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Old 12-09-2017, 13:02   #1
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Question bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Hi! I need some serious help - I am planning to cruise around the world with my boyfriend/partner on our private sailboat with our 2 dogs and cat. I have been looking at the pet travel rules for vaccinations and quarantine stuff, but I am wondering specifically how it will work in the south pacific, because we are headed there first...

PLEASE HELP me figure out what I will need to do!!
We are leaving from the USA, into the caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and then to French Polynesia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia etc.

All of the islands in the south pacific region require pretty much the same thing (rabies vaccine and titer test, treatment for parasites, flea/tick and heartworm, health certificate, and quarantine session,. etc)..

SO is it possible to go through ONE quarantine session and then not have to worry about administering our pets with unnecessary drugs every week when we travel to the next island?? It seems crazy to have to quarantine them every week when we get to the next island!! and we may not even stay in those places, like Fiji, for as long as the quarantine period is!?

I would HOPE that we can go thru ONE vaccination and quarantine session (like when we arrive in Tahiti from Panama after a month at sea...) and then be allowed in the rest of the south pacific without having to see a vet and kennel our dogs every other day..
Our plan is to leave Panama at the beginning of March, so arrive in French Polynesia sometime in April, and then stay in New Zealand for a little while beginning in November.
So we would be in the South Pacific hopping from island to island for LESS THAN 6 or 7 months! if we have documentation saying they have been cleared from rabies and everything, are we all set??\

There must be a way around it? please let me know!

Thanks, Hannah
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Old 12-09-2017, 13:35   #2
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

50,000 people die per year of rabies and NZ is rabies free and intends to stay that way. It is difficult and expensive to take your dogs to NZ and you need to respect their laws and reasons for those laws. You will find similar problems in other British based systems.

New Zealand —

We know lots of world cruisers and very few if any with dogs. The way around the NZ laws is not to go there. But then Australia has similar rules.

Ceilydh Set Sail: Cost of Bringing a Cat to Australia
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Old 12-09-2017, 14:18   #3
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

There is no way around it - just don't do it to your dogs and give them up before you leave.

Just like immigration authorities in one country do not care that you've been cleared into another country and will go through the entire clearance with you in every country you visit, the same applies to your animals. You can clear the dogs for import for the first country, but the next country will have similar requirements. You would spend 6 months in each country waiting to prove your dogs clear of rabies before going to the next country. But many require quarantine in a third country - check out http://www.pettravel.com/immigration...-polynesia.cfm.

Bottom line, don't do it to your dogs. You must have family or close friends that you can give them to - they will wait for you to come back. We had a Boarder Collie who was 4 when we left and 8 when we returned. After about a week of the return she acted as if we had not been gone at all, but did have separation anxiety for her remaining life. That's better than repeated quarantines and shots.
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Old 12-09-2017, 14:47   #4
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Hannah,

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the concepts above are correct if you're coming from the mainland US. If your beasts were all in Hawaii, as in born there, stayed there, then going through one quarantine can work, because Hawaii is rabies-free.

Not only the dogs, but also the cat will be required to be quarantined. You will not be able to stop in all the usual places because you have them.

Some of the places along the way dogs and cats are commonly eaten. I found that quite creepy, and none of the dogs ever barked or complained when the kids threw stones at it.....

Although it is a small risk, there is the possibility of a pet overboard in the middle of the night in bad weather when it is unsafe to go back and retrieve them. It is a hard choice to leave them, finding good homes for them, but it will be better for you, and for them, as well.

Again, sorry, I know this isn't what you want to hear.

Ann
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Old 12-09-2017, 15:34   #5
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Thanks to all for sharing this information. Seems the Mrs. and I may have to rethink our plans. There's no way I could bring myself to part with my beloved Ellie. If forced to make a choice between the wife and kids aboard or Ellie...well, I'd probably be shopping for a smaller boat.

Kidding, of course. Depending on the day...
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Old 12-09-2017, 15:54   #6
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Reason number 738 Why my wife and I will never be world cruisers.
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Old 12-09-2017, 16:11   #7
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

All is not lost.

While world cruising is very difficult with a dog (and marginally less difficult with a cat, as most countries will allow you to keep them on board without quarantine, though some will not), you can of course go around the world and skip the countries where Fido and/or Fluffy are not welcome. That will be a lot more sailing than the usual cruising circumnavigation.

Alternatively, don't circumnavigate and simply stick to a country or countries where your pets are welcome as is. You could probably go all the way around the Americas - North, Central and South - with your pets as the continental countries are all in the same rabies zone (not most of the island nations though). I don't know this for sure, but if so you could easily take 3 years to do this and visit some amazing places.

You would need to complete each country's vet certificate but otherwise OK. Check out www.pettravel.com/immigration/<country name>.cfm
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Old 13-09-2017, 09:14   #8
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Madagascar used to have a very strict regulation. You kill your dog or they will. Not sure how enforced. Sad.
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Old 13-09-2017, 10:20   #9
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

This is one of the reasons we are holding off on our long term cruising plans! (We also need a bigger boat) We have two dogs, one about 5 and one about 10 years old. It's a bummer, but it's too risky, expensive and difficult. We would never be able to give them up either. So we wait. I look at it as more opportunity to save money and hopefully then stay out longer when we do go.
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Old 13-09-2017, 11:18   #10
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Cats. In Australia you cannot tie up at a dock if you have a cat aboard - they get off the boat very easily. There might be even stricter regulations now, both for dogs and cats. But cats are definitely unwanted.

In Malaysia the groundskeepers caught a boa constrictor with a huge animal in it, and caged it in a shed near the marina to advise some cat owner where their cat was. It was rather creepy looking - thin snake, lump the size of a soccer ball (perhaps a bit larger, I didn't take a photo of it).

Even though cats are a better sailing companion than dogs, they are a menace wherever they manage to get off the boat, so they really, really should be left home.

Even in the Caribbean, the health risks for your dog are significant, with so many worms ready to invade your dog (and your dog's unstoppable habit of licking any interesting smell it comes across). Heart worm is not the worst risk.
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Old 13-09-2017, 12:02   #11
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Wanna echo fxykty...all is not lost! Beyond the south pacific, there are still an unlimited number of awesome places to cruise which are more conducive to pets. hell, you could literally spend an entire lifetime just cruising a place like the bahamas and not see everything.

Or maybe you have a family member who could step in and take care of the little dudes in your absence?
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Old 13-09-2017, 12:37   #12
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
50,000 people die per year of rabies and NZ is rabies free and intends to stay that way. It is difficult and expensive to take your dogs to NZ and you need to respect their laws and reasons for those laws. You will find similar problems in other British based systems.

New Zealand —

We know lots of world cruisers and very few if any with dogs. The way around the NZ laws is not to go there. But then Australia has similar rules.

Ceilydh Set Sail: Cost of Bringing a Cat to Australia
So does Hawaii.
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Old 13-09-2017, 14:13   #13
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

As others have said, for so many different reasons, sailing with pets is just a bad idea.

However, I see you are in the USA. You could compromise and do a tour of the Great Lakes with your family and pets. I know its not that exotic, and the season is short, but pets cross the USA/Canada border easily, the sailing is easy, the water is sweet, and your dollar goes a long way here.

It's not a real solution, but might be good for a season or two of fun with the whole family.

BTW, I used to sail with my dog. 70 pounds of fur and love. Although very well behaved aboard, it was a strain on both of us. At anchor, I was constantly in the dinghy taking her ashore for her business. Dogs in general don't like fiberglass decks or inflatable dinghies. And there were long days where she could not stretch her legs, confined below for safety. I remember a particularly rough day where she was tossed around the cabin, and there was nothing I could do to help her. Dogs can't "hold on"...no thumbs you know.

There were two kinds of ports..."dogs on a leash" and "dogs run free". I loved the "dogs run free" ports. Small towns like Cape Vincent NY and Clayton NY. Often a small pack of dogs would assemble near the boat soon after arriving. Then I'd send my dog off with them to run around, explore, or whatever dogs do in those places. She would come back an hour or two later, exhausted. The other dogs were always nearby. When I was in Spain, preparing for a trans-atlantic, there was a small group of dogs that hung around, apparently dispised by the local businesses. They would avoid people, steal food, and poop where they pleased. Wild dogs do not act like domestic dogs.

And in the Canaries there were huge clowders of feral cats. basking along the rocks, alongside the waterfront walkway, dozens (or hundreds) of cats would be lazing or wandering about. Quite a sight for a Canadian accustomed to only seeing cats on sofas or backyards.
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Old 13-09-2017, 15:05   #14
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

It really is gut wrenching. My German Shepherd was literally like my blood and bone son. Can't think of a single entity I have loved more than him. People who haven't felt this kind of relationship ....or are incapable of feeling this relationship can't understand how deep of a conflict it is to be told they have to part with their children (pets). My German S. suffered terribly when I would go on vacation. It deeply effects them also. I witnessed my father's Westie go into deep depression after his death. Started peeing everywhere in the house.

I agree with most of the thoughts above about regulations. Many people here who have posted up live in these locations so they know the taboos. If you can farm them out to trusted friends or family....it is a good option. But you know...you are asking a real big favor to encumber somebody's life with such a request. It affects their freedom for travel, work, and days off. Not to mention the dirt and hair brought in by most dogs. My Goodness...my German Shepherd died almost three years ago and we are still finding caches of his hair from time to time. When dogs go though their molt...it was a daily chore to sweep and vacuum up after him. Can't imagine what that would be like on a boat. Did you know that dogs can get sea sick also?

You have some great information presented to you ...I wish you the best of luck in coming to a workable solution.
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Old 13-09-2017, 17:08   #15
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Re: bringing my dogs cruising -- HELP

Many have given you great advice, Hannah. Please take it.

We have two dogs and are selling all land things within the next two months. I've tried to get them good homes (they will NOT go to the ASPCA or the local shelter; I just can't do that). My daughter, who lives up north, is taking our BMD, but no one will take Pete (our PRT). He is not good with other dogs, is a chicken killer, and tends to rile up other farm animals. Ugh. So we have decided to take him with us. I have looked extensively at all the laws for each country we may or may not stop in and have already started the titer requirements (T&C which will probably be off our stopping grounds now, but who knows) and will comply with ALL regulations for each country. For us, this means we cannot stop in the Cayman Islands, but so be it. The dog will come with us and we will make do and go where we can with him.

There is no easy answer. I hope you can find one that you can live with.
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