“Carter and Worf V. en route to the park!”
Jan. 2, 2017 Pet Travel Safety Day
Ask anyone, young or old, what they wished they had more time (or money) to do. The number one answer will be TRAVEL; and I’m right on board with that answer! Whether it’s for rest or adventure, it’s hard to ignore the pull of “wanderlust”…..especially when it calls from overseas. But you don’t want to exclude your best friend from the journey (and a lot of pets do quite well traveling) so you decide to bring Fido with you. Great! But do you know if you CAN bring him with you? Every country has different rules AND every airline to get you there has their own, different set of rules. So, how do you make sense of what is required so that you can actually ENJOY your vacation? Read on!
“Cooper F. heading on a big adventure!”
Most airlines will require a health certificate for travel (even within the U.S.). This means that an Accredited Veterinarian must examine and sign off that your pet is healthy enough to travel; this also means that all of the required vaccines must be up to date (and have been administered by a licensed veterinarian). You MUST call your airline for specific requirements; and don’t wait until the last minute! Ask for their requirements in writing, if you can, to avoid confusion.
Every country has different requirements and guidelines for what they require for you to legally enter with your pet. Do your research! Almost all countries require a health certificate, but it very likely will NOT be the same one that your airline requires. Don’t get caught overseas without the correct paperwork! Also, some countries require a quarantine (regardless of pets health and vaccine status), so research is key to making the best decision on where to bring your pet.
Consider using a specialty service. Government paperwork can be hard to navigate! Using a service that specializes in dealing with travel requirements can assure that all of your ducks are in a row, long before lift off. For further peace of mind, look for services that offer guarantees.
Will your pet need prescriptions for travel? Refills of their normal medications while you’re away from your pharmacy? Make sure to give yourself enough time to “test out” any sedatives or anxiety medications that your pet may need for travel. And don’t forget to factor in motion sickness; if your dog gets carsick, there’s a good chance they’ll get airsick.
Above all, do not expect your veterinarian or groomer to know every requirement for every country and airline. Laws and rules are ALWAYS changing (it is government, after all) and it is ultimately your responsibility to get you and your pet to and from your stay, safely.
To check country requirements: USDA.gov (choose “pet travel” then choose your “destination”)
*Tip: Print EVERYTHING and always check again 2-3 days before you leave to assure that no changes have been made to the requirements!*
Staying local for your vacation? Most State Parks allow dogs! Pack up for the weekend and roadtrip over to one of Florida’s beautiful state parks. Research is still required though; call ahead for requirements and give yourself enough time to make an appointment with your veterinarian, if required.
“Boone B.” camping at Collier-Seminole State Park for New Years 2017