Traveling with your pet internationally can be overwhelming. But who better to bring along on a trip than your best companion? The sooner you start the process, the more time you’ll have to prepare everything for a smooth ride! Check out these tips to make your travel easier – Bon Voyage!
Check Country Requirements
Every country has their own list of requirements when it comes to animals. Visit the website of the embassy or consulate of your destination country to look up their pet travel regulations, then contact them directly to confirm them. Make a list of everything needed. Don’t forget to look up regulations on bringing your dog back to your home country.
Call The Airline
Airlines have different policies when it comes to pet travel, and they’re constantly changing. Everything from weight limits, to monetary fees, to accepted breeds may vary. Call your preferred airline, or visit their website, to determine their policy. Most airlines have a pet limit on flights, so be sure to inquire about your specific flights and whether there is space for your pooch before you purchase your ticket.
What’s a Breed Got to Do With It?
Certain airlines, countries, and airports have implemented breed restrictions or bans when it comes to travel and entry. United Airlines requires certain breeds to travel in reinforced crates, for example, and Delta does not allow flat-nosed dogs in cargo. Confirm with the airline and embassy that your breed is approved.
Go to the Vet
A healthy dog is a happy dog! Head to your vet to get the green light on travel. Plan early for the days leading up to the trip with your vet, and schedule an appointment, as many airlines and countries require pet health certificates that are completed 10 days or less from date of travel. Health certificates must be completed by certified veterinarians, and many require a stamp of validation from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Here is a helpful checklist of information your veterinarian will need to know before completing a health certificate.
Buy a Carrier
Not all carriers are created equal. Airlines have specifications on size, weight, and material of carriers accepted in the cabin or cargo. Check your airlines carrier policy and be sure that your carrier meets their requirements.
Pack the Essentials
Things like poop bags and snacks on hand will make your trip smoother. Make sure you’ve packed all of the essentials for your pooch to have a happy and comfortable trip. Check out our Dog Travel Checklist to stay organized and ensure you’ve got everything covered!
Have Your Documents in Order
The last thing you want to be doing at the airport is scrambling in a purse or backpack for your dogs papers. Keep a folder with all of your documents in order, so check-in is smooth and easy. Remember, you’ll most likely have to show your dogs paperwork at various points along the trip – check-in, TSA, and before boarding. You’ll also have to bring them out when entering your destination country. Have copies of your paperwork available as back up, and scanned copies on your phone, in case of anything.
Dogs don’t like surprises. Practice the trip before you take it, that way they’ll know what to expect come travel day. Get them accustomed to their carrier, and practice spending time in it for different periods of time. Simulation will help prepare them for the trip. Remember to always use positive reinforcement.
When the big day arrives, there are a few steps you can take to make sure the day goes smoothly. The more relaxed and prepared you are, the more your pet will be! Check out our flight day tips here.