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International travel and your pets

Team Walmart Pets

June 8, 2021


min read

Traveling with your dog or cat is tricky whether it is by car, train or plane. And when it comes to needing to fly with your pet for international travel, it can be especially so depending on your destination. The best advice for international pet travel: be prepared. While that might sound obvious, check out these tips for flying with your dog.

Traveling with a pet internationally

It is practically impossible to start planning too early. Especially if you’re traveling to rabies-free countries, there are certification processes you need to complete before they’ll let you enter. Traveling with your pet to these countries can be more rigorous than others. 

For instance, travel to the (rabies-free) UK under the Pet Passport scheme helps four-legged travelers avoid an extended stay in quarantine, but preparations for travel need to be started at least six months in advance. 

For information on certification requirements for pets visiting various countries, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture site. They have all the information you’ll need on Animal and Plant Inspection when it comes to international travel.

Best way to fly with your dog

In most cases, if you’re traveling internationally, you and your pet are going to need to fly. There are risks with flying with your pet that every pet parent should understand, but in most cases, there are three types of airline travel options for pets: They can travel on the plane with you, they can travel as cargo or they can be shipped via a licensed commercial shipper. The last option is the most costly, but could be worth it depending on your budget and destination.

If they’re traveling on the plane with you, check out some of these dog carriers. If your dog needs to fly as cargo, some of these crates will do the trick. Just make sure they’re comfortable in their crate. Consider adding a washable bed, a washable blanket and some chew toys

It’s important to know that not all countries allow pets to enter the country in-cabin, and some airlines no longer allow pets to travel as cargo due to the safety concerns. Review the USDA requirements for the country you are traveling to as well as the specific airline you are traveling on to understand your options.

Required vaccinations for travel

There are specific protocols for vaccination, blood monitoring, parasite control and identification that must be adhered to before flying internationally. These can vary widely depending on your destination and, importantly, can often include vaccines not commonly required here in the United States. 

For example, a trip to Singapore might require a vaccine for Chlamydia psittaci. Because this is not a routine vaccine for most cats in the United States, the vaccine usually has to be ordered, adding further time to the process.

International travel restrictions

International travel usually requires pets to be identified by a microchip. Unfortunately, some microchips here in the U.S. do not conform to international standards. Depending on your destination, you may need to have another 15-digit microchip implanted, or purchase a scanner of your own to accompany your pet. 

Traveling internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially difficult. According to the CDC, if you are traveling with your pet internationally (or at all!) you must get a COVID-19 test no more than 3 days before you return by air to the United States. You are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States.

As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories site to see if there are any for your intended destination

Pet Care

Traveling With Pets

Photo by Keith Pitts on Unsplash