Pet Travel Paperwork
By Sara Elliott
Keep your pet safe for the trip abroad by making sure that its kennel is secure. Injuries and escapes occur every year from pets being enclosed in flimsy or improperly assembled containers. When shopping for a travel container, look for one with locking bolts and doors made of metal rods that secure to the frame of the container. Check to make sure that the lock fits tightly. Whenever possible, take a few days to get your pet used to spending time in the container before you take your trip. This will help keep your pet safer and happier [source: USDA].
Before you travel abroad with your pet, you'll need to check with the embassies in the countries you'll be visiting for a list of requirements and restrictions. You can do this by visiting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) foreign country listings. The laws regarding pets vary from country to country, so don't assume that you have what you need without checking first. Don't rely solely on a third party's paperwork or recommendations, either. Regulations change frequently, so it's important that you verify that you've met the current requirements close to your departure date.
Your pet will also need an International Health Certificate issued by APHIS before it leaves the United States. An APHIS-accredited veterinarian will issue the certificate after physically examining your pet and making sure it's had its vaccinations. APHIS, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has offices across the country and can provide you with a list of accredited vets in your area and the address of the nearest regional Veterinary Services office where you can submit the signed certificate for validation. Check the APHIS Animal Health Area Offices Web site for addresses and phone numbers.
Once you know the rules for the countries to which you'll be traveling and have complied with APHIS regulations, it's time to get packed up and ready to go.