Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bahamas - Travelling with 4 Legged Friends

Importing an animal to different countries requires some preparation, as it did when we flew to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, there is not much info to go on online, but it was a semi-painless process. We were so happy to share our trip with our pup, Turbo.

First, your pet must be at least six months of age and hold the proper vaccinations. They also must have been given within a specific time period. Prior to your arrival, a pet import permit must be applied for and the importation fee paid (we paid $10). This permit is only valid for one trip and must be visited within a year. Remember, even the Department of Agriculture runs on "island time" and it takes awhile for your paperwork to travel via snail mail. So, ensure your application is submitted a few months in advance.

The tricky part is that you must bring the pet to the veterinarian for a wellness check up and to sign the import paper work no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. I requested a medical certificate as well and my vet prepared an international certificate to be safe, however, it was not necessary. One thing to watch out for if the vet is a stickler on the coronavirus requirement on the paperwork. Most vets in the US don't even give or provide this vaccination anymore. We were fine entering the Bahamas regardless and there is no quarentine for pets arriving from the Bahamas or US. Upon our return to Florida, customs did not need to see any documentation on Turbo and they gave him a treat!

With customs worries out of the way, we also had to make sure to provide for Turbo's safety in flight and to ensure his travels were comfortable. First, since life vests were a requirement for all souls on board, we made sure Turbo had one, too. I had him wear it while in flight, that way if God forbid we had to ditch, Turbo was already prepared to be in the water safely and quickly.

Packing wise, we made sure his travel bag had all the comforts of home: treats, his blanket, and several toys. Also, having more than enough of his regular brand food was a must. Animals digestion do not always adjust well to change and you do not want to make that change ruin your magical island trip. They have enough stress with the travelling and an upset to their routine already as it is. So, it's not wise to change their food and eating habits.

Turbo did great! He ate pretty well, albeit slower than usual. He adjusted quickly to the island weather and his digestion was only "loose" (if you know what I mean) for a few days. The locals and other travelers got to know him and he got greetings and pets everywhere we went. All outdoor restaurants were pet friendly, so it was easy bring him about. I highly recommend having pet-cations whenever you can.

More extensive details on vaccination requirements and the permit application can be found here.

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