Are you planning a trip or a move with your pets? Plan ahead!
- Be sure that your pet is up-to-date on fecal and heartworm testing, as well as vaccinations. Even if you don’t normally vaccinate your dog for upper respiratory infections such as Bordetella or Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), you may want to consider doing so prior to travel; the Chicago-based outbreak of CIV that occurred a few years ago started at an airport. Your pet should also be microchipped with an AVID-compatible chip (most modern chips are).
- Many airlines require a health certificate or a certificate of veterinary inspection; these typically must be filled out within a certain time frame before you fly. Check with your airline ahead of time for guidelines. If you’re flying from state to state (interstate), you may need an interstate health certificate. Import/Export requirements may also very by state. The USDA-APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services) has created a helpful website to check your specific state requirements.
- International travel is a bit more complicated, but don’t panic – we’ve got you covered! The key is to start doing your research early, once you know you’ll be traveling, to make sure you’ve got plenty of time.
- Visit the USDA-APHIS website for international pet export to check the requirements for the country you’re visiting. You’ll need a number of forms that you can print out from the site, including an international health certificate. Your veterinarian will need to complete this, and then you are responsible for making sure it is signed by the state veterinarian within 10 days of your departure. You can do this by sending the certificate via FedEx, or by scheduling an appointment at the Richmond office and taking it there yourself.
- It’s also a good idea to contact the embassy or consulate of your destination country to double-check these requirements. Some countries have very strict requirements and specific time frames; other less so.
- If your international flight has a layover, check the pet travel requirements of the layover country as well, to make sure that there won’t be a problem with your pet’s papers if your flight is delayed.
- Have extra copies of your pet’s vaccination record, last two rabies certificates, and documentation of any medical conditions they have (as well as any medications they may be taking).
- If possible, find a veterinarian at your destination before you travel, in the event of any unexpected issues or if follow-up care is needed for a pre-existing condition.