Travelling with your pet from South Africa to Nigeria can be quite stressful, especially when you don’t know how to go about it.
This article will primarily focus on generic tips for travelling with a dog internationally from South Africa, but it will use Nigeria as an example. I have listed a few points to make your travel experience with your FURiend a breeze. Here they are:
1. Planning: Preparation is key
Not all dogs can bear travelling; therefore, creating a small detailed plan when exporting pets from South Africa is crucial. Your plan must include the following: health checks and health certificates from your veterinary doctor; accommodation, food, and transportation of your dog at your destination; airline policies; destination country regulations regarding your dog; preflight plans and what to do when you arrive at your destination.
2. Health check-ups & health certificates
Before you decide on exporting your pets from south Africa, consider getting your dog checked by your private veterinary doctor. Your veterinary doctor will be able to determine whether your dog is fit to travel. The vet doctor will check for injuries, sickness and temperament. It is also a good time to get the health certificates sorted out. In South Africa, the regulations are: before a dog travels outside the borders, it must have a valid rabies vaccination certificate issued 30 days before the date of travel. Besides, all dogs travelling abroad are expected to have microchips for identification purposes. The microchip must contain the dog’s name, breed, sex, colour and microchip number. It is also a must for all dogs entering Nigeria to have a microchip implanted in them. Try to get a dog tag that also contains the dog’s name and accurate contact information. Also, take a photo of your dog in case it gets lost.
3. Airline Policies
Some airlines have pet-friendly policies; some don’t. So, it is important to investigate which airlines will have friendly policies for your dog. There is a lot to think about before choosing the right airline as policies differ according to the breed of the dog, temperament, and size. Find out the airline requirements regarding carriage as well. Then decide whether to your dog will travel in the cabin or cargo (remember this depends on your dog size and airline policies). Expect to pay extra. It is a good idea to choose a direct flight, subjecting your dog to a lot of handling processes can be quite traumatizing for your dog. Also, ensure your dog is more than 8 weeks old before you fly.
4. Destination Accommodation, Food and Transport
During the planning process, look at the accommodation, food and transport you will use to get to your destination. Decide whether you will stay with friends and family or you will stay at a hotel or guest lodge. When deciding to stay with family or friends, ask them if your dog is welcome and where it will stay. If you decide to stay at a hotel or guest lodge, check if they have accommodation facilities for the dog and if the place is pet friendly. Buy a portable kennel just in case. When planning for transport services at your destination, check if the car rental company, e- hailing car services like Uber or taxis accommodate dogs. Don’t forget! The type of food your dog will eat is an important factor. Always buy enough dog food that is sufficient for your stay during your travel. Never take it for granted that the meals your dog takes are available everywhere.
5. Destination country regulations
Investigate the pet restrictions and requirements of the country you intend to travel to. The best thing is to gather enough information by contacting your embassy or consulate in that country. Check for regulations regarding dog quarantine periods, permits and required tests. Also, consult your veterinary doctor to assist with medical issues. Ensure all the paperwork is done before you book your ticket. Check out some of the regulations on bringfido.com. The site offers extensive insight into other countries.
6. Ticket booking times
Once your preliminary plans are carried out, it’s time to book the ticket! At this stage, there are a few things to think about. It is advisable to book your flight ticket during warm weather. During hot seasons, try to travel early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are more relaxed. Suppose the weather is cold try to travel when it is warm during the day. Book your seat in front, preferably near the exit door, so that as soon as the plane lands, you can quickly leave and attend to your dog. Reconfirm flight arrangements the day before to avoid unexpected flight changes.
7. On the day of departure
Feed your dog lightly at least several hours before departure. Ed Hewitt says on his blog at smartertravel.com that dogs can last up to 10 hours without feeding. Please arrive at the airport early, exercise your dog by walking it, allow it to relive itself in the process and try to delay checking in. Comfort your dog as much as possible. Remember to carry the standard international AITA accredited air travel container.
8. On the day of arrival
When you arrive at the destination, the first thing to do is collect your dog and luggage and take it outside as quickly as possible. Perform a health check by checking your dog’s appetite and energy. Check for possible changes in behaviour. Consult a veterinary doctor for drastic behavioural changes.
Conclusion on travelling with pets from South Africa
In a nutshell, before you decide to travel internationally with your dog from South Africa, you must plan your journey. Contact your veterinary doctor for health certificates and health checks. Find out airline policies regarding pets. Investigate the type of accommodation and transport you will use. Always buy enough food in advance. Investigate the pet travel restrictions and requirements at your destination. Lastly, make sure your dog is comfortable as much as possible on the day you depart, as well as on the day you arrive at your destination. I hope you and your pet have a safe and pleasant flight out of South Africa. And please share your experience if this post has been helpful to you. If you require pet travel support, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, non-obligatory quote.