Having a pet abroad or bringing your pet abroad to travel with you can sound fun and comforting in the midst of this great adventure. Before you decide to have a furball companion internationally, there are some things to consider.
But let’s talk animals in general first.
Depending on the country you travel to, dogs and cats especially could be treated differently.
Some places have beautiful parks transformed into dog parks mornings and nights. Where many people live in apartments, parks are the savior. People go with their dogs, and it becomes a social hour with the pets’ parents. Friendships are formed. Advice is given. Dogs are social.
But in other countries, there is a good chance you will see dogs running up and down the street as if they don’t have an owner. They may have an owner, or maybe not. (They may attack you, they may not.)
Deciding on whether to take your pet with your when you travel for some people is a no-brainer. For others, depending on the focus of your trip, the time you will be gone, and what activities you want to do while traveling, there will be more to take into consideration.
Bringing Your Pet Abroad
Let’s say you want to bring your pet from your home country while traveling abroad. Traveling with pets at home is probably common for you, especially in many pet-friendly places. Depending on the kind of breed you have, some pets are better travel companions than others.
When you decide to take your favorite furball abroad, there are a few additional considerations to make.
Each country may differ in what is necessary to bring your pet in. You will have to research ahead of time, especially for:
- Health Certificates
- Quarantines upon arrival
- Breed-specific restrictions
Preparing ahead of time will let you give you peace of mind as you will have enough stress as it is.
For more detailed information on pets leaving the USA, please visit the USDA APHIS website:
This website can also help you verify if a quarantine is necessary for your pet when you arrive, depending on the country. Again, it may be good to contact the embassy where you are traveling to, to confirm any additional information.
Visit to Veterinarian
Have a general check-up before you go, and let your veterinarian know you are traveling abroad. Ensure your pet is good for the flight, and get some tips for adjusting, such as food, etc. Also, see if you need to bring prescriptions with you so you have a supply, whether that be enough until you get back or enough until you find a new veterinarian where you will settle.
Plan Your Air Travel Accordingly
Airlines have different policies for pets, such as pricing, crate weight, if the pet can fly with you, etc. Make sure to book in advance as there may be limited space available for pets.
Here is a checklist to work with your veterinarian for the information needed:
Pet Travel Bag
As everyone needs their own travel bag, so does your pet! Make sure you take everything that you normally would when you travel, as this is probably not your first time traveling with your pet. From their favorite snacks to toys to leashes and collars, bags for picking up after them too. Plan in advance!
Choose Pet-Friendly Accommodations
There are pet-friendly hotels and Airbnbs in many countries. Also, find a location near dog parks or any park for walking your dog. There are pet-sitting services that you can find too. The best bet would be to go to an expat or digital nomad group on Facebook and see recommendations and reviews.
Pros and Cons
As with all decisions, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Let’s look at a few for traveling abroad with your pet.
- Probably the reason you have a pet that UNCONDITIONAL love! When you have feelings of being tired, homesick, or lonely, pet owners know that their pet is there for them.
- Companionship You have a companion full-time, which can feel wonderful! Familiarity and Sense of Security. As I mentioned here about culture shock, it takes time to adapt to new places as you feel as though you don’t belong. But when you have your pet with you, its presence gives you the feeling of security in these unfamiliar surroundings.
- Exploration opportunities If you have a dog, you will be given more chances to discover the neighborhood since you will be taking walks and finding all those pet-friendly locations!
- Meeting people Having a pet can be a common factor with you and many others. It serves as the icebreaker on many occasions, and you can meet others at dog parks, have dog dates, etc.
- Language barrier breaker If you are trying to learn the local language, your dog will be a great topic that can initiate conversations. There is so much to talk about with other dog owners, which will help you advance quickly in your language skills!
- Physical Health Benefits You will keep in shape by taking lots of walks and being active with other outdoor activities as you explore nature.
- Routines Having a pet gives you more of a routine and responsibility. This can definitely help with your adapting to a new culture.
- Stress relief Things can be challenging and your interaction with your pet can reduce your stress and anxiety. Fact.
- Emotional Support Your pet can give you the emotional support you need when you need it.
- Great memories and incredible photos You will be traveling with your favorite model, which will shine through in your pictures!
- Logistics There is more research and planning to do ahead of time when you are taking your pet abroad. This could change where you travel to, but getting the correct information and recommendations will help you decide.
- Limit your Freedom If you want to be a bit more spontaneous or go places that are not pet-friendly, you could be more tied down. This would depend on what the focus of your trip is, your time frame, and whether you are willing to leave your pet with others if you go away for the weekend, for example.
- Allergies and Sensitivities Humans often have a challenging time adapting to a new diet so imagine what havoc it can do to your pet! Take food with you or make sure it is available where you are traveling to.
- Health and Safety Keeping your pet safe encompasses various themes a lot of caution with food, what they eat in the grass, caution with other dogs, caution with walking in the streets as many dogs don’t have leashes, etc. Culturally speaking, this goes up a notch as not all cultures make consider pets as important as you. Be extra vigilant at all times.
- Finding a good veterinarian This takes time but try to do it immediately when you arrive to create that relationship with a veterinarian. It can be costly, but ask others, look at reviews, and try to find a veterinarian who speaks your language. If not, take someone with you that can translate. You will always need to know ahead of time what to do in an emergency.
- Cultural differences Unfortunately, pets and animals are not always treated in the same way you treat yours, no matter where you go. Culturally, this is more intense as some of your favorite furballs could be considered delicacies. Sorry! But this always will be important to research ahead of time so you know what you are getting into.
Questions to Ask Yourself
For me, again, the decision to take a pet or not really depends on your focus and the purpose of travel.
Are you on an adventure trip or heading to museums every day?
Or will you be working from home or working nearby and establishing yourself there for a while?
Does your pet go with you everywhere now in your daily life?
Do you want that, and are you willing to do the research and have only pet-friendly accommodations?
Other ways to have a pet abroad
Many people who decide to take a trip and don’t have a pet at home could always end up with a pet they meet abroad and want to bring them back with them. We’ll look at that in another post!