Just because you have the paperwork doesn't mean you're home free when traveling. Consider the following as well:
- Pets shouldn't be likely to give birth in travel.
- Pets should be in good health. Animals that appear sick on arrival may be detained.
- Young animals can't be vaccinated against rabies. To travel with a puppy or kitten less than three months old, you must complete and uphold a confinement agreement, which requires you to isolate the animal from other animals until 30 days after it has been vaccinated [source: CDC].
- Have your pet checked when you get back to make sure it hasn't picked up any parasites abroad.
International Pet Travel Requirements
Your pet must be clearly identified. A tag on the collar isn't enough. In some nations, a tattoo suffices. In other places, your pet will need to have implanted transponder (microchip) identification. The EU will require microchips for all pets starting in July 2011.
What else do you need? Maybe a file cabinet; documentation for pet travel can be extensive.
- Most destinations will require an International Certificate of Pet Health or CFIA health certificate.
- Some destinations require your pet's documentation to be translated into that country's language.
- Most countries monitor rabies. Some, such as Ireland, have additional vaccination and testing requirements, such as tick or tapeworm treatments. Without these records, your pet will be quarantined at the border.
- Pets coming into the United States are subject to regulation by the USDA and -- for reptiles and fish -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It's best to find the different species rules on specific government Web sites.
- The U.S. requires rabies vaccinations for dogs but not cats. However, some states do require rabies vaccinations for cats, so check local laws.
- To bring a bird into the U.S., you'll need a permit, a health certificate and a confinement agreement.
- Some countries ask for the actual paperwork that came with the rabies vaccination. This is not the sort of thing you want to learn when you get off the plane. Check well in advance with the embassy or consulate of the country you're visiting.
- If you have a comfort or therapy animal that needs access to places where animals are normally not allowed, you may need a doctor's letter attesting to your need for the animal.
- When you're entering the U.S., you must list your pet on your customs declaration card.
Is this a lot of work? Yes. Is it manageable? Yes, if you start early enough. And is it worth it? Just look at your puppy. Can you say no to that face?
To learn more about pet travel and related topics, visit the links on the next page.