If traveling or moving abroad with your pet is your goal, then you have research to do before you can wing your way to your international destination. While it can be fun to bring Fluffy or Fido along for the ride, international travel with pets requires a lot of advance planning and preparation. Read on to learn how you should prepare to take your pet abroad.

Requirements for International Travel with Pets

Canada and Mexico

Travel across America’s borders to Mexico and Canada is easier than flying overseas to your destination. You will still need a valid rabies certificate and time to obtain a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the health certificate process.

Hopping on a plane to Paris on a whim with your Chihuahua in tow just isn’t feasible and requires more advanced planning. As soon as you know that you will be traveling with a pet, get started and be sure to check into:

Destination entry requirements – Most countries have certain requirements that must be met in order for a pet to enter their borders. These may include a list of vaccinations within certain timeframes, demonstration of vaccination tiers, parasite prevention, microchipping, and quarantine requirements. The cost and/or inconvenience of some of these may make you think twice about bringing a pet along for shorter travel. Your pet will also need an International health certificate to fly into a different country.  Check these requirements and the timeframe in which they must be completed by contacting the USDA Veterinary Services Center in your area.

Airline requirements – Besides the individual country having requirements, individual airlines do as well. Contact the airline to find out if there are breed or size restrictions or temperature flight restrictions you need to know about. Nothing is worse than getting to your departure gate only to find that you don’t have everything that you need to get your pet on board. Most require an international health certificate issued within 10 days of travel.

Re-entry requirements – If you are bringing your pet back into the United States, look into the re-entry requirements. These may vary depending on where you are coming back from.

Preparing Your Pet for Travel

Having all of your ducks in a row in terms of paperwork is just the start. You also need to have your pet ready to fly! All pets handle flying differently. It is best to take steps in advance to make the trip as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

If you are traveling with your pet, find out if your pet will be:

Carried on and stowed under your seat

Checked as baggage, or

Shipped as cargo

Try to schedule a flight with no (or few) layovers and time the flight so as to avoid extreme heat or cold.

Take the time to get your pet used to the carrier that he or she will be flying in. It is often best to not sedate your pet, however if you have concerns please let us know.

Traveling internationally with pets takes a lot of preparation and knowledge to ensure that your beloved four-legged friends have a good and safe flight. If you think that you will need to travel out of the country with your pet, let your veterinary team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital know right away so that we can begin helping you do everything that needs to be done to get your pet where he or she needs to go.