Traveling with Your Pets Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Airlines and countries haven’t always made it easier for our furry friends to travel. It took us a while before we were able to find an airline that accepts our dog in the cabin. So, what happens now with Covid-19 still threatening people, businesses, and governments? It hasn’t always been clear if people can get infected by the virus via transmission from animals, but what we’re sure of is that airlines and governments are stricter now than they were before in terms of pet travel. Can you imagine them being stricter than they already were?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted that quite a number of animals can be infected with Covid-19. Domesticated house pets such as dogs and cats can get the virus from people and then spread that to other people, too. There have been reports of pets in the United States becoming sick after contact with people with Covid-19. Even tigers and lions became infected with the virus after exposure to a Covid-19-positive person.

How Does Covid-19 Affect Pet Travel?

Before governments imposed travel restrictions, pets need passports, vaccines, and their own plane tickets to go to and from other countries. Of course, it’s not that simple. Some airlines don’t allow certain pets such as snub-nosed dogs in the cargo area, and they don’t allow them in the cabin also. You’d have to find an airline that will. Still, it’s way easier to travel with your pets before. And although it is harder now, hard doesn’t mean impossible.

First, you have to check the country you’re visiting if it’s allowing pets. China, for example, allows the arrival of foreign pets but its airlines are offering only a limited number of flights for pets. In the Philippines, it is almost impossible to secure flights out with your pets. Some airlines like Lufthansa and KLM will only take pets if you will fly to larger airports.

Second, you have to think about accommodations, especially if you’re making a stopover. Singapore, for example, is a hub in Southeast Asia that connects most of the countries there to Europe. It is a usual stop for people going to Germany and the Netherlands if you’re coming from one of the Southeast Asian nations. If you’re making a stopover there for 12 hours or more, you need to find a hotel near the airport that allows pets.

Check with the airports where you’re making a stopover or layover for options for pet-friendly accommodations. In many instances, it’s harder to travel with pets when you need to make a stopover. However, if you’re staying in an airport hotel, the restrictions may be minimal.

Testing the Pets

dog at home

Can you test pets for Covid-19? Yes, certainly. Veterinarians can do this for animals with symptoms of the virus. They are not recommended for those without symptoms of a respiratory illness. However, if the airline and destination country require it, you may be able to persuade your local vets to do the test. At most, what airlines need is a certification from a licensed veterinarian that says the pets were not in contact with persons with Covid-19 on the days before the flight.

Seeking the Help of Professional Animal Movers

The good news is that there are professional animal movers that can help you with your predicament. Moving dogs in and out of a country is especially hard these days, but there are ways to do it for professional animal movers. For example, a New Yorker who was based in Shanghai when the coronavirus starts to spread decided to move back home. He was unable to find an airline that will take his big pooch but contacted an animal moving company to help him out.

The pet mover company found a flight that will take the dog on board Russia’s flagship carrier and bring it to New York. There, his owner met him in the airport, and the pooch gladly settled in the Big Apple. It’s a success story because the pet movers were creative and resourceful in finding possible ways to move the dog to New York.

That’s what you should do, too. If you have to travel with your pets for whatever reason, don’t give up finding ways to do so. Find professionals who do this for a living. They research, negotiate, and usually find a solution to your predicament. There are usually airlines willing to accommodate strange requests from their passengers. Just make sure you’re willing to pay the price, too, because airline companies are going to make you pay for every request.