So you have decided to export a dog from Thailand? Take your hound with you to your home country. That’s awesome and I’m really happy that you have decided to do that. But I must warn you, it takes time, some money and sometimes your peace of mind, haha. Don’t get me wrong. It’s very much possible but it does take some effort. If you need some general tips on pet travel in Thailand, check out this post.
I’ve come back to Finland now twice with my dog so I know the process already. These guidelines apply to Finland and EU especially. For the UK, the process is a bit different and more costly. Oh, and if you want to know how a couple exported their dogs from the States to Europe, have a look at this post.
You need to buy a crate that is IATA approved. For example, cages are no longer acceptable. The crate must also be big enough for the dog to stand and turn around. Useful information given by IATA is here. In addition, make sure your pet gets used to it before the travel date.
You could also buy a special rug that absorbs moisture in case your pet can’t hold it. I’ve had a normal rug from the ubiquitous 20 baht shop in Thailand. The rules tens to vary, whether or not to give food to the animal. I think EU countries don’t recommend/allow it. I don’t give Chase any. He has only got that automatic drinking dispenser in the crate (the dog needs to have water during the flight).
I would suggest you contact your home country’s health authorities well in advance to hear about the requirements and to hear if there is anything else to know (eg. if a rabies outbreak is near your location it might affect the process). I’ve sent them emails on both occasions and they listed me the requirements and I was able to ask them advice.
The Finnish requirements are listed here. EU has also their own internet page listing the requirements and it can be found here. I would suggest having a good read through it. Usually, they also want an email explaining who is flying (your details), is a dog/cat etc, from where and when.
Your pooch needs to be microchipped before its first rabies shot. After 30 days from that, a blood sample is taken which will be sent to an EU approved laboratory (in the EU) to make sure the pet is rabies-free. The results take 30 days plus you need to count extra days for the postal process.
When the hopefully “all good to go” test result comes back, there is still a 3-month waiting period before the dog can fly. If the rabies test is done once and the pet gets rabies boosters accordingly, you don’t need to redo the rabies antibody titre test again and the animal doesn’t need to undergo the waiting period.
A few days before you fly out, you need to give tablets against tapeworm also (Finland requires this). Needless to say, your 4-legged friend should also have the normal vaccinations (for Thailand and the destination country), de-worm and tick&flea treatment.
If you have a puppy, things are a bit different. I haven’t got experience on that so I will just leave it.
For the US, no rabies antibody test is required. More information about the process in the States here.
At the Quarantine Office, the Thai vets give you a health certificate (for the airline to state that your pet is fit for travel) and the export license.
Contact the airline
If your pet is less than 8 kilos, it can fly with you inside the plane. Unfortunately, my Chase is well past that. Some airlines don’t carry pets at all, eg. Quatar. Some are more expensive (eg. my home country’s Finnair charges 300 euros for the pet in the cargo but then again, it’s a direct flight). Aeroflot represents good value for money (75 euros) and I have read that they look after the pets at the airport cargo good as well. I was considering Turkish Airlines once but read somewhere that they don’t necessarily care about the animal’s well-being that much at the airport.
There is also a maximum amount of pets that they can have in the cargo simultaneously so try to book your place well in advance to avoid any disappointment.
Bear in mind that many airlines nowadays have limitations which breeds they carry. Often you see that brachycephalic dog breeds, eg. Bulldog (English, French, American), Pug, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Boxer, Griffon (Belgian, Brussels), Boston Terrier and Bordeaux Mastiff are not allowed.
What could go wrong?
Chase is my Thai mix dog, the most lovable little stumpy legs that I “inherited” from my ex-boyfriend. When I decided to visit Finland again, it was self-evident that he would be traveling with me. There really wasn’t a lot of extra time in hands because I needed to be at work back in Helsinki. I was really stressed out. My vet convinced me that we should have just enough time, though.
I got Chase’s papers back in the last minute and emailed them back home. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a reply until I was on the ferry already. The vet said one paper wasn’t done accordingly (even though I had specifically asked the vet to use the EU modeled health certificate) and my dog couldn’t enter Finland with these papers. I was so worried and annoyed. She suggested that I would find a vet in Bangkok to get everything done. There was nothing else to be done so I accepted this.
In Bangkok, we went to the Quarantine Station and the vet confirmed that these papers won’t do. She gave me an address of a vet and I needed to once again try to find a taxi with ALL my stuff. A real pain in the ass. The taxi drivers know that you have no other choice and love to set the price accordingly. Anyway, we got this one piece of paper done, got back, only to realise that the vet had forgotten to give my passport back. Off we go, get a taxi, come back and continue the process. Imagine the amount of sweat and swear words that I was producing… Luckily, the vet is only about 10 minutes away.
I can’t remember exactly what happened but I think they said to me that everything is finally ok but that they will bring the papers to the check-in desk in the morning. I was not happy about this but I had no other choice. From then on, everything went perfectly. No, just kidding. Of course, it didn’t.
There were no papers at the check-in desk in the morning. We waited. I called the Quarantine office (no answer). Check-in was closing and I was losing my nerves and on the brink of starting to cry my eyes out. The check-in staff wasn’t helpful at all but then I contacted the information/help desk. They made some calls and soon, in the nearly very last minute, someone came with the required documents.
So you see, this was my first experience with the export process. Everything that could go wrong, did exactly that. This is why I wasn’t super excited having to do it again. I comforted myself that at least now I know the process and it couldn’t go any worse. Well… almost.
Is situated at the Freezone area so it is not exactly the same place where you enter Suvarnabhumi when you are flying in and out. Taxi drivers might have difficulties finding the place so I would suggest using a Grab taxi which uses GPS and/or your own GPS. Makes it easier if you can help your taxi driver.
When you make it there, this is what you see when you drive into the parking lot. This building is on the left (once inside, walk left a few metres):
It’s open from Monday-Friday 8.30-16.30. They close for lunch hour 12-1pm so I would suggest coming either early in the morning or after the lunch hour. There are no restaurants nearby so bring some snacks and water with you in case it isn’t going to be “in and out”. Also might be worth getting a bowl for your pet. Furthermore, your flight details are needed as well as your passport (and your pet’s documents obviously).
Ideally, the vet check should be done 2-3 days before flying. Or 1 day is probably enough if you have a night flight the following day. If you arrive after lunch hour and are flying early in the morning, I would say you might be risking it a bit.
When you arrive, they check your papers and you need to fill out the export license paper. They give you a waiting number for the vet check which is actually a very short procedure: they check the mouth, ears, eyes and take the temperature. A photo is also taken with you and your pet. That’s pretty much it. After the vet check, you go wait on the other side. When your number is called, you pay for the license (a few hundred baht) and receive the documents. Now you are ready to fly.
This time the staff filled up the EU modeled exportation paper which is quite a complicated looking paper and I’m sure this is done to make it easier for the local vets.
Location: Gate 1, 1st Building
Tel. 02- 134063-6
Fax: 021 340 637
E-mail: [email protected]
Pheeew! Now when that’s out of the way, everything should go just fine. It’s good to be at the airport about 3 hours before the flight. It takes maybe 20, max 30 minutes extra to get the pet checked in. I’ve found the staff super helpful and they guide you through the whole way.
If you can’t do it on your own
Contact your local animal shelter or association for pet adoption. They usually know the process in and out and have connections in case you need someone to handle/look after your pet if you need to fly back home earlier. Some countries, such as South Africa and the UK require that a specific pet-relocation company is used and, hence, you can’t do the process on your own.
Okay, I think it’s a wrap! I’m hoping this post would be useful if you are planning on exporting your pet out of Thailand. It’s a bit tricky and time-consuming but also doable. Good luck and let me know how it went!
PS Your dog will most likely love the cold/cooler weather. Chase is crazy about snow (unlike his owner)!
If you need some advice on where to stay the night in Bangkok, this blog post about the best pet-friendly hotels in Bangkok might be useful.
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