So, you want to teach English abroad?
Even if the idea has only just now crossed your mind (or you’ve been dreaming of this plan for years), in all seriousness, living and teaching abroad is a wonderful, eye-opening and mind-broadening experience.
If you have pets, though, that adds a whole new level of complexity to your planning. How do you bring them? And should you bring them? After all, taking your pet abroad is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Figure out whether moving abroad with your pet is a viable option.
When making plans to teach abroad, even before you research pet entry requirements in your new country, it’s imperative that you consider every available option for your pet and carefully weigh up the pros and cons of each.
Have a long and hard think about what’s really best for them. If the move is relatively short term (a year or two at, the most), you may want to consider leaving your pet at home, in trusted hands, if possible.
Your pet’s health and well being should be considered above all else. The stress of flying can make pets ill. Conditions in the cargo hold of commercial jets are not always pet-friendly. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly, the noise can be terrifying to pets and the air pressure can drop at any time.
There are also the practicalities to consider when you do make the move. In Asia, for example, pet-friendly accommodation can be difficult to find. In the UAE, dogs are banned from public areas and confined to designated dog parks. Some countries frown (or have an outright ban) on taking animals on public transportation. And depending on where you’re moving to (and from) an extreme climate can have a negative impact on your pet’s quality of life.
Factors to consider when moving abroad with your pet.
Most countries require some sort of entry permit for pets. The application process varies substantially from country to country. You’ll want to allow plenty of lead time in advance of the big move so you can be sure you’ve covered all your bases. If in doubt, then check whether your new country’s government website has a page detailing what you need to know about moving with your pet.
Teaching in Europe with either a dog, cat or ferret, for example, is relatively straightforward. The days of drawn-out quarantines and indecipherable paperwork are long gone, thanks to something that sounds almost impossibly adorable - a pet passport! If your pet is another species, then national laws apply so you’ll need to do some more in-depth research into the pet regulations set by the country in Europe you’ll be teaching in.
In Asia, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to need your pet to be quarantined. You’ll also need to microchip and vaccinate your pet against rabies in Korea and Japan.
While some countries ban snakes and birds altogether, others go one step further and impose bans of certain breeds of dogs. Check with the country’s consulate on whether they have laws in places restricting your dog’s breed.
If you’ve decided to take your best friend with you, it’s also a good idea to research accessibility to pet services locally, like vets, animal hospitals, groomers and pet sitters. Is your pet’s food brand is readily available? Will your accommodation will come with a yard for your dog to roam in?
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Teaching overseas with your pet: A checklist of what to do.
Because there are so many details to sort out and many different things to consider as you plan your move, you will want to be fully prepared every step of the way. Check out our tips below:
Find a vet who specializes in pet relocation.
Your current vet or state/government site might be able to point you in the right direction. If you’re based in the US, you’ll need an accredited vet to fill out an international health certificate for your pet.
Get your documents in order.
Pet Relocation has advice on transporting pets to different destinations overseas. If you’re coming from the US, you’ll need to get a health certificate from the US Department of Agriculture (USA). You’ll also want to bring a hard copy of your pet’s health records, to be on the safe side.
Get your pet vaccinated and microchipped.
Microchipping your pet is always recommended anyway, but many countries also require it. In Europe, for instance, you’ll need to get your pet decked out with an ISO microchip. You’ll need to redo your pet’s rabies vaccine at a specific time before you depart.
Other immunizations you’ll need to for dogs include:
- Canine hepatitis
While cats will need the following vaccines ahead of time:
Get a travel crate.
Now’s the time to get your pet used to their travel crate. And check with the airline you’re flying with about whether to get a hard or soft-sided crate.
Confirm any airline requirements.
Every airline has their own set of policies in place when flying with pets. For instance, depending on the size of your dog and your destination, you might not be able to travel with your pet in the cabin.
And as much as we hate to break it to you, some airlines don’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping pets safe. Oh, and no matter how tempted you are to sedate your dog for the flight, it’s really not advisable. Sedation can cause breathing difficulties.
Set money aside for your pet ticket.
Yes, air travel is now available to the furry masses. And some airlines even allow dogs to travel in the cabin, rather than the cargo hold. Either way, you will have to pay, although airlines do vary in their pricing structure for pets so you’ll need to check with them directly.
If possible, try getting a direct, non-stop flight. And avoid holiday and weekend travel times like the plague. Also, have a think about the time of year you’re flying in. Is it extremely cold or hot? This can make conditions in the cargo hold harder on your pet.
All set for you and your furry friend’s adventure teaching and traveling abroad? Be sure to check out these additional resources for new expat teachers: