International Travel With Pets

International travel with pets is possible, it just involves plenty of planning and prep work.

Where you are traveling to will make a big difference as to what you will need to do to prepare for your pet’s trip. Depending on the duration and destination of your trip it may not be worth your time and effort to do the prep work.

Traveling to Canada is probably the easiest, so if you are taking a quick trip to the north the process is minimal. Travel to an island nation (such as United Kingdom, Japan, Guam, and even Hawaii) is a much longer and more difficult undertaking. Other countries fall somewhere in the middle.

Before You Travel: Start Planning Well In Advance

It is critically important that all of the importing country’s requirements are met to their standards. (We cannot stress this fact enough!) If there is a problem with any of the paperwork at the destination or they require something that was not done, the country has every right to demand that the pet be put back on the next plane returning home, and at the owner’s expense. Every country will have its own rules and regulations as to what needs to be done and how far in advance.

Start at Home

Your first step should be to visit the USDA’s website and review the export/import requirements for the species (dog/cat) and destination country. Here is the link to their website APHIS USDA Home page.

Forms, Forms, and More Forms

Many countries will require an International Health Certificate (Form 7001) that is issued by a veterinarian that has been accredited by the USDA within 10 days of travel. Dr. David Cloutier and Dr. Laura Tardiff both have this accreditation and are able to prepare these forms for approval as well as sign these forms as the examining veterinarian. In most cases these forms will then need to be endorsed by an official USDA veterinarian.

Obtaining their endorsement can be tricky as the nearest official USDA veterinarian that signs these is in Albany, NY. Paperwork is now submitted electronically by us and typically returned to you by overnight carrier. Typical processing time within their office can be up to 5 days due to their volume and individual foreign country timelines required.

Most countries will also have their own requirements and importation forms in addition to the health certificate. The USDA-APHIS website will break the requirements down by species. Members of the European Union now require a form officially named “Non-commercial movement into a Member State from a territory or third country of dogs, cats or ferrets in accordance with Article 5(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council”. This six page bi-lingual document is required in addition to the health certificate discussed above.

Helpful Hints

  • It is a good idea to check with the destination country’s embassy/consulate to see if any requirements have recently changed.
  • All pets will need to be up to date on all of their vaccines but the most important one is Rabies. Rabies vaccines may also have a specific timeline as to when it is done in relation to the travel date.
  • Travel to foreign countries frequently requires you pet having a microchip implanted. Make sure that the one that your pet has is one that has 15 digit microchip that meets ISO standards 11784/11785 are required by almost all countries. (We have these here and are able to administer them.)
  • If you are interested in taking your pet with you on your next trip abroad our staff can assist you in understanding what requirements you have to meet and when if you have any questions.

Get the best care for your best friend.

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