Dr Prabhpreet Kaur, Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Clementi)
Travelling with your pets? Here are some tips to make it as pleasant as possible for you and your best friends.
1. Prepare early
Some countries require your pets to have certain vaccinations or treatments up to 6 months before travel. Find out the import requirements of the country you are going to – speak to their local embassy or get in touch with the relevant government body. Your pet may need to be quarantined for a period of time.
Speak to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore on the export requirements of your pet from Singapore. Some of the requirements include:
- ISO-compatible Microchip
- AVA Export Licence
- Veterinary Health Certificate
2. comply with all requirements before booking flights
This will save you the hassle of changing flights or having to cancel your travel because you cannot meet the import requirements.
Some airlines allow your pet to travel accompanied as check-in baggage/in-cabin. Otherwise, your pet has to travel unaccompanied as cargo. Whenever possible, book a direct, non-stop flight and avoid holiday or weekend travel.
3. Get your pet used to travelling in the crate
Useful information here -> International Air Transport Association (IATA)
IMPORTANT: Introduce your pets to the crate early – at least a few weeks before travel. Let them sleep or eat in their crates. Also, get them used to drinking from a water bottle or a small water bowl attached to the carrier door.
DO reinforce your pets positively whenever they go near or inside the crate. Reward with food, praise or play, depending on what motivates your pet. Make the crate a fun, relaxing, stress free zone.
DO NOT make the crate a punishment or time-out zone. You want your pet to like the crate (not fear it) so that he would be as relaxed as possible during flight.
4. control food intake on day of travel
On the day of travel, feed your pet a light meal and sufficient water approximately 2 hours before loading into the crate. You can help to calm your pet with a familiar scent by placing an unwashed t-shirt, blanket or favourite toy into the crate.
Do not sedate your pets for the travel as it can interfere with their ability to regulate temperature. Many airlines will not accept a sedated or tranquillised pet.
5. coming back again?
If you are bringing your pet back to Singapore after travel, make sure you meet the requirements for both countries. Singapore is free from rabies and has strict import and quarantine policies to keep it that way.