When you are traveling internationally with your pet, the considerations you need to make before you leave cover much more than just choosing a pet friendly accommodation option. While the right pet friendly hotel is important, you also need to know the regulations for the different countries you will be traveling between. If you fail to do this research before you leave, you could end up leaving your precious friend at the border in quarantine, which would ruin the vacation for just about everybody.
One of the first things to do before you travel is contact the local embassy for the country you are traveling to and find out what the health regulations are. Some areas of the world do not allow pets in who have not been fully vaccinated. Others require a pet health certificate issued from an accredited veterinarian.
To fully protect yourself in the event of a thwarted flight or some other instance, make sure you have that pet health certificate before you leave. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and explain your travel plans. Your vet will be able to provide you with appropriate documentation as to the health and vaccination record for your pet. This also gives your vet the chance to tell you whether or not your pet is healthy enough to make such a long trip.
The Pet Passport
A pet passport is not an official government document like your passport, but it is an important set of documents to have on hand before traveling internationally with your pet. This passport contains identifying documents and the required health documents for entering a given country. By having all of this in one central location, you should get through customs with your pet much easier.
Some of the items you will want include an international health certificate, the quarantine and entry requirements for the place you are going, and the USDA Certification of Health Certificate (CFIA Certification of Health Certification for Canadians). You can also add your contact information to this document. Print off a copy of the airline’s pet policies to have on hand as well.
Some countries require an extensive quarantine before they will allow a pet to enter. If the country you are visiting has a quarantine in place, you may need to leave your pet at home. However, before you assume that you have no hope, contact the embassy to learn if you can have a blood test for your pet in lieu of the quarantine. Since the goal of the quarantine is to prevent rabies or other diseases from entering the country, the blood test is often allowed in replacement for the quarantine.
Some international destinations require pets to be micro-chipped. This is a good idea regardless of the regulations, because you are traveling such a long distance with your pet, but make sure it is done if it is a requirement. The ISO pet microchip is considered the world standard. Have the microchip embedded with some contact option that you have access to while traveling, so you can be quickly reunited if you are separated from your pet.
Traveling internationally with your pet is not difficult, but it does require some forward thinking. With the right documentation and a healthy pet, you should be able to travel across the world with minimal problems. However, failing to do your homework ahead of time will greatly impact your trip, leaving you stranded at the border with a pet that cannot legally enter the country you are visiting. This scenario can be completely avoided if you just work ahead a little prior to travel.