Taking your precious pooch, or favourite feline on holiday? A sprinkle of planning and preparation can really help to make everything run smoothy.
There's a lot of paperwork involved when taking your pets on holiday. Pre-travel you'll need to organise export and import papers, transit health certificates, IATA shipper's certificate, permits and quarantine provisions & more!
Your pets comfort during travel should be top priority. If travelling in summer avoid flights during the middle of the day, and in winter avoid early or late flights in the cold. A bit of encouragement and training pre-travel can put even anxious pets at ease.
Taking Rover or Mittens on a plane? They are most probably traveling by crate. Make their journey comfortable with a few creature comforts. Whilst it's not recommended to feed your pet too close to the flight, you must keep them comfortable & hydrated.
Older pets over 12 years of age or animals that are pregnant must be accompanied with a vet certificate stating the pet is fit-for-flight. Your vet must also provide proof your pooch or feline will not give birth mid-air!
Not all cats and dogs are born nomads; some prefer the comfort of home and will get stressed in unfamiliar settings. If you are taking a nervous pet away, start planning as early as possible.
If your pet is not travelling in the cabin with you avoid making a fuss before you part ways. Dogs in particular, will register your anxiety and take it on board.
Many airlines do not allow breeds like the Brazilian Fila, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier.
Cats and dogs under eight weeks old are usually not allowed to travel.
Any animal other than a dog or cat (such as snakes, rabbits or rodents) will not be permitted on board or in the hold.
No carriage for pets that have given birth in the last 48 hours before the flight.
Cages within the hold will have weight and height restrictions e.g. Singapore airlines have a max cage height of 0.56m on flights operated by the A330.
Pets may not be allowed to travel as freight in the hold if you are not on-board the same flight.
So you've decided to take the plunge and take your significant furry other with you on your big trip. Your holiday will certainly get off to a ‘ruff’ start should your pet get turned away at the airport. To avoid barking up the wrong tree, check in advance that your chosen airline will fly pets.
The following is a finite list of Australian serving airlines that will carry pets. Each will have a different set of guidelines and rules for pet travel so be sure to do your homework before you book.
Air New Zealand allow domestic pets, cats and dogs, (excluding any transported for profit e.g. racing greyhounds) and small caged birds to travel as checked in baggage on all domestic services within NZ. For any other type of animal visit their cargo section.
British Airways allow registered assistance dogs to travel in the cabin while all other pets must travel in the cargo hold, except OpenSkies flights between Paris and New York where cats or dogs under 6kg/13.2lb are accepted in the cabin.
Cathay Pacific will not allow pets, other than service dogs to travel within the cabin. All other Pets must travel as cargo. Breeds not allowed to travel at all include the Himalayan, Persian or Exoctic cat, or Boxer, Pug, Mastiff and more. The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has very strict regulations regarding the import/transhipment of dogs. Dogs cannot be brought into or transit through Hong Kong unless a Special Permit to do so is obtained in advance from AFCD. Additional prior approval from AFCD is also required for in-cabin transport of a Disability Assistance Dog.
Etihad like most airlines, do not allow you to travel with pets within the cabin either. Guide dogs to lead the blind are permitted however, for flights from Abu Dhabi to USA and vice versa only. Typical breed restrictions apply. They do accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. All other pets are accepted only as manifested cargo and are not permitted within the aircraft cabin or checked baggage.
Qantas also require pets to travel as freight. You can visit their Q-GO Pets website for more information. They allow Dogs (excluding racing greyhounds), cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, domestic fish (with no aeration requirements and that are not intended for resale), and domestic birds (maximum 4 birds per cage, that do not need a permit), to travel. They do not allow any animal classed as a dangerous dog (including pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosa and Brazilian Fila) on any of their aircraft. Just like us, your pet should be fit, healthy and able to cope with being confined for an extended period.
Singapore Airlines allow cats and dogs to travel on the same flight as you in the air-conditioned cargo hold underneath the passenger cabin. Carriage of pets in the aircraft cabin is not permitted, with the exception of service dogs.
Virgin Atlantic only allow pets to travel within the hold. The animal must be held in a container compliant with the airline’s guidelines. The pet can’t be a snub or pug nose breeds like Pekingese or Persians, or any dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Don't forget their Flying Paws scheme - this means your furry friends can now earn Flying Club miles!
Virgin Australia will only take pets who travel as cargo, not within the cabin. They also will only take non-aggressive, healthy animals, over 8 weeks old that follow all quarantine rules. A maximum of 2 cages per flight is permitted. Certain breeds such as Bulldogs are restricted. If travelling into Tasmania, your dog must be treated for the Hydatids Tapeworm prior to arrival. You can even earn frequent flyer points when travelling with pets with their Velocity Frequent Flyer Programme or with their partners jetpets.
Non-approved countries include:
American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, South America, Central America, Carribean, Europe, Africa, South Africa, Middle East, Canada, Asia.
For more information head to: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs/cats-dogs-returning-to-australia
So you've decided that you can't be without your four legged friend, but have you considered whether your pet insurance is valid when you're away from home on holiday?
Just like you wouldn’t confuse little Fido for a feline, you shouldn’t take your pets away without the correct cover. So will your policy cover your cat or cavoodle for an overseas trip?
Lucky for you, insurers such as 1300 insurance, Bupa, Medibank, Pet Insurance Australia, Real Insurance, Petplan,Prosure, RSCPA and Woolworths will pay for pet expenses incurred for the treatment of your pet whilst they are "overseas".
However as mentioned before, the definition of "overseas" is fairly limited. You will not be insured for any destinations where Australian quarantine regulations require your pet to be quarantined on its return. This brings the list of overseas destinations to just the Cocos Islands, New Zealand and Norfolk Island.Policy restrictions also apply:
Say your beloved Maltese terrier Chewy is stuck in a Sydney kennel whilst you are laid up in an overseas hospital. Without travel insurance the cost of Chewy’s extended stay at the kennel could cost a small fortune, depending on the length of your delay.
Lucky for you (and Chewy) a few travel insurers such as 1Cover, Virgin Money and Webjet will cover you for any additional kennel and cattery fees you incur...how’s that for convenience!?
You're typically covered for:
- A set amount (for each 24 hour period) for kennel or cattery fees if you are delayed overseas beyond your original return date.
- Any treatment your pet needs if they suffers an injury while you're away. At the time of injury your pet must be in the direct care of a relative, friend or cattery/kennel.
You wouldn't be covered for:
- Kennel or cattery fees outside of Australia.
- Any animal other than a cat or dog.
As any devoted pet owner knows, making sure your four-legged friend is well cared for while you’re on holidays is top priority. Whats the cats? Learn more about domestic travel insurance for pets here.
The last thing you want is a health scare while you are trying to enjoy your holiday. So be sure that your pets’ health and fitness is in good condition before you leave. Arrange a check-up with your veterinarian before you head off. It's also a good idea to be stocked up with necessary medications your pet needs.
Unless you can leave your pets with a friend or family member, you will need to arrange accommodation with a cattery or boarding kennel. The best boarding facilities get booked up well in advance, particularly during peak times like the Christmas or during school holidays.
If you’re leaving your pets at home for the first time, there are ways to lessen any potential separation anxiety. You may want to do a short trial run at a cattery/ kennel or at a relative's home. Just to make sure that your cat or canine is relaxed and comfortable when it's time to say bye.
Resist the urge to drag out saying goodbye. If you and the kids fawn all over your pet, hugging and kissing them they'll think you’re never coming back! Can't be without them? You could always install a doggy or kitty cam to keep check on them while you're overseas.