Belgium is a country where you can find skilled and experienced vets, so you need not worry about bringing your pets across to live with you. However – you do have to prepare yourself before moving to Belgium with pets.
Your first action should be a visit to your local vet, to discuss your pets’ needs. They will have the most recent rules and regulations, and help you make the right decisions, and ensure your paperwork is correct.
Cats, dogs and ferrets will need vaccination against rabies – at least 21 days before travelling.
Your pets will need a passport of their own. This will show the rabies vaccinations.
The passport also shows the microchip number and location. Your pet must be micro-chipped, before the rabies vaccination. Our vet suggested I practice finding it, as it could be embarrassing to get to customs officers, and then be unable to locate the chip. Bring the microchip paperwork with you, too.
There is a description of the animal, and, if you want to insert a photograph, there is a space.
You also need an up to date vaccination record. It’s a good idea to make the date of the last vaccinations as near as your departure date is convenient, so that you will have plenty of time to find a suitable vet once you have moved.
If you are travelling with more than 5 pets they will need a health certificate from your vet 10 days before travelling.
Returning to the UK?
Will you ever want your pets to return to the UK, as visitors or permanently – because if you do – you will need to keep their rabies vaccination up to date. Rabies is a terrible disease, and although the British rules on pet entry have been relaxed in recent years they are still, justifiably, quite stringent.
Before returning to the UK you will need to see the Belgium vet for him to administer and certify tapeworm treatment.
You may wish to get the new details – phone number if known, onto the pet’s collar. It is likely to be cheaper to do this in the UK. Also take a supply of food which your pet is familiar with – that is definitely cheaper in the UK!
Preparing Your Pet
Making sure your pet is as healthy as possible and letting them be familiar with the cage or basket they are to travel in will make things less stressful for your pet. Also, making sure you can catch the cat on the day is helpful!
This need not be too arduous. We decided to travel by car and use the shuttle. We needed one night in a hotel – to walk the dog and let the cat out onto litter tray, as well as sleep ourselves. Friends had told us how they managed their cat. They bought a second-hand dog cage, placed cat, cat bed litter tray and water in the cage, which gave the cat freedom to move around and drink – and at the other end of the journey the transfer into the new house was easy to accomplish and safe for the cat. We didn’t have room for this, and managed easily with the usual cat basket. Our vet prescribed a mild sedative, and this worked very well.
The shuttle proved easy to use – there is even a dog play park at the English end. Other people have preferred to use aeroplanes, or boats – but I did’’t like the idea of leaving my pet in the car while I went up on deck.
As it happened, no one asked for their passports – but I was very pleased we had them.
So here is a list of essential items for your pets’ journey:
1. The pet
2. Pet passport
3. Pet vaccination card
4. Pet chip record
5. Pet bed
6. Pet cage if required
8. Food (if a dog)
9. Pet toy
10. Any medication, car sickness, sedative, usual prescribed medicine – but take advice from your vet on this.
Once you arrive you will need to find a vet. Ensure your dog is tagged, and isn’t allowed to roam free. Pets usually settle very well, and the owner, more than the pet, is usually the one who gets stressed about the move!