traveling with pets

Traveling With Your Pets – Tips and Tricks

It’s that time of year where people are traveling with their pets. I own a veterinary hospital in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Victoria Park Animal Hospital. We are a hub for travelers, tourists, and snowbirds. I would say that I sign at least two health certificates per day for pet travel during these busy months. Traveling with pets can be stress-free and easy or completely frustrating and tedious. It is important to be organized, know what you need to cross state or international lines with your pet, and be prepared. Let’s touch on some important tips when traveling with pets.

What do I need to consider when traveling with pets?

  • Some pets cannot handle travel because of illness, injury, age, or temperament. Speak with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s safety and wellbeing during travel.
  • Make sure your pet has identification tags with up-to-date information. Microchips are a great way to identify your pet if they are ever lost.
  • If you are taking your pet across state or international borders, you will need a health certificate. The health certificate must be signed by a USDA-certified veterinarian after an examination determines your pet does not have any diseases. Your pet’s must be up-to-date on all vaccinations in order to finalize the health certificate.
  • Make sure your pet is permitted at your destination whether that be a friend’s house, a hotel/motel, park, or campground, etc.

Whom should I contact in order to prepare travel arrangements?

What supplies should I have for my pet on my trip?

  • Your veterinarian’s contact information
  • List of veterinarians and 24-hour emergency hospitals along the way and close to your destination
  • Identification (current color photo of your pet, ID tag including owners name, current address, contact phone number, Travel ID tag including owners name, address, contact phone number, accommodations contact information, microchip registration)
  • Medical records
  • Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate)
  • Acclimation certificate for air travel (a form from your veterinarian to waive the low temperature Federal regulation as stated in the Animal Welfare Act – only some airlines require this form, so check with yours)
  • Items for your pets (prescribed medications, collar, leash, harness, crate, bed/blankets, toys, food and cool, fresh water, food and water dishes, first aid kit for your pet)

Can I bring my pet out of the country with me?

Yes, but you must follow both the United States regulations as well as the regulations in the other country where you are traveling. You will need to contact the Consulate or Embassy in that country to find out their regulations. Some countries require months of preparation before you can leave, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and have all documents and medical requirements ready and available. International travel always requires a health certificate signed by a USDA certified veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy these basic answers to common questions about traveling with your pets. The key is to PREPARE. Know what the USDA, your airline, or the country you’re traveling to will require.  Your veterinarian aids and helps in smooth travels; however, you must know about required documents and what you need. When traveling abroad, learn the requirements 6 months in advance because some countries will require that amount of time to prepare. I hope this is helpful and you have happy, stress-free travels!

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