Over the past several years, our country has seen a cultural shift regarding the family pet. Once relegated to the backyard, pets are now part of the family and are allowed in many restaurants, hotels, stores, and other establishments.
Thanks to this change in perception, traveling with pets has never been easier. However, this doesn’t mean we can ignore basic safety precautions or protocols. Many countries, states, and airlines have stringent requirements when it comes to traveling with a pet, and obtaining a pet health certificate is an important step in the process.
An estimated 61% of infectious diseases among humans originate in animals, and 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases are spread from animals to humans. Also called a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, a pet health certificate is a way to prove your pet does not have an infectious disease and is otherwise healthy enough for travel.
Pets traveling by air inside the continental United States will need to have a wellness checkup and provide proof of rabies and other required vaccinations in order to receive a health certificate. Certain airlines also require an acclimation certificate. Both can be obtained by a federally accredited veterinarian.
Flying International Skies
When it comes to traveling internationally with your pet, the requirements for admission to a country can vary widely and can differ depending on the species. Weeks or even months of preparation may be needed to ensure your pet doesn’t get trapped in a foreign quarantine. For this reason, we encourage you to contact us as soon as you begin making travel arrangements so we can get started on the process for your pet.
Obtaining an International Pet Health Certificate
The following guidelines are helpful as you begin the process of traveling internationally with your pet:
- Visit the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) website to find out the animal importing requirements of your destination country. Download and read the information thoroughly.
- Some countries frequently change their requirements, so it’s important to contact the country’s travel ministry to verify the most recent set of regulations.
- Schedule a wellness exam for your pet. We’ll check that your pet is healthy enough for travel and that all required and recommended immunizations are up-to-date.
For both domestic and international trips, our own Dr. Vyfhuis is accredited and can provide any necessary certifications you and your pet might need.
A Smooth Transition
No matter how much you plan, flying is a stressful experience for pets. Help ease their anxiety by making sure they’re acclimated to their travel crate/carrier ahead of time and booking a flight with as few layovers as possible.