Traveling With Pets Abroad

Plain and simple, pets are part of our families, so it is understandable that many people wish to bring their pets with them when they travel. Or, if you are making a move overseas, of course you will need to prepare your pet for this long journey as well.

If you are planning to take your pet with you when you travel abroad, you will first want to check with the foreign embassies of your destination countries. Most countries have specific requirements that must be met before you may bring a pet into the country, and many have specific quarantine, health, agriculture, and wildlife prohibitions and customs requirements.

You should contact the embassy for each of your destination countries as they may have differing regulations. A listing of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. is available on the Department of State’s website here:

Keep in mind that you will also need to investigate the laws of any countries in which you have a connecting flight or will be transiting through.

Once you have completed this first step, you will want to consult the airline with which you will be flying. Most airlines do allow dogs and cats to fly. However, some prohibit certain breeds of dogs from flying.

When traveling overseas, most airlines will require verification from your veterinarian that your pet has a clean bill of health. You will want to receive a written letter from your vet verifying your pet’s health no more than 10 days prior to your departure.

When preparing to travel with your pet, make sure to use common sense in providing the best care. For example, do not book your travel during extreme weather conditions such as stifling heat or freezing cold. Do not tranquilize your pet prior to travel unless your vet has specifically recommended it.

Leading up to the day when you will be traveling, make sure your pet is up to date with all of his or her medications and give him or her as much exercise as possible. If you tire your pet out, so to speak, it may make resting in a crate for a day much easier on him or her.

On the day of your departure, adequately prepare your pet and his or her travel space. Make sure that your pet’s travel crate is in perfect condition — not damaged or worn.

Clearly mark and label the crate. If you write the words “Hi, my name is ____________” on the outside, it will help airport officials to identify with your pet and to appropriately care for him or her. You may want to include a friendly little greeting such as “I love when people talk to me” or “Please take good care of me! I love people!”

Sometimes the hardest thing about transporting a pet is knowing that he or she will be out of your hands for a while. I know that you would like to hold Fluffy on your lap during the whole plane ride. But this is not always a good idea as many people are highly allergic to animals and may experience serious complications in the confined space of an airplane.

If your pet is out of your hands, trust that the airline will take good care of your pet. Ask any questions you have ahead of time to allay any of your fears. Check, double check, and triple check that you have all of the appropriate documentation and paperwork completed to transport your pet. You can then rest assured that your pet will have a safe and happy flight.

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