Pet Travel Certificates Explained

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If you’re planning a trip and your furry friend is tagging along, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in preparation. Planning ahead is key. From traveling to a different state to jetting to another country, requirements will differ based on your destination.

Domestic Travel Certificates

When traveling with your pet domestically, it’s always a good idea to bring a general health certificate and a copy of your pet’s vaccines and medical records. If you are traveling by plane, requirements may vary depending on the airline you fly with.

Many airlines will have a specific form for your veterinarian to fill out, or some may just want proof of your pet’s vaccinations. Make sure you contact your airline before your flight to check off any requirements they have.

Health certificates required for domestic travel can come together quickly and generally don’t need more than a few days to prepare. It’s best to check with your airline, as some require documentation in advance for your pet.

International Travel Certificates

Preparation is essential when traveling abroad with your pet. At a minimum, most countries require an international health certificate. This is a certificate detailing information about you and your pet as well as any required vaccines or treatments needed to enter the country. Each country has a unique version of the international health certificate.

A USDA-accredited veterinarian will issue and fill out the international health certificate after examining your pet. The paperwork is then sent to the USDA where a government veterinarian will endorse the international health certificate and approve your pet for entry to your destination.

This process usually needs to be done at least 10 days in advance of your travel.

International travel certificates usually need to be completed at least 10 days in advance of your travel, and have to be mailed to the USDA, so it’s best to plan ahead as much as you can.

What other tests or treatments does my pet need to travel internationally?

The additional tests and treatments needed for your pet to go abroad depends entirely on your destination. Many countries require a 21-day waiting period after your pet receives their rabies vaccination. Some countries require no further measures apart from the international health certificate. Others require testing your pet’s rabies antibody levels through a rabies titer test. Some countries like Japan and Australia even require a 180 day waiting period after this test is performed.

You can find the specific requirements for your destination on the USDA’s Pet Travel Website. Our USDA-accredited doctors at Small Door can also help guide you through the pet travel certificate process to make things as smooth as possible for you and your pet.

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