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Fly with your pets from Cochin Airport: Things you need to do

Luka, a Lhasa Apso puppy, which recently flew from Cochin Airport to Doha as pet cargo.

A Lhasa Apso breed puppy named ‘Luka’ recently became the first pet to fly from Cochin Airport (CIAL) to an international destination after the airport installed facilities for handling pet cargo. Though the airport has started to accept pet cargo, there are a few mandatory formalities that one needs to comply with to take one’s pet along to international destinations. First and foremost is to confirm whether the airline you are travelling with allows pets.

According to a senior official of CIAL, there are a lot of procedures to be followed by the passenger who wants to take their pet along with them in an aircraft. “We only facilitate smooth handling of the pet. There are other formalities that need to be complied with by the passenger after getting necessary approval from the airline which has agreed to carry the pet,” the official said.

The Cochin Pet Hospital founder-director Dr Soorej K told “Open Digest” that the most important approval is the medical certification of the pet which the passenger is planning to take abroad. While several Asian and Middle East countries approve the medical test results conducted in Indian labs, Europe and the Americas only accept the test results conducted in approved labs situated in their respective countries. The samples need to send to these labs for testing and getting the necessary certificates.

“Also, there is a mandatory lock-in period after the blood sample is taken for testing. Only after the completion of this period will the pet be permitted to travel,” he said.

So, here are the processes that need to be followed to take your pet along with you:

1. First, you need to consult the airline and confirm whether they have provisions to carry pets. Only a few airlines currently accept pet cargo.

2. Once the airline agrees to carry the pet, you need to approach an authorized agency which will do the required paperwork for carrying the pet. It’s always better to go with the agency recommended by the airline. There are also other authorized agencies and pet hospitals which can help with the procedures.

3. A blood and serum sample of the pet should be tested at the authorized lab. A rabies titer will also be done to ascertain whether the pet has been vaccinated against rabies, and if the vaccination prompted enough of an immune response.

4. Specified pet cages need to be purchased for carrying the pet, and they should be approved by the airline. For pets weighing more than seven kilograms, specially approved cages can only be used, and they will be transported only in the cargo hold area of the aircraft that has the technical facilities to carry the pet.

5. Familiarise yourself with all the procedures of the destination country before taking up the journey with your pet.

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