Pet Travel 101

Need-to-know facts on relocating your pet


As the oldest operator of its kind in the region, the Dubai Kennels and Cattery (DKC) has been tending to the UAE’s domestic animals since 1983. As well as providing a second home for dogs, cats and all manner of other furry and feathered friends while their owners are away, they also help relocate animals around the country, and are the official animal handler at Dubai International Airport for Emirates and Dnata.

Relocating your pet
Whether you’re bringing an animal into the country, or moving one out, people often underestimate both the time and processes that are involved, says Todd. So, looking at timelines is an important place to start. ‘The requirements from the exporting country are usually not such a big deal,’ he says. ‘But the requirements of the importing country are usually a lot more stringent, and you always must make sure that you’ve met all the requirements before your pet travels.’

In the UAE, while there’s no quarantine, there are still criteria that all animals need to meet before they are flown over. If your pet doesn’t meet all the requirements when it arrives, it will be confiscated until it does, or possibly sent back home.

When you’re sending your pet abroad, the ease and speed of the transfer depends on the destination. ‘In Canada and the US, for example, the requirements are sufficiently straightforward that in a real urgent rush, you can probably organize the whole process in a few days. In Australia or New Zealand, however, compulsory quarantine means that it can take up to seven months.’

The basic documentation that you’ll need will be: an import permit into the country to where you’re travelling, an export certificate, vaccination record and health certificate.

Travelling and transport
‘When it comes to actually transporting your pet by air, there are two ways to travel: either through excess (or ‘accompanied’ baggage), or by manifest cargo,’ says Todd. Because excess baggage is measured by weight as opposed to volume, it tends to work out cheaper then cargo, however many airports now stipulate that animals must travel as cargo for security reasons (including the UAE). ‘Even so, in both cases the animal will end up in exactly the same place on the plane – a temperature-controlled area of the cargo hold,’ he explains.

Family holidays
When it comes to family holidays, many people choose to board their pets at a kennels or cattery while they’re away. But how do you prepare your beloved moggy or pampered pooch for the experience? ‘This is a very big question,’ says Todd. ‘A very great many pet owners, particularly dog owners, keep them isolated from real dog experiences. Dogs are instinctively pack animals that thrive on being in a social, pack-oriented experience.’

Even so, when the animals arrive at the kennels, the staff have many different ways of dealing with the individual pet, whether they’re used to being around other animals or not. ‘For quieter, more timid dogs, we’ll handle them differently, and will keep them away from other animals unless their owners would like us to socialize them.’

For cats, who are not social in the same way as dogs, and tend to be very territorial, there’s less you can do to prepare. ‘It really comes down to the temperament of the cat, and to make sure they’re not feeling threatened.’
For more information about the DKC, including boarding fees and shipping costs to specific countries, visit

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