As pets are becoming more ingrained in our familial structures, the chances of wanting to take them with us when we travel is increasing. Whether you are traveling within the United States, or plan on traveling internationally; there are guidelines and restrictions to follow.
Planning for these travel excursions can take quite some time when done properly, and it is best to allow at least two months to prepare for domestic travel, and up to four months to prepare for international travel. Furthermore, in some cases, rabies titers (a test of an immune response against the rabies virus) are required when traveling to destinations such as Hawaii and Australia and an additional amount of time to allow for said testing is advised.
The USDA has an incredibly informative website which guides you in terms of what requirements need to be met for your specific travel plans. That website can be found at:
What specifics do I need for making travel plans for my pet?
When traveling by car, it is advised that you carry three different forms of information about your pet to ensure proper guidance and protocols are being followed. You will need your pets most recent vaccine history, a copy of their rabies certificate, and a veterinarian issued pet health certificate which details all of your pets most recent wellness exam.
Traveling by air is the most common form of travel, and it will understandably come with more stringent guidelines and rules. Above all else, it is best to call your airline to obtain their own pet travel requirements so you are not met with any surprises while at the airport. Moreover, the specific airlines may guide you in terms of what the requirements are for the country that which you are traveling to, and you can be prepared upon arrival.
There are several key questions you should address with your airline to obtain the most accurate information:
- What are your pet travel policies?
- Are large pets offered fleet cargo space? If so, will this affect the flights to choose from?
- May small pets be brought in the cabin and stowed underneath the seat or on the seat next to you?
- What are the pet carrier requirements?
- Do any pick up and drop off policies exist for pets?
- How are layovers handled when pets are on the plane?
An important thing to keep in mind is that only USDA-certified veterinarians may issue pet health certificates. If you interested in getting a pet health certificate for your pet/s, please give us a call at 714-779-2101 and we can get you started on the process.