How to travel internationally with your dog

Going for vacations is incredibly fun but having to leave your dog behind can put a bit of a dampener on the mood. Fortunately, that is not something you need to do anymore. More and more people have begun to take their dogs on vacation making the entire vacation an even more joyful experience. If you are someone who wants to take their dog on vacation with them, we strongly encourage you to do so. However, there are certain things that you need to do before you travel with him or her. To make life simpler, we have created a checklist for you. This list is an extensive ‘how to travel internationally with your dog’ list. If you follow everything mentioned here, you should have no problem while you travel internationally with your dog.

Here is what you need to keep in mind:

1)  Country requirements:

There are multiple reasons why this is important. You have to first check whether or not your dog’s breed is banned in the country you are traveling to. If it is not a banned breed, then you have to look at the requirements specified by the country in question. These will include a number of health requirements. You must note down each of these requirements. This instruction might sound a little complicated but if you check CDC’s page on traveling internationally with your pet, it includes a link that allows you to check the requirements specific to your destination country.

2) Rabies:

Rabies is among the biggest threats to a dog’s health. Therefore, you also need to see whether or not a country is a rabies-free country. Being rabies-free means the country does not have to control the spread of rabies, as it is not an issue for this country anymore. However, being rabies-free also means that your dog is going to have a lot of problems in getting through customs, especially if you’re coming from a rabies-controlled country. This problem occurs because it is in the country’s interests to stay rabies-free. If you’re going from a rabies-free country to a rabies controlled country, you will have to be extra cautious with your pet.

3) Going to the vet:

This is a follow up to #1. You need to take your dog to the vet and get him or her checked. Get blood tests done to check that your pet is in good shape health-wise and get any vaccinations that the destination country might require. There are several vaccinations that your dog might need, such as canine influenza, parainfluenza, and others. Even if your dog is in perfect health, it is better to get a check-up, rather than face any problems later. You will also need a certificate from your doctor called a veterinary health certificate. Ensure that your vet is an accredited vet. You should also get a microchip put in your dog for safety purposes. It will help you keep track of your pet in case you misplace him or her.

4)    Travel documents:

We have already covered one part of this; the health certificate. You might also need a pet passport. Though some countries may not require a pet passport, it is better to have one. It is possible that you might travel to another country in the future, which does require a pet passport. Additionally, having a passport is just safer, and therefore, you should get one made.


5)    Quarantine:

While having a look at the health requirements, you should also check whether the country mandates quarantining your dog and if so, for how long. Not only does this requirement make things more complicated, but it can also be quite scary. It is better to be aware and be prepared, rather than suffer a rude shock later.

6)    Airlines:

Before you book your tickets, you must keep in mind that most airlines have different rules for traveling with pets. Some might allow you to keep the pets with you, while other airlines require you to put them in the cargo hold. It is also mandatory for you to put your dog in a container if he or she has to be put in the cargo hold. You will have to purchase the same. If you have a layover, you’ll have to collect your dog and care for him or her. Therefore, you must contact the airline and understand what is permitted and prepare accordingly. You can also check online which airlines are the most pet-friendly airlines, to make your life easier.

7)    Preparation:

If your dog is traveling internationally you must start to prepare him and her for the journey. Otherwise, it will be an extremely difficult journey for him or her. If your pet is not used to carriers, you must start easing him or her into it, so that they don’t face trouble in a multi-hour flight. You must also plan according to your pet, and therefore not go anywhere with extreme weather conditions, be it heat or cold. Your dog will not be able to adjust to it. You must also try and avoid causing stress to your pet. If he or she needs to go into the cargo hold, it is better to check in early. On the other hand, if your dog is traveling with you in the cabin, it is better to check in late.

We hope we have made things easier for you to plan. Once you have done everything mentioned on the list, you will not any problems while traveling with your dog, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding. While we have covered everything you need to do, it is understandable that you may still be a little concerned. Therefore, we suggest that you have a look at the CDC website, the American Veterinary Medical Association website, and the US Department of Agriculture pet travel website for any remaining questions or doubts that you may have.

While traveling with your pet, there is no such thing as too much preparation. Therefore, we advise that you cover not only the mandatory but also the precautionary steps that we have mentioned above. We hope you and your dog have a safe and happy journey!