On Pet Health and Pet Travel; Dr Tan E.K, answers 3 key questions on pet relocation

Dr. Tan (pictured below) – answers the following question: What are three things that you would recommend to someone who is planning to relocate internationally with a dog or cat?

  1. Make sure that your breed is allowed in the country that you are traveling to. For example, the American Pit Bull Terrier is not allowed into Singapore, and a domestic Bengal cat that is crossed with an Asian Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is not allowed into Australia.  Also, make sure that the residence that you are moving into welcomes your particular breed. Some apartments, condos and housing estates have strict restrictions on breeds and/or other characteristics of a pet.
  2. Make sure your dog and cat is healthy enough to make the journey. If medications are needed, make sure they are/can be fed. Also make sure you have a sufficient amount of medication until you have time to establish another relationship with a new vet overseas. Make sure all requirements for travel to the new country are strictly followed. Strict time frames must be adhered to. These often include rabies and other core vaccinations, external anti-parasite treatment and gastrointestinal deworm.  Some countries require a blood test (example: rabies titre). Not following the requirements often means pets cannot enter the new country or expensive recourse. As a best practice, I would suggest getting all required vaccinations, antiparasitic and deworm protocols up to date as a precaution in the event that your pet comes into contact with other animals. Your vet would be the best person to advise you on these preventives.
  3. Prepare for your cat or dog’s psychological health. Call the airline that you plan to travel with and check whether your pet is going to fly in cargo or can fly in the cabin with the owner, and thus the specific type of carrier required. Buy the specific type of IATA carrier in advance (the earlier the better, months would be best). Instead of using oral sedatives or anti-anxiety medication for your pet’s travel (which is often forbidden by international airline carriers anyway), I would suggest getting your pet used to this carrier instead. Do this by opening the door of the carrier and feeding the pet inside; also, let your pet sleep inside this carrier. Give your pet sufficient time to acclimatize and associate the carrier as their comfort zone (where the pet feels safe in). To further decrease travel anxiety, you can use pheromone spray or pheromone collars (ask your vet to make sure you get the right product that is safe for travel). You may also introduce a piece of your worn, unwashed clothing in the carrier so your pet feels less anxious (it has your scent which pet is familiar with).

Dr. TAN Eng Khim

Dr Tan E.K. is a featured partner and veterinarian of Pet Travel Questions. Dr Tan is an incredibly accomplished veterinarian with many years of expertise in the field, extremely well versed with different animals and has accumulated a great many degrees in veterinary science and biotechnology over the years. An expert in his field of medicine, he is undoubtedly one of the best and most trustworthy sources on pet health and pet travel.

Animal Medical Centre (VET@RV) Pte Ltd. 


Veterinary Surgeon. MRCVS (UK).
MVS, PG Cert Vet Studies, BVMS, BSc (Vet Bio) (Murdoch);
BSc (Microbiology/Comp Prgm) (National University of Singapore).
RCVS Advanced Practitioner status in Small Animal Practice (UK).

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