

More information on preparing your dog for travel.