Travel is something so many of us love to do. What’s better than traveling? Traveling with your pet! That said, whether you are going for a vacation or moving, there are several things that you need to know before taking your furry friend with you. It’s important to educate yourself on the regulations of the airline and state or country that you will be traveling to. Here are some tips to help with the process.
There are a few things your pet will need regardless of where you are traveling:
- 16 digit microchip number (or a microchip reader for your microchip if not ISO compatible)
- Rabies Certificate
- Certificate of Health (whether for the airline, state, or country)
Domestic vs. International Travel
The requirements for domestic and international travel can vary extensively and within each.
Domestic (Interstate) Travel
Domestic health certificates are a paper form that will be sent with you for personal record and shipping, and a copy that your veterinarian will send to the USDA office in anticipation of your departure. A health exam and certificate must be obtained within ten days of your departure date, so plan accordingly with your veterinarian to ensure you can meet this time frame.
A wonderful resource for helping you know everything you need to travel with your pet is the USDA APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) website: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/interstate-pet-travel.
International health certificates are done electronically; however, depending on the country you are traveling to, there may be other paper documentation, testing, or pdf forms that will need to be added. Again, utilize the APHIS website; it is an imperative resource and quite user-friendly to navigate. For International travel, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/take-pet-to-foreign-country.
Here you will select your destination country and follow the prompts on the next page to find an explanation of the steps you will need to take to ready yourself and your pet for travel.
Here it will give you important information for the requirements and step-by-step guides for how to fill out your health certificate or PDF attachment, and any additional tests that may be required.
There are several different types of requirements when it comes to international travel.
- International Health Certificate and rabies certificate
- International Health Certificate, rabies vaccination, and rabies titer
- International Health Certificate, rabies vaccination, rabies titer, and disease testing
Most countries will also require the rabies vaccination be given a minimum of 21-30 days before arrival, and that the microchip was implanted on the same day or after rabies vaccination. If a titer and/or additional testing is required, it is important to discuss timing with your veterinarian to ensure results are received within the given window for travel validity.
Just like domestic health exams and certificates, the exam must be done within ten days of your arrival date. At East Bend Animal Hospital, our exams for preventative care and health certificates book out three to four weeks so it is important to start the process at least a month in advance pending any additional testing that is necessary.
The USDA APHIS website offers several helpful checklists to help you stay on track as well.
You can view the checklist for obtaining international health certificates here: aphis.usda.gov/pet-travel/checklist-for-obtaining-international-health-certificate.pdf
You can view the checklist for shipping your health certificate to the USDA endorsement office here (if applicable): aphis.usda.gov/pet-travel/checklist-ship-hc.pdf
Traveling internationally can be a stressful endeavor even without your precious pet, so staying proactive is very important. Clients who need an international health certificate will need to prepare any external documentation themselves. For example, if a person is traveling to Europe with their pet, they will need to fill out the external PDF certificate for the doctor to sign at the health exam, and come prepared with a shipping label to mail the health certificate to the USDA’s office for official endorsement. Your veterinarian will then sign the pdf, upload it and submit it through the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS), and, pending the USDA endorsement, you are set to go!
Written by: Harriet Burquist