When traveling with your pet on a plane to another country it is important to keep abreast of the often changing import requirements. Each country has different requirements for pet travel, and those requirements can change at any time without much notice. The best resource to use as you are getting ready for your trip to another country with your pet is the USDA website:
USDA APHIS Pet Travel
USDA APHIS International travel export requirements by country
Every country requires an international microchip to be placed. If your pet does not have a microchip, your veterinarian will need to place one, and then depending on the different country requirements, they may need to do the rabies vaccine again. The timeframe and requirements for this varies from country to country so definitely look up your final country destination rules far in advance in order to be able to get everything done in a timely manner. Depending on the country’s requirements, most need a veterinarian-signed health certificate and tapeworm treatment between one and five days before departure. You will also need an APHIS 7001 form filled out by your veterinarian for your flight out of the United States along with a signed rabies certificate. Lastly, you need to schedule an appointment with the USDA for the final stamp and signatures of approval after your veterinarian has done their health certificate exam and signed all the paperwork.
Here is the list of the USDA offices by state:
USDA office: phone, address, fax
USDA searchable offices by state
For some countries, you will need to start planning your trip almost a year ahead of time to achieve the best results and meet all of the country’s requirements for entry. You can call your veterinarian to get help in making an accurate timeline of the requirements you need to do before you leave, and you can also call any of the USDA offices who can email you the forms and regulations for each country as well. The countries with the most rigorous requirements are ones that are “rabies-free” or have never had a reported rabies case in their country. An updated list of those countries can be found here:
List of Rabies-Free countries
Direct flights are best to try and schedule. A discussion about additional medications your pet may need on the flight should be had with your veterinarian. Many times the airline will not allow sedatives to be used for your pet’s safety. It will be important to contact your airline directly and find out their specific requirements for pet travel as well. Some airlines require a specific type of carrier, some have weight and breed restrictions, and some airlines do not allow pets at all.
Here are some helpful links for international travel with your pet:
CDC: International travel with your pet
IATA: Traveler's Pet Corner
TSA: Traveling with pets guidelines
Jet Blue: Air travel guidelines for pets
Air Canada airlines: Guidelines for traveling with pets
Delta Airlines: Pet travel domestic and international, crate guidelines and more
With enough time, preparation, and research of your final destination country, international travel with your pet can be a smooth transition. Your veterinarian will be able to help you meet all the requirements and organize all the paperwork you will need for your travels, but it is always a good idea to do a lot of the research ahead of time, and keep in mind that rules can change. Here at Westgate Pet Clinic, we are experts when it comes to every kind of travel with your pet and we are happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction to having a fun and care free trip with your pet!