Moving abroad with your dog is a big decision for several reasons. For some, the need to move abroad is exactly that, a need, not a choice. For others it's a lifestyle choice. For many, the whole idea of moving abroad is dedicated by domestic responsibilities such as dogs, family and work. In this guide we'll go through the practicalities and considerations you'll need to factor if you're in the thinking or planning stages of moving to another country with your canine family members.
Not too long ago a London man was issued with a fixed penalty fine for illegally parking his car. The man in question became annoyed by this. So he emigrated. He had had enough of England, so he left. An over reaction you may think, but take into account that on that day, the man in question would have had a one in one hundred and twenty six chance of being mugged, he would have been breathing some of the poorest quality air in Europe, he could have been subject to council tax tantamount to over £6 a day, and he would have been subject to congestion charges for entering his home town by car, not to mention the ‘big freeze’ that brings our roads to a standstill each year.
To move or not to move; there are simple criteria to help with this decision. Do you want to live in a country that charges you twice to commute through Birmingham? Does the stress of relocation potentially outweigh the stress of staying? If no, you are a prime candidate for relocation.
So now we are left with those to whom relocation is a viable life choice. You people fall into two categories, those who are planning to move within the next eighteen months, and those who are reading this from a Spanish villa that cost the price of a Land Rover Discovery. To those of you planning to emigrate in the next year or so, don’t bother. Do it now or it will never happen. And don’t even think of using your pets as an excuse.
There are two things you should know right now. You can buy a large Italian country house for £40 thousand, and you can take your dogs without any fuss. So forget about a few months time, if you want it start doing it now.
If you already have an idea of where on Earth you want to live, you should consider some of the following in relation to your pets. If you have no idea, these may help you to narrow down the search.
Is the country similar in climate to Britain, or will I need to take steps to ensure my dog’s comfort on arrival? Most dogs will adapt without too much fuss, but a dog with a weight problem or even a skin problem could suffer if moved to Northern Australia, South Africa, or even Southern Spain. Consult your vet before you make any firm decisions regarding location if you are concerned about your pet.
Are dogs a welcome member of the community in the country I intend to move? Are you considering France where dogs are treated like children and are welcomed into nearly all public places, or is it Spain where stray dogs are considered vermin and pet dogs are cherished?
Are you moving to a place where your dog is safe or are there potential or hidden dangers? Some parts of Australia are home to the world’s most poisonous animals, we know this but our dogs don’t. Are there more specific problems such as your favoured property being on a steep hill or near a river? You will need to visit the property and surrounding area before even thinking about getting your wallet out.
You may want to get to the other side of the world as soon as possible, but what if you need to come home urgently. Can you get your pet home as quickly as you got him out there? Do you need to get him micro chipped? Is you new home served by an animal airline? You need to check these things out before moving.
You also need to be sure of what function your relocation will perform in your day-to-day life before you look at property. For example, are you going to be moving an existing business to a new location? Are you going to be starting up a new business? Will the property you seek be an investment property? Or are you looking for a new home? All of these factors can and will affect the relocation process.
The first thing you and your family need to settle on is which country best suits your needs. Once you have done this you should start thinking about area and property Once you and your family have settled on an area or town and are keen to acquire property, you really need to think very carefully about legal aspects regarding property acquisition. There are many, many different things that could catch out an unwitting buyer.
You need to take into account currency fluctuations between the time that you settle on a property and the time that you actually hand over the cash. In some cases you will experience discrepancies of as much as 2.5%.
Now is certainly the time to start seeking legal advice if you haven’t already. As with any property purchase it is essential that you have legal advice at all stages but this is even more crucial when dealing with foreign property laws. It is advisable to find a solicitor who is not only bi-lingual, but also conversant and familiar with property law relevant to the country in which you are thinking of living.
It is imperative to bear in mind that other countries, even those in the EU have very different laws regarding property and acquisition. France is a particularly prickly pair when it comes to buying property. The process can be disconcertingly complex and can easily lead to legal mix-ups.
For example, if after purchasing a property it is discovered that, prior to your acquisition of the property, planning regulations had been breached, you as the property owner are responsible for returning the property to its original state and for the cost of doing so. Also beware of getting too excited when viewing property.
An oral expression of intent is legally binding in France (even if you do it English), so refrain from saying or implying verbally anything until at least after the searches have been completed.
With regards to your pets, it is now a lot easier to relocate with dogs and cats in tow without quarantine. As long as your pets are up to date with immunisations and vaccinations, the pet travel scheme (PETS) allows pets to travel almost as freely as humans. Provided that certain regulations such as worming and micro chipping are in hand, free travel is no longer a problem for pets.
One thing it is important to understand is the amount of financial outlay involved in relocation.
Once you have exchanged contracts and readied your pets for travel, you will need to move yourself and your possessions. This is the stressful part; you can however ease the pain by following a few simple steps. It makes sense to have your belongings hauled out of the country before you leave. You can always borrow from friends when you are in this country but if you are arriving in a new country without your things, life will be a nightmare.
There are plenty of things you need to have in place ready for your arrival such as schooling, registration with doctors, employment, notification of authorities that you are a new citizen, registration with utilities firms and much more. It is strongly advised that you do seek professional help in order to ensure that your relocation runs as smoothly as possible.