For those of you who are taken aback by exorbitant pet relocation agent fees, this will be the right blog post for you. In this post, I'll be sharing my experiences on how I arranged to export my dog OUT of Singapore, without using an agent!
The 1st SG agent I approached quoted me SGD $6,000 for door-to-door. 2nd SG agent quoted me $2,000 for just the import leg. Either ways, it's pricey for something you can DIY.
In my case, as the import instructions on Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services (yes I know, it's a very long name) were all in Bahasa, I had no choice but to engage an Indonesian agent for the import leg of the relocation process.
But as for the export leg, I did it all by myself, and that is because Singapore's AVA is very clear with the instructions on its website. It even comes with a step-by-step guide on using their portal! Also, our AVA is very efficient in processing licenses; we are talking about a timeframe of within 24 hours. Lastly, if you are still unsure, you can always call into their hotline, and speak to their officer.
So without further ado, let me brief you on the process, trust me, do not be intimidated, it is really EASY, besides I have done all the fretting and the homework for you. Note that timeline is everything here, as certain certification you’ll require for the exporting/importing have validity periods and you do not want to submit a certification has already expired and jeopardize your process.
6 Steps to Export Your Dog out of Singapore
Factor 4 months in advance of your relocation date to start the process.
1st, find out what are the vaccinations required from your destination country.
Tip: Approach agents from your destination country to compare quotes + ask them what vaccinations, and documentations are required so you have a complete list of what’s needed on the import end.
In my case, only the rabies vaccination is mandatory in Indonesia. Although, it is strongly recommended for your dog to take the generic vaccinations necessary to fortify their bodies for their trip on flight, as well as in the quarantine kennel.
FYI: In Indonesia, the pet relocation agent (import) will require these things (below), which leads me to point #2…
Copy of your Passport
Copy of Vaccination Records
Address & Phone Number for Delivery of Pet
Copy of Rabies Blood Serology Report
AVA watermarked Vet Health Certificate
Start 3 months in advance to:
1st, buy a CRATE according to IATA’s requirements… I bought mine at Pet Lover’s Centre. The product brochure would usually state if it’s a IATA-approved crate… Note that for SIA should dog + crate exceed 32KG, doggo will have to fly on a separate cargo flight from you… so do note the weight of the crate during purchase as well…
2nd, CRATE TRAIN your dog. Crate training was crucial in keeping my dog calm whilst he was alone on the plane. I cannot underscore this any further. There was a case involving SIA where a doggo died on flight coz it freaked out, chewed its own paws, and choked on its own blood. So being a kiasu Singapawean, I crate trained him 3 months in advance, so he will get used to being inside the crate for long periods of time. And I’ve checked… NO, vets do not recommend sedating your dog before flight.
3rd, Bring your dog for VACCINATIONS + BOOSTER JABS + BLOOD SEROLOGY REPORT (booster jabs are repeat jabs for maximum efficiency). Yes you will need around that amount of time (2 months minimally) if your dog has not been up to date with all his vaccinations, like mine. You will be required to space out the jabs by 10 - 14 days.
The jabs I administered to my dog were: Vanguard Plus (generic vaccine for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza), Rabisin (Rabies), Pneumodog (Bordetella/ Kennel Cough). I was advised to give a second booster jab for all 3 of these, but I read some articles on over-vaccinating hence, I only did the booster jab for rabies, as I wanted to ensure that my dog passes the Rabies Blood Serology Test - compulsory requirement for importing into Indonesia.
Note: Please ensure that you keep the vaccination certificates/vaccination book (properly dated) from your vet.
Send the vaccination records/reports to your import agent!
Once you have compared your quotes, and gotten the vaccinations, you can start to hire your agent (import), and provide them with all the necessary details + vaccination records + rabies blood serology test report. I hired the services of Groovy Pet in Jakarta, and I would highly recommend them. The other reputable agent in Indonesia would be JakPetz, whose quote is the same as Groovy, but I was somehow more assured with Groovy as they gave me handouts (in their cute letterhead) written in good english on what was required as compared to JakPetz who gave me the requirements in fineprint on their quotation. Sorry this isn't a good basis for selection but I'm a sucker for proper presentation on company collaterals. I was charged a total of SGD $900 for the import leg which also included sending my dog from quarantine to our new home.
With all the necessary documentations in, your agent will be able to start their process for the import license on their end!
Apply for AVA Export License online, 31 days prior to relocation date.
Why 31 days? Because the license is only VALID FOR 30 days! You have to time this well!! I’m assuming that your dog would already have been licensed on AVA’s website. AVA is highly efficient, with all documentations in, you should get the license in 24 hours.
When you are applying, you will reach a page that lists plenty of documents which you will have to attach - I’ve checked with the AVA officer on this - don’t fret, you will only need to attach these documents:
Dog License with details of animal and microchip number (***most important)
Photo of Dog (Showing Face & Body)
Serology Rabies Report
Write to your airlines (in my case, SIA) to reserve a spot for doggo on flight, 30 days prior to relocation/flight date.
Repeat Note: Should dog + crate exceed 32KG, doggo will have to fly on a separate cargo flight from you. Please watch doggo’s weight nearer to flight date…. SIA will require that your crate be IATA approved, and that you email them in advance a photocopy of all doggo’s documentations: license, vaccination records and health cert (in step #6).
7 days before relocation date (timing is everything, as the Vet Health Cert is only valid 7 days):
1st, Take doggo to your local vet to get a Vet Health Certificate (your import agent should be able to offer you a sample of what the cert should certify)
2nd, Immediately after, go online the AVA’s License One site and apply for the AVA watermarked Vet Health Certificate. You will be uploading your doggo's license, vaccination records, as well as Vet Health Cert.
*Note for 2nd step: Don't worry if you are unclear about what to do, or if you are attaching the right documents, you can always call AVA's helpline [don't call during peak hours like before/after work/during weekday lunch hours], or refer to their website for a step by step manual on what to click. Instructions are all clear and comprehensive. PLUS, if you miss out anything after submission online, the AVA agent in charge of your case WILL be sure to give you a call and guide you from there. You will also then be able to chase the AVA agent to expedite your case if needed.
3rd, go to AVA's office in Jurong East Mall to collect your certificate, OR print it out from your computer. In my case, I went to the AVA office as I thought it would be printed on some special paper, but nah, so if you can print it on your computer just go ahead with that.
That would conclude all the steps you need for exporting (it’s really EASYYYY) and for helping your agent to import (with the necessary documents)!