National Pet Day

National Pet Day

We take a look at pet ownership around the world and how Brexit might impact our furred and feathered friends when moving abroad

Nations of pet lovers

Over half of the households in the world have a pet living with them. New Zealand are a nation of animal lovers, with 68% of households owning a pet so if you’re moving abroad, you will find a warm welcome there for your best friend. Other countries with a high percentage of pet owners includes Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the USA. People are least likely to own a pet in Asian countries. However, pet fish are very popular in China. Globally, fish and birds come in second and third in popularity, while dogs take the top spot.

Dogs vs. cats across the world

Different countries have different preferences when it comes to pets. In Romania, the preference between cats and dogs are evenly balanced but elsewhere there are differences. In Switzerland, the dog population is shrinking but in India, it is rapidly growing. If you think your dog deserves a life of luxury, then Norway might be a good place to move; Norwegians spend the most money on feeding their dogs in any country in the world. Places where cats are most popular include France and the USA but culture varies across the world. For example, in Australia, most cats are indoor cats, but most cat owners in the UK let their cats roam. 

Taking your pet abroad

Most pet owners feel like their pets are a member of the family, so it’s natural that they would want them to come along if they go on holiday or start a new adventure living in another country. Fish are the most popular pet in the UK, but there are significant numbers of dog and cat owners as well as other animals including rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and hamsters.

Will Brexit impact the ability for pets to travel in the EU?

Currently, dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their owners under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. While there are no signs that pets will no longer be able to travel at all, there are likely to additional requirements, including increase paperwork and health checks. Pets are divided into three categories. Pets from member states or EEA countries such as Switzerland and Norway must have a valid EU passport. These pets must be microchipped and have a valid rabies vaccination to be issued a pet passport. The second category includes listed countries where there is little incidence of rabies and effective systems for managing them, such as the USA. The third category is for countries that have higher incidence of rabies or no reports on how it is monitored and managed. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal then there is a chance the UK will fall into the third category and the British Veterinary Association warned that it could take up to four months to prepare for travel.

What is the process for emigrating with a pet?

Pet passports are used for holidays, but when emigrating there are additional requirements. You can find more information on the DEFRA website; you’ll need the correct vaccinations for your pet, the correct paperwork and your pet must travel on an approved airline in addition to an up-to-date pet passport. Don’t forget that your pet cannot travel in the cabin with you, so you will need to make sure that you have reserved cargo space and organised an approved pet carrier. Once you’ve arrived, the rules vary depending on the country. The rules across the EU, North and South America are quite similar but check the details; some countries require additional import and export paperwork and some breeds of dog are banned in certain countries. As a news story from 2017 showed when Hollywood star Johnny Depp fell afoul of the Australian rules regarding bringing pets into the country, there are stricter rules down under including a 30-day quarantine period for dogs and cats. There may be extra paperwork and a quarantine period, but for many, that’s a price worth paying to make sure their beloved pet joins the rest of the family abroad.

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