Pet Travel Health Certificates for Domestic and International Travel: Are They Required?

Travel Cat With Glasses

Pet Travel Health Certificates, who needs them?  Is it required by the airline for travel or is it required by the destination state or country?

News Flash……Health certificates are required by both!

Airlines require health certificates to transport pets in compliance with USDA Animal Welfare Act Regulations. Pet travel health certificates are required when pets are being transported as cargo, checked baggage, and/or being transported in-cabin.  Regulations stipulate that the health certificate must be obtained within 10 days of travel. It is recommended to research and comply with the live animal policies for the airline, for a pet can be denied transport due to non-compliance with airline policies.

A health certificate is also required to comply with regulations for the movement of animals domestically and internationally.  The regulations are used to prevent the entry of diseases infectious to people and animals, stop the spread of disease, and assist with outbreak investigations.  Each state and country will have their own animal entry requirements. Never assume that the entry requirements are the same for each state in the US or for international destinations. Review and comply with the destinations’ pet entry requirements.   The USDA Pet Travel Website is a great resource to find the pet entry requirements for domestic and international travel.

Pet Travel Health Certificates, when completed properly, indicates that the pet has been examined by a USDA-accredited veterinarian (or Authorized Veterinary Official) and has been deemed free of diseases infectious to people and pets.  The certificate also shows proof that the pet meets the pet entry requirements of the destination state or country.  If the destination state or country requires your pet to be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies +/- other preventable diseases, and have a rabies titer; the certificate must have this information documented. Depending upon the destination and their pet entry requirements, it can take weeks or months for your pet to meet the requirements.

If you plan to travel out of state or to an international destination with your pet, you must ensure your pet meets the requirements of the destination. Consult with your veterinarian to obtain a health certificate to comply with airline policies and meet the requirements of the destination state or country. 

Have further questions to prepare for air travel with your pets?

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