We all love and want the very best for our pets. However, bringing a beloved canine/feline friend to your next International Teaching assignment could prove to be a bad idea, unless of course, you come prepared.
If your plans include relocating to a fully developed nation where pets are cherished and support services abound, you have little to worry about. If you’re headed to a developing nation, Read On! Inadvertently subjecting your pet to a situation that could jeopardize its health and safety CAN be avoided.
The Big 3
Nutrition, Veterinary Services & Pet Daycare
Nutrition is a major concern when you move with a pet to a developing nation. High-quality pet foods we take for granted in the West are not generally available in places where the majority of the populace may not be able to afford quality nutrition for themselves. What will your pet eat on a daily basis? Can it live on leftovers? It may be wise to start now introducing your pet to meals that you concoct. Acclimating your pet to a new diet well before the move will make mealtime a familiar event and help ease the transition into a new environment.
Veterinarian Care is equally as important as meeting your pet’s nutritional needs. Be aware that veterinarians at your overseas destination may be well experienced treating goats, sheep, cattle or even elephants, but have limited experience with canines or felines. If your pet falls sick or hurt, you’ll want to be prepared. Bring basic pet meds with you such as flea and tick medication, antibiotics and worming medicine. Entire lists can be found online.
Pet Daycare should be well thought out. What will your pet be doing while you’re teaching during the day? You could leave your dog alone in the house or backyard (weather permitting) or under the care of a housekeeper or nanny, but chances are your household help has never had a pet dog, may not even like cats, and is not attuned to how to care for a pet who’s a member of your family. Finding help that reacts positively to your pet on introduction may be the best way to go. A maid who hides behind you when your dog approaches is a poor choice.
Beyond the BIG 3 — nutritional needs, Veterinary Services and daycare requirements — it’s important to carefully research the country/city of proposed destination. Familiarize yourself with local customs and idiosyncrasies that could cause you to decide it’s not the right place for a pet.
Take for example Cambodia. Over 100 dog-meat restaurants have been identified in Phnom Penh, the capital. How safe would your dog be if it got out on its own?
In Ecuador, Thailand and other developing nations, street dogs abound. Would you fear for your dog’s safety while out on a leash?
In certain parts of the world, dogs and cats are seen as “dirty” beasts and to be avoided. Your pet may not do well with constant rejection, not to mention the displeasure of your neighbors.
Quarantines should certainly not be overlooked. Up to 30 days or more of confinement upon entry into many countries is common. Pets have died in quarantine from neglect, and not just in developing nations. Find out about the requirements for bringing your pet back into your home country. Careful research can prevent tragedy.
A Recipe for Success
♦ Up-to-date, first-hand information is the best way to assure a good experience for both you and your pet. Contact teachers with pets who are currently at the school you are considering for your next career move. Ask for some names and contact information at your interview. Have a prepared list of questions and concerns.
♦ The interviewer at a Recruiting Fair may well have brought a family dog or cat with them to the school and can be a wealth of information.
♦ Don’t be shy! Post questions on this Discussion Board and to the ISR Open Forum. Other teachers who have moved overseas with pets are sure to respond with insightful advice.
Have something to add to this Discussion? Please scroll down to comment, pose questions &/or reply to teachers seeking information.