Taking Pets With You When Teaching Abroad

Taking Pets Abroad is generally not a good idea when you as a TEFL teacher go away to teach and this article explores when it’s best to leave them behind and then those rare occasions when it’s actually a good idea.

Above all, remember that the well-being of your dog, cat or other pet must be your main concern!

So, the first thing to do before taking any animal abroad is to check the official regulations. If you contact the embassy of the country you are moving to you’ll find a list of regulations regarding the type of animal you want to take. These normally state that it must have certain inoculations and so on or even go through quarantine.

Once you’ve established what is needed you can look at whether taking your pet with you is a good idea or not.


The cost of transporting pets is very expensive, more than the cost of transporting a person. First class!

Be sure to check with the airlines early. Some allow pets as carry-on, some will not. Some will not allow pets to travel during certain times of the year, others will. This needs to be checked early on.

Dogs and cats need to be crated as if they are anything but tiny they cannot come on the plane with you. Another issue here is comfort; they will spend anything from several hours to several days apart from you which is never going to be psychologically easy for them plus you will have no idea of the environment in which they will travel. Without you there anything could be going on.

Is it worth putting your beloved pet through that?


If your pet has to go through quarantine for any length of time, don’t take it. It’s upsetting for the pet and often serves very little purpose other than make money for the quarantine service.

Your pet will likely spend its time in a poorly controlled, dirty environment with no comfort or human contact. In other words, if you quarantine your pet you will be making it suffer.

  • In South Korea pets will be in quarantine for a minimum of 24 hours while they are checked over. If the dog is even slightly sick (even with a non-threatening illness, perhaps a slight bug it picked up on the journey) then it may be made to stay much longer which is definitely not a good idea.
  • In Vietnam‏‎ there is no quarantine period and as long as your pet’s papers are in order you can leave the airport with the animal there and then.

New Country

The chances are that you will be living in a small apartment with your new job. This may not be suitable at all for your pet. Furthermore, in this new environment you will be out teaching for 8 hours a day and that means leaving the pet on its own for this time. This, again, may not be the best thing for the pet.

Some countries, as well, do not have the same regard for animals as you may be used to. It might be difficult, say, to take your dog for a walk in the streets and your cat might encounter diseased animals around it when it’s out alone at night.


Ask yourself this: will your pet benefit from the move or will they suffer? If the latter, then leave it behind with a relative or friend.

Useful Links

Bringing Birds to Korea – a fascinating blog post on one teacher’s experience taking her pet birds to Korea from the US

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Posted in Finding TEFL Jobs, Teaching Around The World.

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