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Moving For Work? Avoid These International Pet Etiquette Faux Pas

Published on: August 20, 2015  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Moving For Work? Avoid These International Pet Etiquette Faux Pas http://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/blog/moving-for-work-avoid-these-international-pet-etiquette-faux-pas @starwoodpetmoveIt may seem shocking, but not everyone looks at your pet through the same adoring eyes that you do. And if the people doing the looking live in a foreign country . . . well, let’s just say checking into the local pet etiquette is a must if you’re planning an international move for work.

Of course you want to take Fluffy and Fido with you – they’re part of your family. But bear in mind your pet’s behavior (and yours) reflect on your employer and home country when you’re living/working in a foreign country. No pressure there! Being on your best behavior makes the best impression, and you won’t have to worry about committing faux pas.

We’ve sprinkled in some silly, humorous foreign laws here – but the point is serious. Different countries and even towns have different regulations, based on cultural opinions of dogs and cats, typical living accommodations, etc. It’s your job to know the rules and make sure your kitty and pooch are “petiquette” poster kids.

What’s annoying here is annoying there, too.

Your bird-loving neighbor doesn’t appreciate Fluffy the cat’s fixation on her bird feeder and birdbath. The guy down the street with the beautiful garden doesn’t appreciate cleaning up Fluffy’s “residue” from his rose beds. These people think your cat should stay home. And depending on your new destination country, Fluffy may be required to stay indoors.

Now, if you’re relocating to Japan, she’ll be able to go outside during the day, but cats aren’t allowed out in public after 8pm. In some cities around the world, you’ll have to leash up your kitty to take her out for some air. If you move to Turin, Italy, you’ll be doing that a lot, because the law says you must walk pets at least three times a day.

In Singapore, the Housing and Development Board does not allow cats in their high-rise apartment buildings, because they “cause disturbance, shed and caterwaul, all disrupting neighborliness.” No HDB housing for Fluffy, then.

No offense to Fido, but dogs tend to commit more faux pas than cats. So consider this:

  • Pooper-scooper laws are ubiquitous these days. And you shouldn’t need a law to know it’s a first-rate faux pas NOT to pick up after your pet. Always be prepared. Along the same line, it’s never acceptable to allow pets to urinate on other people’s property, whether that’s a building, street, shrub or lawn. Cleaning up after your dog extends to slobber, if Fido is inclined that way. Carry a washcloth or some tissues so you can mop up after him, if necessary, when you go visiting.
  • Off-leash is off the table. Fido may have graduated first in his obedience class with an A+ in recall, but leash him in public anyway. No one can tell by looking that he will obey you, and imagine how devastated you’d be if something spooked him and he dodged in front of a vehicle or knocked a child off her bike. Find out if there is a dog park or a beach where you can let Fido run loose and stretch his legs.
  • Some people don’t even want to meet Fido. They may be afraid of dogs – especially true of younger children -- or you may be in a country where cultural customs consider dogs to be dirty. Keep Fido close, and wait for someone to ask if they can approach you for a friendly pet. 
  • Silence is golden. Yours and Fido’s. While no one wants to hear a barking dog, no one wants to hear you yelling at your pup if he misbehaves, either. Practice obedience, and don’t put your dog in situations where he will feel the need to bark up a storm.

We found a Beijing law that allows just one dog per household and restricts dogs to 14” or smaller. Better double-check that if you’re being transferred to Beijing and Fido is a golden retriever.

If you have a choice over where you relocate for work, Fido votes for Sweden. There, dog day care centers are required to provide sunny windows to accommodate doggie viewing pleasure. Fluffy votes for neighboring Norway, because only male cats and dogs can be neutered there. (Of course, it’s probably too late for Fluffy on that score, anyway.)

If your destination is Switzerland, you may be in the market for another pet soon after you arrive, because this country requires pets to have a companion. (And, by the way, we read that prospective dog owners must pass a verbal and written test.)

Bad manners and generally inconsiderate behavior are always faux pas, for people as well as pets. But sometimes mistakes happen. If you or Fluffy or Fido commits a pet blunder, remember it’s appropriate to apologize in any language.  

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.