For many families, summer brings lots of changes, including departing China and preparing pets for the journey overseas. It’s always best to bring your pets with you when it’s time to leave. Rehoming pets isn’t easy, especially for adult and senior pets, that find themselves competing with puppies and kittens for new homes. Regardless of how stressful you think the journey may be for your pet, it won’t be as stressful as making the adjustment to a new home or languishing indefinitely in a shelter, facing an uncertain future.
There are many resources available to help pet owners prepare for taking pets overseas and much of the relocation costs may be minimized with careful advance planning. Please prepare at least 6-months in advance to take pets into the continental USA, Canada, and European Union countries. Begin preparations least 8-12 months in advance for Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Singapore, and other strict quarantine control countries and territories.
Keep in mind to begin the process of finding a new home for your pet as early as possible. Even starting a year in advance is not too soon to begin looking for new adoption homes if for any reason, you are not able to keep your pets. Waiting until the last few weeks or months before departure creates panic and desperation for many pet owners, with pets being abandoned in residential compounds, parks, roadsides, and boarding kennels. The informal private shelters that exist are already at full capacity year-round and are overwhelmed by owners trying to relinquish their pets during the summer departure season.
To help ensure your pet has the greatest chance of being adopted, follow these 7-steps to maximize adoption success:
1. Keep Your Pet Up-to-Date on Annual Vaccinations, Deworming, Flea, and Tick Preventives and Keep the Vaccination Records.
Pets are required to be rabies vaccinated annually in China and those that are already current on vaccinations, deworming and flea/tick preventives find homes much faster than animals that have not been maintained. A fully vaccinated and dewormed pet will also protect other existing pets in the household and allow them to be adopted into their new homes sooner.
2. Spay and Neuter Your Pet(s)
A spayed/neutered pet is much more attractive to adoption families as the pet will not go into heat and the new family does not need to consider the additional costs of surgery into their decision. Neutered male dogs are less likely to behave aggressively. Neutered male cats are less likely to urine mark or “spray” their territories. Spayed female dogs no longer have bloody discharge and spayed female cats will no longer scream and howl until they find a mate. The risk of prostate cancer in males and mammary or uterine cancer in females is greatly reduced or eliminated when pets are spayed/neutered. Pets live longer, healthier and happier lives and become more attentive and loving companions.
3. Microchip Your Pet
Microchipping is becoming a common requirement for pets globally and is an effective method to identify and establish legal ownership of pets. All pets that will eventually leave China must be microchipped for export. The European Union, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other countries also require microchipping for pet import. An already microchipped pet is an added benefit for the new owners and makes pets more attractive for adoption.
4. Prepare Great Photos of Your Pet(s)
Appealing photos of your pet will attract adoption families. Just as we want to look our best for job interviews and first dates, helping our pets look their best for adoption photos is critical. Make sure your pets are clean, brushed, and groomed and photographed in comfortable and homey environments or outdoors. A great photo can make all the difference by encouraging a closer look and increasing responses to your adoption ads.
5. Write a Compelling Adoption Bio for Your Pet
As gorgeous and cute as your pet may look in the photos, adoption families will want to know more about your pet’s personality and history. Keep the ad brief and focus on the positives about your pet. Describe cute, quirky behaviors, and habits that are unique to your pet. Be honest about any negative traits and medical issues and share how they can be managed and how your pet can provide many more years of loving companionship. Describe the ideal adoption family that would best match your pet’s personality and encourage people to call and email you for more information. The more forthcoming and honest you are, the greater the chances you will have of finding a new permanent home for your pet.
6. Spread the Word
Leverage technology and post your adoption ads on your WeChat, Weibo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to spread the word. Tap into community organizations that publish newsletters and social networks with online communities and groups. Send your adoption ad to ICVS and we’ll post on our web site, blogs, Wechat, Weibo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to reach thousands of animal lovers and potential adoption families.
7. Stay in Contact With the New Adoption Family
No one knows your pet better than you. Being available by phone, email and WeChat to help answer any questions or concerns by your pet’s new family will help make the transition smoother and the adoption permanent.
Please contact the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) for more information about taking pets overseas, adopting pets and for assistance with placing your pet for adoption.