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How to travel out of the country with your pet

Virginia Chavez-Nelson is an avid contributor of words for the greater good (see: writer) and a fun-loving Phoenician by way of Argentina. With a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University, Virginia has more than 10 years of expe...

Keeping your pet healthy and legal abroad

Thinking about bringing Fido or Fluffy on your next European vacation? By nature, pets are lovable companions, which can make them excellent travel partners. As a responsible pet parent, you’ll want to make sure your dog or cat has the necessary credentials to travel the world with you. Wherever your journey takes you, the following tips are must-haves to ensure safe and legal travels with your pet.

Dog in suitcase ready for vacation

Check in with the consulate

Once you have decided on your travel destination, get in contact with the consulate for instructions on allowing your pet into the country. Some countries will not allow foreign animals to cross borders. Missing this important step could put a huge damper on your plans.

Some pertinent questions to ask the consulate:

  • Will my pet be quarantined, and if so for how long?
    Some countries do not have quarantine laws while others may require your pet to be quarantined for days or even months. Get the full scoop on quarantine laws so you don't have to part from your furry friend longer than expected.
  • Are there special entry fees involved?
    Be prepared to pay a variety of fees. From entry fees to airline fees, traveling with your pet isn't cheap (even though it's definitely worth it). Be prepared by avoiding financial surprises as much as possible.
  • What forms or tags are required for entry?
    Each country has its own set of necessary documentation, so plan in advance to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork for your pet.
  • What vaccinations/bills of health are required?
    Rabies vaccinations, microchip and health certificates are common requirements. However, these vary depending on the country of choice, so be sure to ask for a list of veterinary requirements.

Research and consult with your airline of choice

Find out what the airlines' rules and requirements are for pets. Make sure to ask what vaccinations and documents are required for your pet to travel, as they may vary from one airline to another. Additionally, find out what conditions your pet will be traveling in if they are not allowed to ride in the cabin with you. Whenever possible, seek advice from other globe-trotting pet lovers that will provide insight on good and bad pet travel experiences.

Verify your pets' health and wellness

Once you check in with the consulate and find out the airlines' rules and regulations, make appointments with your veterinarian to get the necessary vaccinations. Plan well in advance, as some vaccinations require a series of shots over time. If your pet does not have a microchip, this is the time to get one, as it is a standard requirement for pets to be microchipped prior to traveling on an airplane. Before embarking with your dog or cat on an overseas adventure, have your vet verify that your pet is well enough for high-altitude situations or high stress levels associated with traveling long distances. Your vet can also give you insight to common travel questions such as how much to feed your pet prior to traveling or necessary items to pack for your pet. Documentation plays a large part in pet travel so always keep printed records of every vaccination.

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Pet separation anxiety: 4 Tips to help cope
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