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International Travel with Your Pet

Would you like to bring your pet on your next trip abroad? Find out everything you need to know to properly prepare for your journey.

If you prefer to watch a video with this information click here.

Government Regulations

The first step to prepare for international travel with your pet is to research the destination regulations. Some countries don’t allow pets to enter, some only allow certain kinds of pets with very specific paperwork, some require a quarantine upon arrival, etc. Each country is different so this step is vital every time.

You can research these requirements by visiting the United States Department of Agriculture website here. Select your destination and view the requirements. Remember to check the requirements for your return entry into the United States as well. 

Remember to check the requirements for your return entry into the United States as well. 

Government website with international pet travel regulations

Is Your Vacation Destination Pet Friendly?

Once you’ve researched the entry regulations, you will want to research if your travel destination is pet friendly. We took our dog with us to Italy because it was very pet friendly. In Italy, our dog Fletcher was welcomed into many cafes and stores, and the country also offered plenty of pet friendly accommodation options.

If your travel destination is not pet friendly, it may be difficult to find hotels that welcome your cat or dog, and it could be difficult to sightsee without leaving your pet alone all day.

If your travel destination is not pet friendly, it may be difficult to find hotels that welcome your cat or dog, and it could be difficult to sightsee without leaving your pet alone all day.

International pet travel - Is your destination pet friendly?

Health Requirements

Next, you will need to find a USDA certified veterinarian. I highly recommend calling around to find a veterinarian that has experience with health certificates for international travel. The paperwork can be quite confusing and it’s nice to have an office with experience helping you sift through it all. Regulations vary by country, however typical minimum requirements are listed below.

Rabies vaccine

Microchip (compatible with standards ISO-11784)

Pet passport & veterinary certificate completed by a USDA accredited veterinarian

Once complete the health certificate must be endorsed by a USDA office

Visit a USDA certified veterinarian for international pet travel

Timing is Everything

If it is your pet’s first rabies vaccine, your pet will need to wait at least 21 days before entering another country. However, for us, the pet passport needed to be stamped within 10 days of arrival into another country. So, if it is your pet’s first rabies vaccine you will most likely need to make one trip to get the vaccine, wait a set number of days, and then return to complete the health certificate.

Research timelines for international pet travel paperwork carefully

Once the health certificate is complete, it will need to be endorsed by a USDA office. If you don’t have a local office you will need to ask your veterinary office to overnight the certificate to the nearest USDA office and have them overnight it back to you after it is endorsed. 

Once the health certificate is complete, it will need to be endorsed by a USDA office.

You will also want to leave an extra day or two leeway for your 10 day entry expiration, just in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.

International pet travel requires your pet's health certificate be endorsed by a USDA office

Possible additional requirements:

Carrier labeled with name, address, & contact numbers

Over 3 months old to enter

Muzzle for your dog

Additional Considerations

Where will your pet stay while you sightsee? Even if your destination country is pet friendly, there will be some sites where your furry friend will not be welcome. To prepare for this, we packed a collapsible playpen for our dog to relax in while we were away. 

To prepare for this, we packed a collapsible playpen for our dog to relax in while we were away.

It was comforting for him because it was similar to his crate back home, and it was reassuring for us to know that he wouldn’t scratch or chew something at our accommodations. 

We packed a collapsable playpen for international travel with our pet

We also, packed his bark collar. If you have a barking dog you will want to consider this option. If you have a cat with claws and it loves to scratch you will definitely need to properly prepare for this.

Would We Take our Pet Again?

Having your pet along on vacation is so much fun. Many locals think you are a local as well and will stop to ask questions about your cat or dog. It’s fun to strike up these conversations and get to know the locals a bit more.

We enjoyed having Fletcher with us in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy - International Pet Travel

Another great thing about having Fletcher along was our evening strolls. Each evening, I would take him for a walk and enjoy the European lights. One of my favorite things in Rome was walking along the Tiber River at dusk. It became our tradition for the week, and I would have missed out entirely if Fletcher hadn’t been along.

Walking along the Tiber River with Fletcher at Dusk in Rome - International Pet Travel

We were in Italy for almost a month. If we traveled again for 2+ weeks Fletcher would probably come along. Anything shorter than that may not be worth the cost and effort involved, however, that is entirely up to you. Fletcher is almost 20 pounds, so he is not the easiest to travel with, and we also have two kids along on our journeys. 

Traveling Internationally with 2 kids and a dog has some challenges - International Pet Travel

The most challenging thing about having Fletcher along on our journey through Italy was definitely the transportation. Lifting his carrier on and off the trains along with all of our luggage was difficult at times. When we arrived in a new city, it was also challenging walking to our accommodations over cobblestones or taking a bus with all of our luggage plus Fletcher and his carrier. Once we arrived at our accommodations, Fletcher was easy to have along and a joy to take on our daily journeys.

What Does it Cost?

Health Certificate $100

USDA stamp and overnight fees $38

Pet-in-Cabin Fees - $250

If your pet doesn’t already have them, you will also have a fee for the microchip and rabies vaccine.

Have you traveled internationally with a pet? If so, leave comments below with suggestions for other readers. If you are thinking of traveling internationally with your pet, but have additional questions, leave them below or send me a message. Travel is an art. Make it beautiful!