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Pet Health Certificates for Domestic and International Travel

Planning a trip with your pet? Whether you’re traveling overseas or across state lines, your pet will need a health certificate. Destination is everything when it comes to pet travel. Each state and country will have their own requirements for pet health certificates, so it’s important for you to do your research! At Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital, our veterinarians are USDA APHIS-Accredited and our knowledgeable team is here to help you acquire the right health certificate.

Domestic dog sitting in the car trunk

Getting Started

The moment you decide on a destination for you and your pet, you’ll need to start researching the destination’s requirements for pet travel. Most states adhere to similar requirements. For international travel, some countries have extensive requirements that can take months to fulfill. A great place to start your research is USDA APHIS Pet Travel.

No matter where you’re traveling, the pet health certificate should include some basic information:

  • Your pet’s name
  • Breed
  • Color
  • Age
  • Country of origin
  • Your destination address
  • Your contact information
  • A statement of their current parasite prevention and proof that they are free of parasites
  • A list of current vaccinations and treatments including the type, manufacturer, and batch number (if possible)
Ginger cat in a travel crate beside a suitcase look anxiously sideways.

Steps for Obtaining the Appropriate Pet Health Certificate

Pet travel doesn't have to be a stressful experience. Here are the steps to follow to make the process easier.

  1. Research your destination to determine whether or not they have a specific health certificate. If they don’t, you can use the US Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals.
  2. Talk to us about where and when you’re traveling. Once we know the timeframe, we can work on getting your pet in tip-top shape so the health certificate reflects their current health status.
  3. Submit the health certificate to APHIS for endorsement, if required. Not all countries require endorsement, so make sure you know if you’ll need to take this step or not.

Tips for Travel

Once you’ve completed all of the necessary paperwork and have the correct pet health certificate for your destination, you’ll need to prep for travel. If traveling by plane, make sure to check with your airline about any requirements and procedures such as:

  • Airline-specific carrier size
  • Which pets they allow to be in the cabin
  • Procedures for dropping off/picking up your pet
  • How they handle layovers/delays
  • And any other specific policies for pet travel

When traveling by car, make sure to properly secure your pet whether in their carrier or in a seat harness. Trains may have their own policies as well, similar to airlines, so be sure to ask the train operator questions about their pet travel policies.

As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions about pet health certificates, give us a call at 847-394-1128.

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