Q: I have been offered an overseas posting to the U.S. for two years. I am weighing the odds of whether it’ll be a good idea to bring my 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier along. Although he is generally healthy, I’m concerned whether he’ll be able to withstand the move. What should I take into consideration?

A: Although relocating to another country is exciting, understandably, you’d feel torn about your furry buddy. Since your 10-year-old furkid is still healthy and has no medical issues, bringing him along with you to the States for two years is definitely an option. However, there are some considerations to factor in before making a decision.

 Flight arrangements
When transporting a pet, always consider the flight hours and transit time.  Finding a suitable airline, a comfortable and acceptable kennel cage, and ensuring smooth transit during the journey are all important factors. You can contact pet transport companies that will take care of the paper work, the freight, the kennels, and also the airline selections, but it might cost you from $1,000 to $1,800. To save costs, some owners prefer to handle all the arrangements personally. To gain a better understanding of the various airlines’ pet flight requirements, get in touch with them to find out whether your pet will be allowed on board as “carry-on baggage”, or strictly as cargo. 

Medical check-ups before and after flight
Before deciding whether your pooch should join you on your journey, your pooch should first undergo a full physical and diagnostic examination. Your local vet shouldgive him a clean bill of health, particularly cardiovascular and respiratory health, and ensure that his blood tests, and chest and abdominal x-rays are clear. Before your dog’s flight, also find out if animal quarantine at your destination is mandatory. Some countries do not have strict regulations regarding quarantine, but animal import laws may differ from state to state, even within the same country. Ensure you confirm the duration and reservation of the quarantine facility, and understand what’s involved during the quarantine. Some quarantine facilities can be situated quite a distance from the city, so it’s better to find the nearest one to your residence beforehand.

Planning his medical care
After the required quarantine period, it is important to find an experienced vet who will be your furkid’s regular consultant. Develop a keen understanding of the climate there, common animal diseases within that state, and the type of preventive measures you need to provide for him. Of course, consider the finances of veterinary fees in the U.S. and work out a realistic budget to cater for your doggy in case of illness or injury.

Your commitment to work and living arrangements
If you are going to be living alone while in the U.S.,  think about how tight your work schedule will be, and if you’ll have enough time for your pooch. Consider whether you’ll have any friends or relatives over there to help care for your doggy when you are tied down with work commitments or travelling. Most importantly, check with your accommodation representative if pets are allowed at your appointed residence.

Coming home
As this is a two-year posting, you’ll most likely be heading back to Singapore eventually. Therefore, you also need to consider the return trip in two years, at which point, your pet will be 12 years old and his health status may have changed by then. The same considerations taken when flying him there apply on the journey back. Also, upon your dog’s return to Singapore, quarantine is required as well. This is pertinent to the wellbeing of your furkid, as some quarantine periods can be as long as one month.

Leaving your pooch behind
If after much consideration, you decide that your Jack Russell Terrier should stay behind, don’t think of it as abandoning him. If the journey proves too stressful for him, you might in fact be doing him a favour by leaving him in Singapore. However, before you go, do make plans for a trustworthy family member, relative or friend to take care of him. Give clear instructions on his dietary needs and care routine, and ensure that you get constant updates. With apps like Skype, FaceTime and Whatspp, staying connected with your furkid should be a breeze. Also make contingency plans—financial or otherwise—for his medical care should he fall ill.

You will definitely miss your little pal and he will miss you too, but two years will pass by in a flash and it won’t be long before you’re headed back home to be with him. 


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