Headed for another country soon? International travel can be both enjoyable and stress-free if you know how to prepare in advance for the trip. Just like people, pets are required to have certain documentation in order to pass through international borders. This is due to a number of factors, including being able to identify your pet, protecting the health of your pet, and ensuring you are not bringing in any harmful illnesses to the people and animals in the country you are visiting.Do you know what documents you need to bring along? Here is a quick guide to the 6 pieces of paperwork your pet needs for traveling abroad.
Health Certificate/Certificate of Veterinary Inspection
Regardless of where you may travel with your pet, you will want to request a copy of your pet’s complete medical record from your veterinarian. This is often called a certificate of health or a pet health record. Get this document at least 6-8 weeks before your planned trip. The American Veterinarian Medical Association recommends that all pet owners choose a federally accredited veteran to obtain a full check-up and a signed certificate. Some airlines also require an acclimation certificate, which advises that your pet is not showing any signs of illness or symptoms of a disease. Once you return home, take your pet to the same vet for a follow-up to ensure its health.
Evidence of Vaccinations
The most commonly requested paperwork you will need for a traveling is your pet’s complete record of all vaccinations it has had since birth. Work with your veterinarian to provide a list of shots and vaccinations that are up to date and in compliance with the nation you will be visiting. Before you prepare for your trip, contact the embassy for the country you are going to be traveling to and get a list of the required vaccinations. The US Department of State provides a directory of embassies around the world, with contact information. See our article where we discuss what you need to know about pet vaccinations before traveling here.
All pets should be microchipped and registered long before traveling to another country. Before you head for your new destination, be sure to validate this microchip and update any and all contact information. Include your new cell phone information as well as a secondary address where you will be staying while in the new country. Always keep this identification, along with a series of photos of your pet, on your person. Once you arrive in the new country, select a veterinarian and make sure this information is in their records too.
Special Health Records
If your pet is undergoing any treatments for heartworm, FelineHIV, internal parasites, cancer, or another illness, you will need a clean bill of health before traveling with your pet. Get this from your veterinarian. Remember, if your pet is showing any symptoms of illness, it’s unwise to try to bring them on any kind of international travel. Your pet can and will be detained for an extended quarantine and could become more sick or die during travel.
All pets must be vaccinated against the deadly rabies disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year around 59,000 people worldwide die from being infected by rabies, and in some African and Asian countries this accounts for nearly 98% of the total deaths. Children under the age of 15 are most vulnerable to rabies. Rabies can spread quickly through the saliva of infected animals, therefore if a pet is not vaccinated or have an up-to-date rabies certificate, it could be barred from the country.
Emotional Support Animal or Disability Assistance Certificate
Many travelers bring their emotional support or therapy animals with them, to help them cope with certain health conditions such as post-traumatic-stress-disease (PTSD), anxiety, autism, cancer, and other conditions. Others have disability assistance animals who make sure they get safely to their destination and can function in the world, such as those travelers who are blind, deaf, or have other disabilities. If you are disabled and require your pet to accompany you at all times, be sure to bring your ESA certificate or DA certificate with you to document this.
If you have any questions about the above paperwork or arranging for safe international travel for your pet, be sure to connect with the caring experts at Pacific Pet.