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Traveling with Pets
Traveling With Your Pet
Traveling with your pet can be a great adventure if you are adequately prepared for your trip. The staff at Minnehaha Animal Hospital recommends that you research the regulations of the area you are traveling to and cover all of your bases.
Traveling by car:
When taking your pet by car, be sure that the places you have mapped out are pet friendly (i.e. rest stops and hotels). Take along proof of their rabies vaccination, not only the tag, but a signed rabies certificate. Be sure to bring plenty of your pet’s regular food and medication. Changing your pet’s diet during travel can cause severe digestive discomfort. Some states require a health certificate, even if you are just passing through. Please check the requirements of all the states that you will be traveling through. Every state has different ordinances; some may fine you, others may quarantine your pet. If your pet is not yet microchipped, you may want to have this quick procedure done prior to departure. That way, if you were to become separated and the collar and tags lost, anyone who finds your pet can still get in contact with you.
Traveling by Airplane:
When traveling interstate or internationally with your pet, there can be a lot of paperwork. Airlines often require a current health certificate. This form is completed by a veterinarian upon physical exam, stating that your pet is healthy enough to travel and not carrying any infectious diseases. It is signed by a veterinarian and you, the pet owner. This certificate must be issued within 10 days of travel.
If you will be traveling out of the continental United States, you must contact your destination point to find out what they require for pet import. This should be done as soon as you know you will be traveling. This can be a very time-consuming process, usually requiring extra testing, paperwork, a special microchip and vaccinations. For example, if you will be traveling to Hawaii, it takes about six months of preparation including vaccinations, titers and quarantine. Timing is crucial since the health certificate (which is required) must be issued within 10 days of travel. Click here for links to websites containing helpful information.
Be sure to contact your airline to make sure your crate is of appropriate construction and dimensions.
When you leave your pet home:
If you feel that your pet would be better off at home, be sure that proper care is arranged. If you’re having a friend or family member come to your home, be sure that they are able to medicate your pet if needed. It is always a good idea to leave emergency contact information. (For instance: your clinic name and phone number, a list of current medications including dosage, emergency clinic contact information and a medical authorization form giving them permission to authorize treatment.) This form should include what type of heroic measures should be taken, if any. If you are going to have your pet stay at a boarding facility, get recommendations from friends and family members. Boarding facilities have a wide range of offerings. Some have TVs in the runs, group play times, and some even have swimming pools. Take the time to make sure that the facility offers the amenities that will help your pet feel more at home. All boarding facilities have vaccination requirements; be sure to check with them on what they require and verify that your pet is current. Pets must be vaccinated before boarding, so schedule your vaccine appointment at least a week in advance of your trip.
International Travel With Pets
Each country has it’s own requirements for traveling with dogs, cats, birds and other pets. The process can take weeks to over a month. Be sure to do your research and check the requirements of the country to which you are traveling plenty of time in advance. *Please note: While Hawaii is not international, they do have very strict requirements. You will need to start the process for Hawaii at least 1 month in advance.
Below are some helpful links for traveling abroad with your pet.
- USDA/APHIS/VS State List —
- USDA/APHIS/VS International Export Regulations — Will list the requirements for each country
- USDA/APHIS Animal Welfare Pet Travel
- USDA/APHIS Companion Animals Travel
- AVMA Acclimation Certificate Policy
- Pet Friendly Travel (links to government websites)
- Pet Express — Travel Assistance for International Travel