I'm writing this post to help my fellow animal lovers who want to take their pets out of Thailand. The information online is outdated and confusing, so I'll give some tips to successfully obtain an export permit.
1. START PLANNING NOW. Regardless of when your trip is, start planning immediately. Ideally, you'll be planning about six months before flying. There's a lot to arrange. English-speaking staff at BKK Quarantine Office: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; phone: 02-134-0731
2. Do your research on which airline meets your pet's needs. Not all airlines offer in-cabin rides for small animals. Call your airline and inform them that you'll be bringing a pet. Many airlines have restrictions on how many animals can be in the hold or in the cabin at one time. Ask your airline for their specifications on pet carrier type and size requirements. Yes, you'll be calling your airline at least once. Be patient.
3. Don't forget to figure out getting from your location to Bangkok. For example, it was not possible to fly out of Chiang Rai with a cat in the cabin OR in the cargo, and pets weren't allowed on any of the bus lines, so we ended up renting a car and driving.
4. Arrange to be in Bangkok AT LEAST 3 DAYS PRIOR to your flight. You'll need to visit the Customs Export Building at the airport for the airport vet to do a health screening. They do not take appointments, so I suggest arriving at 08:30 when they open.
5. Do your research about the vaccinations required by Thailand and by the destination country. Our cat had vaccines for "Combination" (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydiosis), Feline Leukemia, HCP+Chlam+FeLV, and Rabies. Your country might have additional requirements, but the US does not.
6. Visit your local vet and make sure that you have all current VACCINATIONS for your pet. You'll need proof of these.
7. Find a vet who will implant a MICROCHIP into your pet. THIS IS REQUIRED FOR ALL DOGS AND CATS LEAVING/ENTERING THAILAND. Make an appointment with the vet for the procedure, and be prepared to pay about 1000 Baht for the chip and accompanying paperwork. Just this morning, I personally saw a cat denied a permit because he didn't have a chip. The owner was really upset. Don't do that to yourself. IT IS REQUIRED FOR ANY DOG or CAT LEAVING/ENTERING THAILAND.
8. About a month before your trip, visit your local vet to get a signed pet HEALTH CERTIFICATE and to get your pet's vaccinations and vaccination dates translated into English. The vet's letter should include a physical description of the animal, the translated vaccine record, owner's contact information in Thailand and in the destination country and a note like this:
"I certify that this animal has been examined by me on this date and the animal appears healthy (by physical examination) and appears to be free of any infections or contagious diseases which would endanger the animal itself, other animals, or public health. The animal has also had all required vaccines."
9. Get oral deworming tabs and flea/tick prevention (e.g., Frontline) from the vet and administer to your pet 1 week before the trip.
10. Go to BKK Animal Quarantine Office between 3-10 days before departure.
Make sure to bring:
1) A copy of your passport
2) Flight itinerary
3) Form R 1/1
4) Veterinarian note of identification, health certification, and vaccination record of pet
5) Microchip information for pet
6) Copy of vaccination book for pet
Getting to the office for the health check in BKK is a little complicated. They are open Monday-Friday 8:30-16:30.
Address: Suvarnabhumi Airport Animal Quarantine, Free Zone Area, Customs Export Building, 1 st Flr, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samutprakarn Province. Tel : 02-134-0731 / Fax. 02-134-3640
The office is not in the main terminal, but in the Cargo area / FREE ZONE. Inside the Free Zone, there are lots of private cargo companies. The Customs Export Clearance Office is in a long, narrow building that runs perpendicular to the private companies. You'll see a huge docking area on the front of the building, and the numbers 1-20. The vet office is near number 20. There are two parts to the office. You'll see a sign that tells you where to start. The office is super tiny and smells like animal pee, so be prepared. Don't go on an empty stomach. You'll get a queue number and the form R1/1, unless you've already printed a copy at home. They will call your number to take your pet's picture and then call you again to go over your paperwork together. Then, your number will be called for the vet check. The vet will feel your pet's body and head, check the mouth and ears and take a rectal temperature. Finally, you'll go and wait for your official certificate and EXPORT PERMIT in the second room. GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME at the quarantine office. We needed about three hours, and it wasn't that busy.
Good luck with your pet travel!