Yes, bringing your dog with you when traveling is really nice. Nobody wants to spend a long time away from their pets, and pets don’t want to be separated from their owners either. Now, it’s one thing to travel domestically by car, but traveling internationally is much different.
There are a lot of steps, rules, procedures, regulations, and more that need to be followed. Therefore, so you can plan your next trip, today we want to talk about international dog travel requirements. Be sure to read through the list carefully, because if you miss even one step, chances are that your travel plans will fall apart.
International Dog Travel Requirements – 6 Things To Consider
Rabies Free vs Rabies Controlled Countries
One of the first considerations you will need to keep in mind when it comes to international dog travel requirements has to do with rabies.
Rabies is, of course, a very deadly disease which causes animals to become wild, unpredictable, and aggressive, and yes, it does eventually lead to death. Moreover, rabies is highly communicable, so countries often have strict rules surrounding this.
The difference you need to know about is between rabies-free and rabies controlled countries.
Rabies free countries are ones where rabies usually does not exist and instances of it are very low, and yes, these countries want to stay rabies-free.
Rabies controlled countries, on the other hand, are ones where rabies does exist and maybe somewhat common, and these countries wish to control the spread of it as much as possible.
This is important to note when traveling internationally with your dog. If you live in a rabies-free country, you should not have a difficult time getting into other rabies-free and rabies controlled countries.
However, if you live in a rabies controlled country and wish to travel to a rabies-free country, your dog will have a very hard time getting in.
Therefore, you need to check out if your country of origin is rabies-free or rabies controlled, and you need to know the same for the destination country too. Knowing the specific rabies rules of both countries is an absolute must here.
Microchips are little computer chips which many people have implanted in their dogs.
These microchips usually contain a variety of information concerning the dog breed, the country of residence, vaccinations, the owners, and more.
Simply put, microchips are designed to provide specific information in regard to the dog in question.
Now, not all countries are the same, but the vast majority of countries require dogs to be microchipped if you plan on taking them with you internationally.
Keep in mind that this microchip needs to not have any encryptions, so that agencies in all countries can read the data, and it generally needs to be a 15 digit microchip.
It is wise to look up the rules and regulations regarding your dog, microchips, and the specific country which you plan on traveling to.
The next thing which you need to consider before traveling internationally with your dog has to do with vaccinations.
Now, just to touch on the above topic of microchips, if you happen to live in a rabies controlled country, you will need to vaccinate your dog for rabies at least 30 days prior to travel.
Moreover, if your dog was vaccinated for rabies, but the microchip was implanted after the sate of vaccination, the dog will have to be vaccinated for rabies a second time after the implantation of the microchip.
Furthermore, there are plenty of countries out there which require more than just rabies vaccinations if you plan on bringing your dog along.
Now, each country has differing rules surrounding the types, numbers and dates of vaccinations, so you really do need to research vaccination regulations for both the country of origin and the destination country.
Remember, even if your pet’s vaccinations meet the requirements of the destination country, if you plan on returning to the country of origin, your dog will need to meet the vaccination requirements for both.
Keep in mind that most European countries require dogs to be vaccinated for distemper.
Other vaccinations your pet may require to travel internationally may also include para-influenza, bordetella, canine influenza, and be treated for brucellosis, ehrlicia canis, leishmaniosis, and leptospirosis.
Veterinary Health Certificates & Pet Passports
The next thing which you will most likely require when traveling internationally with your dog is a veterinary health certificate.
Generally speaking, all countries will require one of these veterinary health certificates to allow dogs to enter.
Now, keep in mind that this veterinary health certificate comes from the destination country, so this means that you need to meet the requirements of the specific country in question.
Therefore, you will need to do a bit of research in regard to the specific destination country, as the requirements and needed documents will differ from one to the next.
You will most likely need to contact the embassy of the destination country to obtain all necessary documents. In most cases, these documents then need to be filled out within 10 days of entering the country in question.
Remember that when it comes to traveling from the USA or Canada, your veterinary health certificate will have to be endorsed by a USDA or CFIA accredited veterinarian.
Traveling with a pet in Europe is actually much easier than doing so in most other countries and continents.
Yes, in Europe, all your dog will really need is a pet passport, and yes, these do exist. It is literally a passport for your dog, not unlike passports for humans.
In most European countries, a pet passport is usually enough to cross borders. Once again, it is recommended that you do a bit of research in this regard.
Something else you will need to consider when traveling internationally with our dog is what the quarantine rules are like.
For those of you who don’t know, quarantine means that your dog will be placed in a holding area away from other dogs or people. The point of quarantine is to ensure that the dog is healthy and does not pose a risk to the destination country.
Now, if you have closely followed all of the steps listed above, all four of the previous steps, this should not be much of an issue, and in most cases, the destination country will not require the dog to be quarantined.
However, once again, whether or not your dog needs to be quarantined is going to depend on the destination country.
Some countries do not require quarantine, some require it for a few days, and countries like Japan may quarantine a dog for up to 6 months.
Therefore, you need to do lots of research to find out what the quarantine rules for specific countries are, and also how to avoid a long quarantine time.
The next type of international requirement you will need to keep in mind when traveling with your dog is if the dog in question is actually allowed into the destination country.
Yes, most countries out there have some pretty specific rules surrounding the importation and traveling of certain breeds.
Yes, some countries are more lax in this regard than others, but most do have at least a couple of breeds which are not permitted for entry.
Some breeds that come to mind, ones that are often banned include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Japanese Tosa Inus, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Neapolitan Mastiffs, and Dogo Argentinos, among others.
Therefore, you need to make sure that your breed of dog is permitted in the destination country.
Some countries, if you attempt to bring in a banned breed, may turn you back at the border, most will heavily fine you, and some select countries may outright euthanize the dog.
Other Possible Requirements to Consider
When it comes to international dog travel requirements, there are a few other things which you also may need to account for.
- Some destination countries may require import permits for your dog.
- Some countries may require blood titer tests to be performed prior to entry.
- Keep in mind that airlines have specific requirements too, such as size. If you have a small dog, it may be allowed to travel with you in the passenger cabin. Large dogs usually always have to be in the cargo hold.
- Some international airports to do not accept domestic animals, and you, therefore, need to ensure that the country of destination and the specific airport in question allows for this.
- The best way to go is to call your airline that you are booking with and ask them about specific pet requirements.
The bottom line is that yes, international dog travel requirements can be very strict, as well as destination specific.
Therefore, although we have covered all of the most important basics, you always want to do research in regard to the destination country you are going to.
It’s better to be well prepared than to have your trip put on hold because you or your dog does not meet requirements.