International pet transfer - getting a pet rabbit from US --> Iraq
June 27, 2019 5:17 PM   Subscribe

A good friend of mine is moving his familyl back to Iraq from the US. His daughter has a pet rabbit. We are trying to figure out how to safely transport him across international lines. Ideally, they'd prefer to find a way to transport the rabbit the whole way in the cabin/underseat. Suggestions for international pet shipping companies would also be helpful. Thanks!
posted by Anonymouse1618 to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Rabbits can be rather delicate and don’t always respond well to loud noises or quick temperature changes. For the safety of the rabbit traveling in the cabin is the only real way to go. You could look into registering the bunny as an emotional support animal or just if the airline has a general policy of allowing animals on board for a certain size. Sorry I don’t have more details or where to point you
posted by raccoon409 at 7:17 PM on June 27, 2019

I'm bringing my cat with me from the US to Argentina. I literally just booked my flight yesterday and went through all the steps. It's complicated but totally doable, and I'm sure it's the same for rabbits.

First, these two websites are good for starters: USDA and Pet Travel. The best places to check are with the airline itself as well as the Iraqi consulate because the various websites are not necessarily fully up-to-date. It appears that Iraq does not require animals to go through quarantine, which is great! If they have a connecting flight, they should be sure that any country they are landing in doesn't either. FWIW rabbits (almost) never get rabies, so that's a plus in terms of requirements!!

Technically, I am allowed to have an emotional support animal and have the proper paperwork. However, many airlines only accept dogs (Air Canada and COPA, for example) and others only dogs and cats (Delta) but Delta does not recognize any emotional support animal for flights over eight hours. Therefore, I have to pay $200 each way but not complete any paperwork for the airline itself, just for Argentina. The airline only allows four underseat animals per flight so I had to check and make sure to reserve a space on each of the four flights (two each direction) and had to make sure there was adequate room under each seat, that my chosen seats were acceptable for pets, etc. I booked my ticket directly with the airline online, then called them right away to make sure things would work for my kitty.

These probably won't apply for your friend's bunny but I'm sharing to give you some perspective. I need to get a rabies shot at least 30 days in advance but less than a year, the cat must be treated for worms no more than 15 days before my vet check-up, and that special vet check-up must occur no more than 10 days before my arrival. Only certain vets can do the pet passport, so you may have to call around; additionally, it can be hard to get a quick appointment in the summer. Once we arrive, a vet in Argentina will inspect my cat and hopefully all is well. I'm arriving on a tourist visa so hopefully that will not be a hinderance. It sounds like your friend is a citizen of Iraq, so that should be a plus.

I love my cat and would not move abroad if I couldn't take her with me. (FWIW no Hawaii either, unfortunately.) When I adopted her, I knew I was moving so I started preparing right away. Yes, it's a huge pain but really understandable and workable. Coming back to the US with her seems much easier for me, fortunately, but we'll see if I can even get her into Argentina! I hope everything works out for your friend: as someone who deals with a lot of anxiety (hence my qualification for an ESA!), being able to pro-actively focus on my cat's needs rather than worry about my own challenges has been quite a useful distraction. Your friend's daughter will likely feel the same way being able to focus on her bunny. Good luck to them!
posted by smorgasbord at 9:10 PM on June 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Rabbits can be rather delicate and don’t always respond well to loud noises or quick temperature changes. For the safety of the rabbit traveling in the cabin is the only real way to go.

I checked the in-cabin pets policies of Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, and EgyptAir (the major international airlines that serve both Baghdad and the USA). None of them allow rabbits in the cabin; most of them limit in-cabin animals to dogs, cats, and falcons. (!) There are also several connections from Baghdad to foreign destinations on Iraqi Airways, but I couldn't find their in-cabin pet policy on their website.

I suspect that it may not be possible to travel to Baghdad with your rabbit in-cabin.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:02 AM on June 28, 2019

dogs, cats, and falcons

SO once took a flight transiting through an airport in the middle east (I forget exactly where, Abu Dhabi or something like that). A good part of the seats on one leg were reserved for some big guy's fancy hunting falcons.
posted by each day we work at 6:30 AM on June 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

My boss recently went through a similar situation getting two rabbits from China back to the U.S. Even after getting clearance from the airline via telephone and email, when the person flying with the rabbits arrived at the airport they found out that the rabbits had to be quarantined a week first, and also that they couldn't be flown out of Shanghai, but only another city in China.

So she had to fly the rabbits to the other city and pay a vet to quarantine them for a week. She also had to buy a second plane ticket so the second rabbit could use the under-seat area.

It sounded like a huge, expensive pain.
posted by tacodave at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2019

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