Your pet needs to travel with or without you? Where do you begin?
Schedule a visit to see your veterinarian
Have your veterinarian check your pet's health and fitness. Traveling is stressful for a pet as it is for all of us. Make sure your pet's rabies vaccination is current and will not expire on your trip. Most all countries will require that your pet be vaccinated a specific time period prior to entering the country (except Canada which does not require a lead time on vaccinations.)
While you are at your veterinarian's office, it is a very good idea to have your dog or cat microchipped with a 15 digit ISO pet microchip, especially before it is given a rabies vaccination. Should anything happen, the information that you enter on a worldwide database can be retrieved and you will be contacted. This is why you should not forget to register your pet's microchip and keep your information current.
Will you be traveling within your country (domestic) or crossing country borders (international)?
If you are traveling domestically, then you should always travel with proof of rabies vaccination. All countries worldwide require that pets be vaccinated for rabies. It is also a good idea to travel with a health certificate issued by your veterinarian. Although it may not be enforced on the ground, a visit to the vet shortly prior to traveling is a good idea and will ensure your pet is fit for travel and has no problems with fleas or ticks.
If you are traveling internationally, then a health certificate will be required to enter any country in addition to other tests and permits. This certificate is completed by your veterinarian during a routine office visit. Some countries will accept a generic certificate and others have their own. If possible, the certificate should be translated into the language of the destination country.
Many countries require that tests be done months in advance so you must learn about your destination country's pet import regulations as soon as you make your decision to transport your pet.
Find pet import regulations for 200 countries worldwide.
Will your pet be traveling by car or by air?
If your dog or cat will be traveling in an automobile, then you will need to think about acclimating your pet to your car. This can be a stressful experience for many pets (especially cats). Here is more information on traveling with a pet by car.
If your dog or cat will be flying, then you will need to find an airline that flies the entire route, from beginning to end. The airlines will transfer your pet between their aircraft, but they will not transfer your pet to another airline company. If your pet is traveling in the cargo hold, it is extremely important that your layovers stay around 2 hours and your airline confirms that they will transit your pet through the layover airport. If you are traveling in the cabin, changing airlines could cause you to clear customs and enter the layover country and conform to their regulations.
Once you have chosen your airline, be sure that you know its pet policies and contact your airline to notify them that you will be traveling with a pet. If your pet is traveling alone, contact the cargo department of the airline for details.
Find airline pet policies for over 160 airlines worldwide.
Will you need a Pet Friendly Hotel?
Be sure and research hotel pet policies for hotels in your destination city. Be sure and make your reservations early as many hotels have a limited number of pet friendly rooms available.
It is also a good idea to note the name and address of a nearby veterinarian in case of emergencies, dog park for some exercise and a pet friendly restaurant.
Get good equipment and acclimate your pet!
It does not matter whether your pet is traveling by ground or air, your pet will need to stay safe and secure. If you have a small cat or dog, you will need a pet carrier with a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation and secure fasteners (zippers, not snaps). Your pet must fit entirely in the carrier without its head protruding and it must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.
If you have a larger dog, then you will need an IATA compliant pet crate. Crates come in various sizes, are made of hard plastic, have a metal door with a spring lock and ventilation openings on 2 or 3 sides. (for international travel, all 3 sides must have ventilation.) It is important to keep your pet confined when traveling so they will not hurt themselves or other passengers. Find out more on airline pet cargo crates.
If you are traveling in a car, you can opt for a pet harness for your pet as well.
Once you have decided on a harness, carrier or crate, then you must spend time getting your pet used to it. Start as far in advance as you can and offer treats and rewards when you see your pet using its crate. This will be their home when traveling and you need to make it a welcome place for them.
Need More Information?
We have current and accurate information on traveling with your pet by air, sea or ground. Find more Pet Travel Information
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