travelling with your pet

dog with map by danny chapmanRecent advances in vaccination, laboratory testing and animal identification have reduced the quarantine requirements for many countries enabling domestic pets to travel much more freely around the world. Many of our clients are expatriates and both travel and relocate frequently with their pets. We work closely with local pet travel agencies and are involved with the export of dozens of animals every year.

The whole process can take seven months or more depending on destination. We would strongly advise anyone who thinks they may be exporting their pet over the next year to contact us early to check their pet’s requirements.

This short article gives a brief overview of what is required to export your pet to other countries.

Exporting Dogs and Cats from Hong Kong

The requirements for export of dogs and cats vary widely between different countries and we would strongly advise you to contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for detailed information well in advance of your planned travel dates. We can also put you in touch with one of the local pet travel agencies who can organise everything for you.

All animals are required to be permanently identified with a microchip implanted under the skin. There are several types of microchip available throughout the world. The “ISO” chip is the most widely recognised and is generally recommended for animals traveling overseas. All dogs in Hong Kong are required to be implanted with an AVID microchip to comply with the local rabies laws. Your dog may require an additional ISO chip to allow for export.

Rabies vaccination is also required. In addition some countries require vaccination against other common diseases.

If you are considering taking your pet to Singapore, Australia, New Zealand or many parts of Europe- including the United Kingdom- a blood test is required 30 days after the rabies vaccination to ensure a good response to the vaccine. In most cases the animal must then wait for SIX MONTHS after passing the blood test before being exported.

Animals travelling to Australia and New Zealand in particular must undergo several further blood tests to ensure they are not carrying other infectious diseases.

There can be some restrictions over which routes, airlines and ports that animals can enter by. Travel crates and kennels are also quite strictly regulated with minimum standards for space,

Health certificates are required a few days before travel. These declare the animal free from signs of rabies and other infectious diseases and detail the animal’s vaccination history. Often these must be further endorsed by a Government Veterinary Surgeon. Some countries also require that animals are treated by a vet for ticks and tapeworms before export.

Bringing Animals into Hong Kong

The importation requirements for import into Hong Kong vary depending on the animal’s country of origin. This is relatively easy from rabies free countries such as Australia and very difficult from other such as China.

It is important to note that the import requirements are the same regardless of whether the animal is being imported for the first time or is being brought back to Hong Kong from a short holiday.

Other Pets

Many of the animal species commonly kept as pets are governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This includes all parrot species and most reptiles and fish.

Additional import and export permits are required for these species and it is sometimes necessary to prove where the animal originated from. Some countries have severe restrictions on the import of certain species.