How exciting that our four-legged companions can accompany us to so many destinations these days! However, whether you are traveling by personal vehicle or commercial airline, simply crossing state lines or flying internationally, there are many things a pet owner needs to be aware of.
Regulations for traveling with pets change frequently - especially for international travel. Please be advised that it is the pet owner's responsibility to verify travel arrangements and the required documents. Pet owners are being turned away with increasing frequency at the airport because they do not have all of the required documentation needed! Please do your homework.
Well in advance of travel, we encourage all clients to visit the appropriate websites and compile a list of required information and documentation. Different governing authorities may require various documents in addition to a standard health certificate which can be issued from our office.
Here are some items that need to be verified:
- Time constraints - Do the dates of the health certificate, rabies vaccination, etc fall within the correct time limits?
- Vaccinations - What are the vaccination requirements for your pet, specific to your destination or means of travel? What documentation is needed? Was my pet vaccinated elsewhere and do I have the documentation?
- Types of Documents Required - Our hospital will provide documentation of any vaccinations given here, plus a completed Certified Veterinary Inspection document (or a USDA APHIS Form 7001 Health Certificate when accepted) when a Health Certificate Examination is performed at our facility. Additional forms, documents and/or certificates may be required depending on the destination. We advise our clients to consider having additional forms completed by a professional pet transportation company. Please be aware that some countries require completion of their own certificate in their native language.
Prior to scheduling your appointment for your pet's health certificate examination, please visit the following website as well as your airline's website (if flying with your pet) for more information and specifications.
United States Department of Agriculture. This is a good place to start your research. You can also reach the California office at 916-854-3900. When you are issued a health certificate from your clinic, it will be a USDA APHIS health certificate. The USDA site also has a page of Frequently Asked Questions which is fairly comprehensive.
The USDA APHIS Pet Travel page is a quick and direct way to view requirements for traveling with your pet to specific countries. This page is a great resource.
The USDA website also has a Pet-Travel Checklist which we highly recommend printing, completing and bringing with you to your Health Certificate Examination.
There are also a number of professional pet transportation companies. One example is Air Animal and they consistently receive good reviews. They complete most of the paperwork and can also help with travel arrangements. They can be called directly at 800-635-3448.
Lastly, as mentioned above, if traveling by plane, we strongly recommend visiting your airline's website or calling directly to verify the required documentation and any additional requirements or restrictions at the airline may require.