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Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel


Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – One of the most time-consuming and often frustrating aspects of organizing an international move for your pet is the paperwork.

The US has export rules, though they’re minimal, every airline has rules and every destination country has rules.

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – It’s critical to understand and follow all the rules that apply to your pets, to ensure their entry into your new country goes smoothly.

All the documentation serves the same basic purpose – to validate your pet’s health.

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – Nobody wants to transport an animal that might be ill, and no country wants to allow entry for animals that could bring contagious diseases or parasites.

Therefore, proof of relevant vaccinations is a must.

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – What Vaccinations are Required?

Nearly every destination requires a rabies vaccination.

Many countries require your pet’s rabies vaccination to be at least 30 days old but less than one year old at the time of travel.

That means if your dog or cat received a 3-year vaccination more than a year ago they will need a booster to meet the timing requirement.

You’ll have to provide a signed rabies certificate.

Cats and/or dogs may need additional vaccinations, too, depending on the destination country.

Additionally, if your pet will be boarding before or after their travels, they will require other vaccinations. 


Vaccinations Pets Need Before International TravelStop at Your Vet First

If you are traveling internationally, tell your veterinarian about your plans as soon as possible.

Together, you can make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel and meets the requirements for your destination country and for your return to the United States.

Requirements May Include

Blood tests
Microchips for identification
Health certificates

Airlines and countries often have different requirements, so make sure you know what the specific ones are.

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – Research How to Fly with Your Pet

Talk to your vet about your travel plans and your dog’s rabies vaccination.

Talk to your vet about your travel plans and your dog’s rabies vaccination.

Give yourself plenty of time to do your homework before your trip. A great place to start is the Pet Travel website of the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).


Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel -Airlines

Different airlines have different rules about whether and how a pet can travel.

Depending on the airline, your pet may be able to travel on your flight either in the cabin or in the cargo hold.

Confirm this ahead of time with your airline.

On airlines that allow pets to travel, only small dogs and cats that can fit in special carriers under the seat are allowed in the cabin.

Their owners must care for them during any layovers.

Some airlines may not allow them in the cabin and will transport them as cargo in a heated and ventilated hold.

Cats and dogs may travel and rest better this way, since it is quieter and darker, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Another way for your pet to travel is on a separate flight as an air cargo shipment.

If this is your preference, or a requirement based on your dog’s size or the destination country’s rules, then get your pet used to the shipping kennel ahead of time.

Make sure the door latches securely to avoid any mishaps in transit.

Ask your veterinarian for advice about when to give food and water.

If a pet is traveling as an air cargo shipment, you must make arrangements for pickup at the final destination.

Some US carriers don’t allow pets to be shipped between May and September, the hottest months for animals to travel in the Northern Hemisphere.

No matter what time of year, safety is always a concern when pets travel by airplane.

If absolutely necessary for a dog or cat to travel in cargo, it must be in a sturdy container with enough room to stand and sit, to turn around normally while standing, and to lie down in a natural position.

For more information, visit the US Department of Agriculture pet travel website.

When waiting for a connecting flight, you may have to care for a pet traveling with you in the cabin, while the airline staff or ground handlers care for a pet traveling in cargo.

Check with your airline(s) beforehand to see what is required.


Vaccinations Pets Need Before International TravelDog Vaccinations

DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)
Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
CIV (Canine Influenza Virus) – required for some boarding facilities

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel

Most countries require an ISO-compatible (15-digit) microchip. Again depending on your destination country, you may need:

A USDA-endorsed international health certificate
A country-specific import permit
A rabies titer blood test
Other blood tests
Internal & external parasite treatments

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – Plan Ahead For Your Pet’s Health & Safety

It’s a good idea to research before you move (or right away after you arrive) whether there are potential local problems your pet may encounter that cannot be addressed by vaccines.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that indigenous insects, rodents, reptiles, etc. might present problems for your kitty or pup that they wouldn’t have to deal with at home. It pays to be aware.

Vaccinations Pets Need Before International Travel – Start the Paperwork Process Early

It can take weeks or months to meet all of the pet import requirements for your destination country.

First, confirm with your international pet transport company what documentation you will need and the specific timing for each item.

They can provide you with guidance along the way, which can save you countless hours of online research, phone calls, and vet office visits.

Please be aware that this is not the full list of requirements to move your pet and having a professional pet transport company in your corner will help you cover all the basics.

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