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Old 26.06.2012, 19:16
Jennifer W Jennifer W is offline
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Re: moving to switzerland with a dog

We recently moved our dog to Switzerland from the US in March, so I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that you will have to jump through more hoops to get Fido into the country than you will for yourself. I actually had to make a trip to a USDA office to get his paperwork approved, and despite planning over 5 months in advance, we still didn't know until 2 days before our flight whether he would be joining us. I had to have emergency backup plans in place, just in case.

As meloncollie says, the microchipping in non-negotiable. Now, if you decide that you can live with it, and that you indeed want to move here, be sure you follow the schedule for the microchipping and vaccinations. You will have to have rabies, and if you ever board your dog, you will have to have bordatella as well. The rabies must be at least 30 days prior to your arrival in Switzerland, but note that you must also have the microchipping done first, THEN the rabies, otherwise the rabies is invalid and the dog will have to be re-inoculated.

Also be aware that you must have an ISO compliant microchip. If you decide to chip your pet, research the company before you insert the chip to be sure it is ISO compliant. My dog came from the SPCA, and he was already chipped. Unfortunately, it was not ISO compliant. To avoid invalidating his rabies, we wound up renting a microchip reader that I took with us on the plane so that he could be checked at every stop, including customs. I took him to the vet within 10 days of our arrival, where they had to check his chip again. I then returned the chip reader to the company in the US. Eventually, I chipped him with his European chip and got his pet passport.

As far as the classes, our dog took obedience classes in the US and I have the documentation to prove it. According to our vet, I do not need to take any classes here.

Last thing to keep in mind: many airlines have an embargo against shipping animals in the cargo hold during certain times of the year. For example, Delta embargoes from June through September and again from December through March. So effectively, you can only fly with your pet in April, May, October, and November. We were lucky, and were able to fly him with us, and he handled the ride just fine (the hold is climate controlled and pressurized). He was even off the plane and waiting for us before we even made it to the passport check. You can, however, hire a certified pet shipper, but expect to pay about $2000 instead of $300.

All this has been a royal pain in the backside, but worth it in order to have him with us.
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