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Old 18th April 2018, 08:48   #1
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Default Transporting Pets within India or internationally

Anyone who has a pet always understands the consequences of shifting causing problems for their 4 legged family members. Even moving within the city can be quite an exercise, but the issues escalate to a different level when one has to move across cities and countries. Fortunately, there are quite a few options in today's world and there are even consultancy organizations ready to support and help you for a fee.

This thread is to provide a fair level of information basis experiences of my family and yours' truly while moving our pets across cities and at times across continents.

Within India, we have several tried and tested options that work pretty well. With due planning and efforts, this is pretty much a simple affair; even if you are traveling from one end to the other end of the country. In terms of my preferences, the order is as below
1. Traveling by road in your personal vehicle (most suitable)
2. Traveling by flights
3. Traveling by trains

Traveling overseas is a different ball game entirely, whether you are moving out of India or moving back to India. You need to understand and work with the health and security regulations of India and the other country; each nation has varying set of conditions that some times might require a lot of efforts. In fact, there are several support organizations who are doing a roaring business while exclusively providing this service at a premium price point (20k INR upwards per pet).

Last edited by ninjatalli : 18th June 2019 at 22:08.
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Old 18th June 2019, 21:38   #2
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Default Traveling via domestic flights

Traveling via Domestic Flights

Taking pets on domestic flights is one of the easiest and quickest options. However a good % of airlines do not offer this facility, primarily (IMO) because of the lower revenue coming out it vs the additional effort required to setup such a practice (staff training, procedures, equipment, liability etc). Pets can be carried in two manners - in the cabin or in the hold. International airlines generally allow one small sized pet per person with other scenarios taken care by carrying the pets in the temperature controlled hold.

While this is a very flexible and short time-based option (vs trains or roads), I'd recommend flights only for carrying a single cat. While both options are theoretically a safe bet, but on a personal choice, I'd opt for longer road/train routes for dogs; it's a much more enjoyable and manageable option with them. Cats hate any travel so a shorter trip makes more sense.

The domestic airlines that allow pets on the flights is a very short list
- Air India

Jet used to allow pets conditionally, while Spicejet allows support dogs on Boeing B737-800 and 900 series. The rest of the airlines do not allow any pets on their flights, and I doubt that's going to change in the coming years. Air India requires you to inform much in advance about the pet you are going to carry. And while the website says they allow "small, inoffensive pets", the policy is very loosely based stating it could be either in the cabin or in the hold depending on the size of the pet+kennel; and the final say is with the commander of the flight. A health and rabies vaccination certificate is mandatory and a proper kennel is required too.

There are other requirements - dogs must be muzzled & leashed, moisture absorbent mat in the kennel and so on; but most personnel at the airports are not very trained on this matter, so it'll be a remote chance at most that all these checks will be done. There is a minor additional charge in-line with the extra baggage charges.

Personal Experience(s)
I have had the experience of traveling with my cat from Mumbai to Chennai via Air India, this was nearly 5 years ago. Back then, the pet policy page was just a small paragraph, so I booked the flight via call making sure to mention the cat and reconfirmed later with the corporate office at Pune about the policy.

Transporting Pets within India or internationally-billa.jpg

I landed up several hours in advance with all the required documents and a proper kennel for my cat and true to their policy, the check-in team made me wait while a call was put to the flight commander. Thankfully the approval came back quickly and I was allowed to carry my cat with me in the cabin. It helped that my cat was soberly sitting inside his kennel without a sound during the check-in.

Being the first time, I had also requested a sleeping (edible) sedative for my cat from my vet; however, he was more or less quiet throughout the 2 hour journey. The only person who wasn't quiet was the kiddo in the row before me who could not believe there was a cat in the next row and had to keep looking back every few minutes.

This was a perfect trip in all manners, and especially for my cat who did not feel much tension at all. During the flight when he would start moving and mewing, I would just sneak my hand into his kennel and pet him; and that would do the job and calm him. And he was up and being his usual self the next day itself.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 30th June 2019 at 11:25.
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Old 18th June 2019, 21:40   #3
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Default Traveling via roads (personal vehicle)

Traveling via Roads (Personal Vehicle)

Roads are the most flexible option for carrying pets and the most widely used alternative. If you are a member of any pet adoption group, you'll see posts/requests for pets to be couriered from one city to another. Roads are a perfect option for couriering dog(s), and one can choose to plan their itinerary as their situation demands. There are several hotels and boardings that allow pets and one can even avail drivers for long trips. On a general basis, dogs love traveling, so if you can figure out sufficient halts for short walks and/or pee/loo breaks, you should be more or less set for the trip.

Carrying cats on the road is a different matter entirely. The general mantra is short and sweet. Cats are highly territorial and hate moving out of their comfort area. Also, most cats hate traveling, and the resulting effect is very visible in their stress levels and attitude. For their benefit, it's always best to get over the trip in the shortest time possible. So if you had in mind overnight halts and in-between stopovers, I'd recommend minimizing it as much as possible. The cats might actually temporarily show relief and settle down during the break that you give them, but do remember they have to endure another trip the next day and that can stress them even more.

Cats hardly eat on such trips and might choose to ignore loo breaks entirely. An ideal situation would be to keep them locked in their kennels with water and bit of dry food. If you have two cats that are very comfortable with each other (say from the same litter), then you can keep them together in the same kennel. An absorbable mat in the kennel would also help.


Personal Experience(s)
1. My parents moving with our dog from Vadodara to Chennai
My parents got a driver and planned a 2.5 day leisurely drive with multiple planned and unplanned halts spread over the entire journey. While the initial part was very exciting for our dog, soon he settled down through the rest of the journey, while enjoying the breaks to do the necessary jobs when required. The dog thoroughly enjoyed the trip with possibly minimal stress/tension through the journey.

2. Moving with my cats from NC to NY (US)
This was an ~10 hour drive mostly on 6/8 lane interstate highways for two young ~1 year old cats that had never been outside the comfort of their home. Within the first few hours of driving, my car was a cacophony of wailing cats and rock music, so I improvised mid-way, stopping at a rest over and allowing them outside the kennels but within the car for a short duration. The short stop helped calm down the situation and we were soon back on the road reaching New Jersey by early night and settling in the hotel room. The cats took about a day to get over their stress levels and back to their normal selves.

3. Moving with my cats from Mumbai to Chennai
A detailed post on the 22 hours non-stop ride at my ownership thread . This was probably the most stressful trip for both my cats and it took them a few days to get used to the new place and start trusting to the new lives.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 30th June 2019 at 11:25.
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Old 18th June 2019, 21:57   #4
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Default Traveling via Indian Railways

Traveling via Indian Railways

Indian Railways is one of the best transport to carry your pets to longer distance. It is safe, affordable, has easy laws and allows small, big, all kinds of animals.

There are two ways to take your pet(s) with you in a train:
Option A: In the luggage compartment inside a cage
Option B: Along with you inside the AC 1st class cabin*

Taking an animal in the luggage compartment is always a bit risky. It is a small cage where your pet won't be able to move properly or be able to sleep. There won't be space to even pee or poo. Also, you will have to go from your compartment to give food and water to your pet and its the last compartment of the train and you will have to cover a lot of distance and you will have to prepare in advance for the stations where you can go and feed. Your pet might get health issues traveling in that cage, it's always safer to keep the pet along with you.

Booking a 1st class cabin: You cannot take your pets inside a regular sleeper or even 2nd or 3rd class compartment. The only way to take the pet is by booking a 1st class AC coupe or cabin. A coupe is a two-passenger room and a cabin is a 4 passenger room. In case you have more than one pet with you, it's always better to book a cabin. You will need to book the entire cabin, ie. 4 seats or if its a coupe, 2 seats. While booking online in IRCTC app also you have the option to select coupe or cabin after you select 1st class AC preference.

It would be best if you select a station from where the train is starting so that it is easier for you to get into the train without much rush and also if your destination is the last stop of the train but even otherwise it is possible.

Remember to have your pets vaccinated before the travel. Get a letter from the veterinarian saying that the pets are fit for travel by train and their signature and seal on it. Also, keep copies of the vaccination records.

You will know if a coupe or cabin is allotted only on the day of the travel and in case you don't get it then again, you will have to keep the pets inside the luggage compartment. So the best way is to write a letter either by email or post to the Chief Booking Officer of that particular railway station, quoting your PNR number of reservation and requesting that a coupe or cabin is allocated to you since you are traveling with pets and you want to keep them with you.

On the day of the travel, arrive at least 2-3 hours early before your train time and go to the parcel office of the railway station. Submit the vaccination record as well as the letter from the veterinarian there and get travel slips from there for each animal as per their weight. Find out the coach position of the AC 1st class compartment of your train and wait there so that you will not have trouble getting into the compartment when the train arrives.

Always remember to take less luggage with you when traveling with animals so that it is easier for you to manage or else arrange for a coolie to handle the luggage while you can be with the pets. Keep the dogs on a good leash (/cats in their carrier) and hold on to them so that they won't feel scared with all the noise and rush of the railway station.

- Keep lots of old newspapers with you so that you can put it on the floor of the coupe or cabin for your pets to do poo and pee
- It is not much safe to take the dogs out during stops as getting in and out from the train can be difficult and dangerous
- Dog diapers are also available in pet stores and can be used during journeys
- Also, it will be vital to carry an air freshener to use in the compartment so that other cabin and coupe passengers do not complain of any smell from your side
- Keep bowls with you and give the pets lots of water during the journey. It's better not to feed them too much but in case it's a long journey that takes more than 1 day by train then keep dry or wet packaged food ready with you to feed them
- Check with your vet on any sleep medication that can be administered as an option in case your pet(s) become vocal when in unfamiliar areas

Keeping your pet comfortable is the most important factor and an AC 1st class journey is one of the best experiences ever for them.

Source: @celebratinganimals (Facebook), other articles
* - There is a clause in Railways T&C stating that concurrence of fellow passengers is required, and any objections could cause the dog moved to luggage/guard's van

Personal Experience(s)
None; but I know about relatives who have used this service for small dogs.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 30th June 2019 at 11:25.
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Old 1st July 2019, 10:01   #5
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Default Moving Pets from overseas to India

Moving Pets from overseas to India

Moving pets from one country to another is no easy task; with approvals and clearance required from both originating country and destination country. And every country has a rigid process and list of documents and approvals required that does change on a time to time basis. And that includes India as well, with its own quirks and requirements.

Three core aspects:
a) Quarantine requirements from the source country
b) Flight requirements
c) Quarantine requirements from the destination country (India)

Every country requirements will primarily consist of key aspects; your pet needs to be microchipped, recent vaccinations (specifically highlighting rabies vaccine), a 30-day/recent health certificate from a vet, and an endorsement of health certificate (/NOC) from the Department of Agriculture/Animal Health Inspection. There would be additional documentation in addition to the above depending on the country's rules and regulations. If you are bringing your pet from a developed nation, head to a popular/nearby vet, and they will be able to tell you what is the process, required documentation and timelines.

Most international airlines allow pets (in the cabin or via the hold), however, the feedback of many airlines is not very good with several complaints on handling the pets, mismanagement during stop-overs, and unfortunately in a few occurrences, even death of the pet(s). On the other hand, Lufthansa is considered the airline to pick if you are carrying your pet with you. If not Lufthansa, other European airlines are also considered a decent choice. The airlines would require prior intimation of the pets being carried with a form to be filled in via email along with any other documentation if requested (vaccination records, health records, NOC). Give yourself at least an hour extra for the pets at check-in to ensure no last-minute delays. The pets would have to be carried in industry-approved pet carriers with water and food, a moisture absorbing mat and clear identification (basic) details stuck to the carrier. Many airlines allow one small pet/cat per person in the cabin, while 2 or more pets (and larger pets) go into the temperature controlled hold. It is advised to push the airline ground personnel to confirm the pet(s) are in good condition during the stopover. Some airlines like Lufthansa (at specific airport hubs) offer free grooming/cleaning services if the stopover time is more than 2 hours.

At arrival in India, the documents would be checked again with a focus on the local clearance/NOC and the import permit which is the most crucial document. Customs (or a Quarantine Officer) will also have to give clearance with respect to the same and would ask for the NOC, health certificate in addition to the import permit. Obtaining the latter requires a request letter for prior approval from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade; in addition to the flight tickets and travel itinerary. Also, there would be other rules applicable (min of 2-year stay overseas, only two pets per person, etc). While the list of documentation is pretty straightforward, someone (on your behalf) will have to run around in India getting the necessary approvals and this might take a few iterations. And there come in 3rd party organizations who offer a complete end-to-end "consultancy" services, at a premium cost.

In addition to this, once you have the pets in India, the government quarantine rules require a health certificate for every pet from overseas to be submitted around the 1-year mark post entry. Although this is something that is not possible for them to check, however, if you plan on taking the pet again overseas, they would catch you at that point. Not sure how successful that has been so far.

Personal Experience(s)
I have had the 'luxury' of getting my cats from New York to Mumbai via Lufthansa with a halt at Frankfurt. While I had sufficient documentation on what was to be done from the US side as well as from the airline perspective, the problem area was getting the required documentation from India; for which I did not want to get my parents running around. Inquiring around, I spoke to a cousin who went through this process a few years ago and back then when they tried to source the documents on their own, apparently they faced a lot of problems and advised me to go for a 3rd party service.

And so I did, paying a handsome sum of 22k per pet from a pan-India agency (there are many; a simple google search will provide you with options and reviews/references). For the money paid, the service is generally very good and so was my case in getting the necessary approvals in India.

My cats were already micro-chipped and timely vaccinated, so I located a nearby vet who offered the health certificates for a minor fee. The endorsement certificate required a trip to Albany (capital) with a minor fee paid to the government and soon we were good to go, at least from the US side.

Took up a Lufthansa flight with a ~2 hour halt at Frankfurt, and the check-in process went seamless. I was informed there were total 3 cats on my flight; and while my cats had to go to the hold, the lucky 3rd fellow was traveling in the cabin. Co-incidently her owner had a seat just on the previous row and throughout the flight, I could see the little fellow popping his head out of his carrier, curious as ever.

On landing at Mumbai, the consultancy org had sent a guy to help in the customs/clearance process; and we were out after a quick check of the documents and certificates. I was again informed about the health check within the next one year period. The cats took a few days, but finally they were happy to be back on the ground!

Last edited by ninjatalli : 1st July 2019 at 13:50.
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Old 2nd July 2019, 07:40   #6
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Default re: Transporting Pets within India or internationally

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd July 2019, 10:49   #7
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Default Re: Traveling via Indian Railways

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Traveling via Indian Railways

Indian Railways is one of the best transport to carry your pets to longer distance. It is safe, affordable, has easy laws and allows small, big, all kinds of animals.
A very detailed post on how to travel with your pet via train. We once travelled with our dog from Ahmedabad to Bangalore and back. I have shared my detailed experience on the pets thread.

One thing I would like to mention. Rather than writing a letter or email requesting for a coupe, it would be better to directly go to the DRM's office and hand over the letter to the Chief Commercial Manager.

I did this in Ahmedabad and inspite of the request we were alloted a cabin instead of the coupe. Luckily the TTE gave us the coupe since the train was not running full.

Another thing that i learned was that one needs to letter from the veterinarian to book/ pay the luggage fees. While travelling to Bangalore I was not issued a luggage receipt as I did not have the letter from the veterinarian and since there was no time we decided to board the train without the receipt. Luckily no one asked for the same and the journey was uneventful.

Not to mention my Beagle enjoyed every minute of her train journey and there were no such issues as i thought.

Have experienced travel by train as well as road where your pet is right next to you but not sure how comfortable I would be to take the dog via air since they need to go in the luggage compartment.

This thread would be really helpful for people who like to travel with their pet.

Thanks.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 2nd July 2019 at 10:51. Reason: Trimming quoted post. Please avoid quoting a large post as it inconveniences small screen users. Thanks.
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Old 2nd July 2019, 11:13   #8
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Default Re: Transporting Pets within India or internationally

Thank you for this informative post. I've always wondered how committed owners transported their pets around, other than the occasional trip to the vet in their cars. It's always interesting to read a first-hand perspective.
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Old 2nd July 2019, 12:20   #9
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Default Re: Traveling via Indian Railways

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Originally Posted by jailbird_fynix View Post
Thank you for this informative post. I've always wondered how committed owners transported their pets around, other than the occasional trip to the vet in their cars. It's always interesting to read a first-hand perspective.
Thanks! A decade back when my parents had to plan for traveling with the dog, there wasn't much information available (for instance about train travel). This thread's an attempt to help on the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aditya.86 View Post
A very detailed post on how to travel with your pet via train. We once travelled with our dog from Ahmedabad to Bangalore and back. I have shared my detailed experience on the pets thread.
Thanks Aditya for the additional information. I remember reading your post a year back; tagging the detailed post here for others to reference.



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Originally Posted by aditya.86 View Post
Have experienced travel by train as well as road where your pet is right next to you but not sure how comfortable I would be to take the dog via air since they need to go in the luggage compartment.
Agree 100%. For domestic flights - if one has time, I'd recommend road or train any day over the cabin based option via a flight. Plus the joy the dogs get out of such travel is worth the additional time and efforts required. I just wish my cats realized that
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Old 2nd July 2019, 15:27   #10
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Default Re: Traveling via Indian Railways

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Agree 100%. For domestic flights - if one has time, I'd recommend road or train any day over the cabin based option via a flight. Plus the joy the dogs get out of such travel is worth the additional time and efforts required. I just wish my cats realized that
Unfortunately, my dog does not like travelling by road. Though at times we have no option. She gets car sick immediately with symptoms like drooling, throwing up and getting restless. Have to prepare her for a drive in advance by not feeding her prior to the journey and medication.

By any chance you know of a possible cure for it?
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Old 2nd July 2019, 16:44   #11
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By any chance you know of a possible cure for it?
Trial and error, I believe. Our current dog loves to get into the car but starts trembling at 70+ speeds and even pees if prolonged at higher speeds. Trying repeated short distances with increasing time and speed to get him over his fears. Long process, no visibility on end point.
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Old 2nd July 2019, 18:39   #12
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Default Re: Traveling via Indian Railways

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Originally Posted by aditya.86 View Post
Unfortunately, my dog does not like travelling by road. Though at times we have no option. She gets car sick immediately with symptoms like drooling, throwing up and getting restless. Have to prepare her for a drive in advance by not feeding her prior to the journey and medication.

By any chance you know of a possible cure for it?
My oldest and youngest dogs get car sick, but we've managed to find a fix for it. If you're going on a long road trip, avoid feeding your dog solids for 8 hours before the trip starts. An hour before you start, give him/her a Perinorm or Avomine (might need to reduce the dose to half a tab depending on the weight of the dog. Mine are all 20kg and above). Keep him/her hydrated during the trip with lots of water, and take frequent potty/sniff breaks. We've found that 7-up helps their stomachs settle, and they love the taste too!
I hope you get to take your dog on lots of fun road trips
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Old 3rd July 2019, 09:21   #13
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My oldest and youngest dogs get car sick, but we've managed to find a fix for it. If you're going on a long road trip, avoid feeding your dog solids for 8 hours before the trip starts. An hour before you start, give him/her a Perinorm or Avomine (might need to reduce the dose to half a tab depending on the weight of the dog. Mine are all 20kg and above). Keep him/her hydrated during the trip with lots of water, and take frequent potty/sniff breaks. We've found that 7-up helps their stomachs settle, and they love the taste too!
I hope you get to take your dog on lots of fun road trips
Will definitely try what you have mentioned. It would definitely be fun if the pet can also enjoy road trips like us humans.
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Old 4th July 2019, 02:30   #14
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Default Re: Transporting Pets within India or internationally

For transporting cats in a car, I have found that it is much better to let them loose inside. They will then find a spot and make themselves comfortable. Keeping them in cage leads to constant complaints!
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Old 4th July 2019, 16:11   #15
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Default Re: Transporting Pets within India or internationally

Thank you for such an informative post ninjatalli. I have had my share of transporting our dogs by road. The first time our GSD came by a lorry from Ooty to Madras and I sat in the front cabin of the lorry. Every few hours I would climb to the back of the lorry to pacify and reassure the pet. The pet was inside a makeshift cage and there was a tarpaulin cover to protect the household items carted along with the cage. It was a nightmare for me and I would imagine that it must have been for the animal as well.


These days we travel with our pet in our car. Problem is the presence of a large pet slows down your driving considerably. Last time it took about 4.5 hours for a journey which should have taken barely 1.5 hours. They quickly get car` sick if you travel at anything more than 60 kmph. And you have to slow down for every turn. And give a break every 300 km in a day.

Experience has taught me the following:
1. Fashion a body harness that will comfortably restrain the dog inside. The ones I saw in Amazon are a joke.
2. I must make a movable wheeled cage with nylon netting. It must have metal/wood skeletons which can be dismantled and stowed away when not in use. It must have eyelets to chain the cage when in land. This cage will help the pet to keep from mischief when we take a short ride away from him.

Last edited by Prowler : 4th July 2019 at 16:12.
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