International Pet Travel Guide

International travel can be fun and exciting -- especially when you can share the adventure with a loved one. Sometimes that loved one is a beloved pet. See more pet pictures. ­
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­One of the great joys of traveling is sharing your new discoveries with your loved ones -- including your pets. Taking an animal abroad can be ­ complicated, but there are plenty of good reasons to do it:

  • You want the companionship of your best friend. You're simply not complete without your pet.
  • You're planning an extended stay -- a month or mor­e -- and the costs of pet-sitting or boarding would be prohibitive.
  • You have a service animal, such as a guide dog.
  • You have a comfort or therapy animal.
  • You have a pet with psychological needs, such as issues of neglect, who will suffer in the care of a sitter or kennel.

Can you pack a pet carrier along with your suitcases? Yes -- but just as your suitcases are subject to scrutiny, so are your pets. You'll need to know the rules and start preparing for your travel well in advance -- in some cases, eight or nine months before your trip.

­If you're flying, in most cases, you must check your pet as baggage, so as you prepare to meet regulations, you should also prepare to make your pet's trip as comfortable as possible. Make sure you give your pet enough fo­od and water for the voyage. You might consider gradually getting your pet to spend longer amounts of time in its carrier, so that being confined for the length of the trip is not a source of stress.

This article takes a look at the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of international pet travel -- obtaining a pet passport and vaccinations, procuring accurate identification and complying with different national laws.