Pet Travel Certificates

Whether you’re planning on traveling domestically or internationally, you will usually require a health certificate for your pet. We can help with the necessary paperwork to allow your pet to join you on your travels.

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Domestic travel certificates for cats & dogs

If you’d like to take your cat or dog with you when traveling domestically within the United States, you’ll generally need to provide a travel certificate of some sorts, or at the very least, vaccination records signed by your veterinarian.

The regulations vary depending on which state you’re traveling to, and how you’re getting there – certain airlines have different requirements and specific forms for you to fill out about your pet. Our doctors can advise on what exactly you need.

International travel certificates for cats & dogs

If you’re planning on taking your pet abroad, it’s important to plan ahead. Some countries have strict health requirements and restrictions on entry; for example, many countries require your pet to have received a current rabies vaccination no less than 30 days before travel. Some countries may also require your pet to be quarantined for a certain amount of time upon arrival.

Many of our doctors are USDA-accredited, which means they can complete the paperwork required for your pet’s international travel. Please contact us before booking your appointment, so we can determine the exact requirements for your planned travel and ensure you’re able to get the travel certificate you need. You may also find the USDA’s Pet Travel website helpful.

What to take with you when traveling with your cat or dog

When packing your bags, make sure you’ve got everything you need for your furry family member. As well as all their usual creature comforts, make sure you have:

Records: Physical and digital copies of their travel certificate, vaccine records and any other important medical records.

Emergency contact: A contact number for the nearest emergency veterinary hospital at your destination.

Medication: A good supply of any medication your pet takes.

ID tag: An ID tag with your cell phone number (and if appropriate, the country code needed to call from your destination).

Microchip: Ensure your pet has the correct microchip for your destination (we can check for you) and that your contact details with the microchip company are up to date.

Carrier: A crate or pet carrier that’s approved for travel. If you’re traveling by plane, your airline will have different requirements depending on whether your pet is traveling in the cabin with you, or as cargo. Cabin carriers must allow sufficient room for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down, and must also fit under the seat in front of you. Cargo pet carriers must again allow sufficient room, and must be made of rigid materials. Check with your airline for specific requirements.

Water bowl: A travel water bowl to keep them hydrated.

Our app: Download our app to make sure you can contact us for advice if you’re ever concerned about your pet while you’re away. Our medical team is available on the app 24/7, so no matter what time zone you’re in, we’re here for you!

Common questions

  • When do I need a travel certificate?
    You’ll need a travel certificate for any international travel, and for some domestic interstate travel. Some states may only require signed vaccination records instead of a formal travel certificate. If you’re traveling inside your home state, you do not require a travel certificate unless you’re traveling by plane.
  • Do I need a travel certificate if I’m not traveling by plane?
    Yes, you’ll still need a travel certificate when crossing borders by car, train or boat.
  • Do I need a new travel certificate for each trip?
    Yes, for each separate trip, international or domestic, you will need a new travel certificate. If you are going to multiple destinations in one trip, you may need multiple certificates depending on your destinations. For example, most countries in Europe have the same requirements for pets, but if you are traveling to different continents, they all have their own unique restrictions.
  • Do I need an appointment to get a travel certificate?
    If we have seen your pet recently, you won’t need an appointment to get a certificate for domestic travel. For international travel, you will need a wellness appointment. Your travel destination will determine how far in advance you will need an appointment. Please contact us before booking your appointment, so we can ensure you’re booked with a USDA-accredited doctor if required for your destination.
  • How long does it take to get a travel certificate?
    Domestic travel forms and certificates can be prepared fairly quickly. For international travel, the length of time depends on your travel destination. Some countries only require the international health certificate and an exam within 10 days of travel. Other countries may require a blood test, for example, that needs time to process. Our team can outline a more exact timeline once we know where you are traveling.
  • Can you guarantee my travel certificate will be ready in time?
    Depending on your destination, it can take some time to fulfill the requirements for travel. Any certificates for international travel must be endorsed (stamped) by the USDA with a physical copy mailed back. Consequently, we recommend you reach out to us in advance of your travel dates to ensure we allow enough time for processing – a minimum of 10 days is required for most countries, with some taking much longer. Provided the process begins far enough in advance, almost all travel certificates will be ready in time. At Small Door, we will always do everything within our power to meet your travel dates, but please note that since we work with third parties such as the USDA and approved couriers (including FedEx & UPS), we unfortunately cannot be held responsible in the unlikely event of a delay at their end.
  • Can you provide travel certificates for any country in the world?
    We can help you obtain the necessary paperwork for almost any country in the world, with the current exception of Turkey. Please note that if you’re traveling to New Zealand, Jamaica, or South Africa, you will also need to utilize the services of a pet travel agency due to the complexity of these countries’ requirements. We can provide recommendations for specific travel agencies depending on your circumstances.
  • Do I need a pet passport?
    You do not need a pet passport in the United States. If you and your pet will be traveling consistently in a different country or continent, you may consider getting a pet passport for that area. For example, if you travel throughout Europe, a certified EU veterinarian can provide an EU passport for your pet. A veterinarian in the United States cannot issue an international pet passport.
  • Is my service animal or ESA (Emotional Support Animal) subject to the same regulations?
    Yes, even if your pet is a service animal or ESA, they will still require a travel certificate and be subject to the same health regulations as other pets. Please note that due to changes in regulations, ESAs are now only permitted to travel in the cabin on certain airlines.
  • Does my pet need a rabies titer test?
    Depending on your travel destination, your pet may need a rabies titer test. This is a blood test performed by an external laboratory to ensure that your pet has the necessary antibodies against rabies. Some destinations that require a rabies titer test include Australia, China, Hawaii (US), Japan, Korea & New Zealand. The current turnaround time for a rabies titer test is 4-6 weeks, so please plan accordingly!

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