I am planning to return to my country. What is the process for relocating my pets?

If the time has come for you to leave Dubai, you will need to make provisions much ahead of your date of departure. Preparing your pets to travel can take up to six months.

The first thing you will need to check is if your pet is allowed to fly. Some breeds are restricted. Snub-nosed dogs, such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers, and cats, such as Persians, may not be permitted to fly on some airlines. This varies from airline to airline and weather conditions may factor, as some restrict travel only during the summer months.

Once you confirm your pet can travel, you’ll need to check what the regulations for animal travel to your chosen destination are. Your pet will need to be microchipped and have an updated complete vaccination status. Ectoparasite treatment is also recommended. Some countries may need further blood tests to detect exposure to disease prior to relocation.

Many countries still require quarantine upon arrival. Perhaps your pet will be required to stay in a facility for up to six months, which will incur additional costs. It is also important to note that not every city in your destination country will have a quarantine facility, so you will need to decide which airport to fly into.

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You will need to book a flight – even if this has been booked months in advance, you may only receive confirmation that your pet is on the same flight as you the week before. It is essential that plans are made in case your pet cannot take the flight you had originally planned for.

Before your pet can get on a flight, you will require an export certificate, which is only valid for 10 days. If the flights are changed, you will either need to select a different flight within 10 days or apply for another export certificate.

While the list above is not exhaustive, it provides you with insight into how many things need to be taken care of before you leave for the airport. If any of the required paperwork is missing or incorrect, your pet won’t be able to fly.

A special crate is required for your pet. IATA guidelines state your pet must be able to stand up, sit down, turn full circle and lie down comfortably. The crate must also be secure. If you are unsure what size crate you require, it is better to check with a professional.

Before you fly, your pets will need to have a full health check to ensure they are fit to travel. If your pet is unwell, you may need to wait until your pet has recovered before it is permitted to fly.

While you can arrange all of the paperwork yourself, the process is time-consuming and can be frustrating. Some veterinary hospitals have a team dedicated to relocations.

Dr Sara Elliott is a veterinary surgeon at the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.