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International Travel With Your Pet in Tow

International Travel With Your Pet in Tow

If you plan to travel abroad with Spot or Snowball, prepare for a lengthy flight and at least a short quarantine period. Be aware that airline and animal workers in other countries may not be bound by the same animal welfare laws that exist in the United States and Canada. Contact the embassy or consulate at your destination for information about documentation and quarantine requirements, animal control laws and animal welfare regulations. With your pet's welfare in mind, now is not the time to search for cheap plane tickets—remember, you get what you pay for.

When to Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian

As with any trip, have your pet checked by your regular veterinarian within 10 days of departure to obtain a health certificate showing proof of rabies and other inoculations. If you are traveling with an animal other than a domesticated dog or cat, check with USDA-APHIS for restrictions or additional documentation required.

Traveling to Island Nations

Island nations such as Australia and the United Kingdom, which are rabies-free, have adopted the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to allow entry for dogs, cats and ferrets from the U.S. and Canada without the usual 6-month quarantine. Pets must be tested and vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days prior to travel, be implanted with microchip identification (prior to the rabies vaccination) and receive a certificate of treatment from an official government veterinarian or have a pet passport. For information, visit www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad. Hawaii, which has a standard 120-day quarantine for all imported animals except guide dogs, has adopted a similar expedited program of 5 days or less; a pet must have been vaccinated at least twice for rabies in its lifetime.

The booklet “Bringing Pets and Wildlife into the United States: Licensing and Health Requirements” has general information about traveling abroad with animals; visit www.cbp.gov.