The term “pet passport” was originally popularized in the European Union (EU) where dog, cat or ferret owners could get a blue pet passport from their veterinarian under the Pet Travel Scheme and travel freely through the EU member countries. This is still true today for pets living in the EU. It will last for the lifetime of the pet as long as the rabies vaccination is kept up to date and pet owners don’t run out of pages.
However, for pet owners residing in countries outside of the EU, a “pet passport” is simply a term we use to represent the collection of the required documentation needed to take your pet to other countries. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your pet through customs, and the inconvenience caused by losing them can be significant.
Your veterinarian can help you create a pet passport for your pet to enter almost any country in the world. For example, if you are from the United States and are visiting most European Union countries, then the pet passport will consist of the following:
The Annex IV form for the country you will be visiting (they are all different) completed by your veterinarian and endorsed by a USDA veterinarian. You airline may also require and health certificate, especially if your pet is flying under an air waybill in the cargo hold. A microchip certificate can identify when your pet’s microchip was implanted and which veterinarian administered the implantation. This is important because your pet must be identified by a microchip prior to receiving the rabies vaccination.
Your pet’s rabies certificate or inoculation record which must be attached to the certified Annex IV form.
If you are visiting one of the United Kingdom countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales) as well as Finland or Malta, your pet will need proof of a tapeworm treatment to complete your pet passport.
UPDATE: As Brexit has occurred, note that the United Kingdom is no longer be a part of the European Union and UK Pet Passports are no longer be accepted for pets entering the EU. To enter the EU from the UK, your pet will need either an EU Pet Passport with the most current rabies vaccination recorded in it or an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued by an Official Veterinarian in the UK. The AHC can be used to travel throughout the EU for 4 months after issuance or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first. It can also be used to reenter the UK during the 4 month validity period.
Every country in the world will require a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination, although the rules for additional treatments and testing vary widely from country to country. You should have a health certificate completed by your veterinarian prior to travel. This certificate is also referred to as a Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate.
The cost for a pet passport will depend on your veterinarian’s fees, the fees for microchipping (if required), and the fees for completing and endorsing the necessary forms. There will always be a trip to the vet prior to travel for a health certificate. Other tests and treatments, such as tapeworm, internal/external parasites, microchips, and rabies titer tests, if required, will affect the cost. Endorsement by a government veterinarian will always incur a fee. Many countries also require an import permit and they will charge for processing it.
The first thing to do is to find out the requirements to bring your pet to your destination country. In some cases (like Australia), you have to plan 6 months in advance. The key to avoiding delays at the border and/or quarantine when traveling with your pet is to have your pet passport complete and accurate for the countries you are visiting.
Using pet seat belts. It’s one of those reflex actions you don’t think about much.
You get in the car and reach for the seat belt – most times before even starting the engine. And if there’s a kid or two in tow? They’re buckled in snug and tight before you even leave the driveway. It is the law, after all.
But what about your pet? It seems like the most natural thing in the world, especially with dogs, to have your pup jump in and share the ride with you. And let’s be honest, doesn’t it make you smile when you see a car with its windows down and a dog’s face in the wind? What could possibly be wrong with not using pet seat belts?
Potentially, quite a bit from both a legal and safety perspective for both the passengers in the car and your pet. In the United Kingdom, you could be fined up to £5,000 and penalty points on your license if your pet is not restrained in the car. Other countries are also following suit, and there is a good reason for that.
Imagine this scenario. Your small fur ball is curled up on your lap. Cute, right? Nope! It only takes a second for something to go very wrong with this picture. An unrestrained 10 lb. dog involved in an accident at just 30 mph will exert roughly 300 lbs. force – more than enough to inflict serious harm on itself or a passenger.
Click-it or Ticket – A State Issue
It’s easy to understand why most people think there are no guardrails governing pet restraint during road trips. The fact is that there is no federal law that specifically outlines what is legal and what isn’t when a companion animal shares a vehicle’s passenger compartment. While the federal Animal Welfare Act, which first passed in 1966 and has been amended eight times since then, does place restrictions around the transport of very specific animals used in special circumstances, it is not a broad animal protection law.
Instead, the responsibility of animal protection is assumed at the state level. The good news is that each and every state has legislation currently in force to protect animals. The bad news is that these laws can vary wildly from one state to another. Additionally, many state statutes allow individual cities or towns to enact their own animal protection ordinances.
What does all this mean?
Both pet owners and professional pet transporters alike need to do a little research regarding animal protection, most typically referenced as animal restraint, when traveling across town, across state or across country with a furry friend riding shotgun. Those who don’t do their homework could face steep fines, damages not covered by insurance, and in some cases, even criminal charges for not using pet seat belts.
States with Existing Pet Seat Belt Laws
Pets in Passenger Compartments
Acknowledging that many pet protection laws can be complex and multi-layered, let’s start with one that isn’t.
Rhode Island’s laws come close to meeting the same standard, but with one caveat. Rhode Island mandates that an animal in a vehicle passenger compartment must be placed in a carrier, cage or secured with a seat belt, unless it is under the physical control of someone in the car other than the driver.
It’s not a straight up restraint law, but it might as well be since the police officer pulling you over is who determines if your animal was being controlled or not. The cost for not adhering to the law can reach $200.
Additionally, the following states require that your dog must have a canine specific restraint (such as a harness which buckles into a pet seat belt) when riding in an automobile: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island
Pets in Open Truck Beds
How unsafe is it to put your dog in an open truck bed? The American Humane Society reports that an estimated 100,000 dogs die each year untethered in the bed of a truck. And that’s just an estimate.
When it comes to animals in an open truck bed, primarily dogs, a number of states have laws stating they must be tethered or restrained in a cage or crate. Failure to do so will result in fines. These states include: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon
At first glance, the fact that a limited number of states have such laws on the books might suggest that enforcing pet restraint isn’t a priority. The truth is similar legislation is gaining traction in an increasing number of states across the U.S.
A Push for More State Laws
What’s the big deal?
Simple physics explains why the trend toward pet restraint is gaining steam. An unrestrained pet that weighs 50 pounds, in a 35 mph collision, can be projected forward like a cannonball with 1,500 pounds of force The possibility of severe injury to your pet and other passengers when riding unrestrained in a vehicle is real. This reality and the awareness of it will surely fuel additional states to adopt specific pet restraint laws in the near future.
Also growing in popularity is legislation that limits pet transport to the back seat of the vehicle for the same reasons small children are placed there. Air bags. Restrained or not, an airbag deploying at 200 mph, can deliver devastating injuries to any animal that is impacted.
In ten states, driving with a pet on your lap puts you at risk of being charged with distracted driving. Some states mention animals in laps specifically in their distracted legislation, such as Hawaii. Others reference anything that interferes with maintaining control of the vehicle or obstructing view – both of which are distinct possibilities from a lap-riding animal.
Distracted driving states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The consequences of violating distracted driver laws vary from state to state. In some states, a pet on a lap is reason enough to justify a traffic stop. Other states view distracted driving as a secondary offense, one that is attached to a primary offense, such as speeding. The bottom line is all can result in tickets and fines.
An Additional Consideration – Insurance
Certainly, a distracted driving ticket for an unrestrained pet is costly; and an injured pet as the result of distracted driver accident is awful beyond measure. But there’s one more thing to think about if you’re in an accident with an unrestrained animal in the car. Some insurance companies will not cover the cost of the incident if it was the result of distracted driving. Suffice it to say, the emotional and monetary cost may be substantial.
Anti-Cruelty Laws May Also Have Impact
We’re not done yet. Pet restraint regulations get even murkier. Sixteen states have animal anti-cruelty laws that can be applied to unsecured pets in moving vehicles. In general, laws in these states consider it illegal to transport animals in a cruel manner or in a way that puts an animal in danger.
The catch is that there are no hard and fast rules or a specific definitions of what constitutes “transporting in a cruel manner.” This means that it is up to the discretion of the legal authority pulling a driver over to determine what constitutes an offense and what does not.
The states where this ambiguous application exists include: Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Again, the consequences of violating anti-cruelty laws in these states vary. Fines are a given. More important, you need to understand that breaking animal anti-cruelty laws can carry misdemeanor, or in extreme cases, felony charges.
Beyond the Law: The Case for Pet Seatbelts
Without question, widespread adoption of pet restraint laws has a long way to go. But as previously mentioned, the movement does have considerable momentum and new, more comprehensive legislation is definitely on the horizon. This makes it a good idea for pet owners and transporters to check the rules of the road periodically in the cities and states they travel through.
Or maybe there’s an easier solution. Many pet owners and professional pet transporters already understand the benefits of pet seat belts and have taken the law into their own hands – choosing to use restraints, even when they are not required. This is especially the case as information linked to potential injuries from unsecured pets, airbag dangers and insurance denials become more widely known.
That’s because most people consider pets furry family members – precious cargo whether in an owner’s vehicle or a transporter’s care. And when all is said and done, it comes down to being a matter of love, not of law.
Julie Bina is a writer for CitizenShipper, an online community that brings pet owners together with pet transporters. She is part of a team of passionate pet owners committed to improving and enhancing the lives of furry family members.
Christmas is a beautiful time of year filled with lights, decorations, parties and meals spent with friends and family. It is a time of distraction with lots to do and not as much time to relax and keep an eye on what everyone is up to. All of the trimmings of the season can also be dangerous to your pets. Here are some important tips on keeping your pets safe at Christmas.
The season is a time of wonderment for your dog or cat. There are new things to explore that they do not normally see in their day-to-day lives. Glittery things, things that light up and blink, new smells from holiday candles, Christmas trees and, of course, all of the goodies in the kitchen that go along with the holiday can appeal to their senses and encourage them to investigate. They need to know how these things fit in their world and, of course, whether they are good to eat!
Keeping your pets safe from Christmas decorations
Many of our typical holiday decorations can cause havoc on our dogs or cats’ digestive system. If ingested, and many of them can cause serious illness to your pet. Consider these tips when decorating for the holidays.
You should secure your Christmas tree with a stable stand. Secure and hide all cords for lights on your tree. Avoid glass ornaments as they can be a hazard (and a mess) if they fall off the tree. Decorate the bottom of the tree carefully. Use decorations that cannot be eaten or will not entice your cat or dog to play with them.
If you have a real tree, keep the water in the stand covered with a tree skirt. That way, your furry friends will not be tempted to squeeze under the tree for a drink. Consider spraying pinecones with apple cider vinegar to discourage them while still staying in the festive spirit.
Consider a table-top tree. Elevating temptation can divert catastrophe.
Tinsel – can you image what this will do to a cat’s stomach and intestine if eaten? Eating or even licking tinsel can lead to a very unpleasant stomach.
Salt and Dough Ornaments – although ornaments made from salt dough don’t smell particularly appealing to us, your dog or cat may think differently. Salt toxicosis causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination and coordination issues. This can result from eating these ornaments, so hang them high on the tree.
Wrapping Paper – clean up bits and pieces of ribbon and wrapping paper that hit the deck when you wrap gifts. If it looks pretty, it must taste good, right? Keep wrapped packages hidden or out of reach until Christmas morning.
Snow globes – many imported snow globes contain antifreeze which can cause kidney failure and even death. If you have them, put them where they cannot wind up broken on the floor.
Lights and Batteries – those beautiful fairy lights you use for decorating can be harmful to a cat or dog. After all, to understand how something works, doesn’t it need to be chewed? Keep these out of reach of inquisitive minds.
Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Ivy – the leaves from poinsettias can cause your dog stomach upset and/or diarrhea if eaten in large quantity. Berries from mistletoe contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. When eaten, mistletoe can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Eating ivy, amaryllis or Christmas cactus will cause the same symptoms. Certainly, this will go a long way in ruining Christmas for everyone.
Candles – you should light these only when you are in the room. Your pet can knock a candle over and cause a fire hazard. Keep candles out of reach from larger dogs who tend to eat everything they come in contact with. Some Labs and Golden Retrievers are famous for this. Opt instead for LED candles.
Christmas foods that can be dangerous for your pets
Making cookies and other Christmas goodies is part of a traditional holiday for many pet owners. The smells that you create in the kitchen are simply irresistible to our furry friends. You can bet they will be waiting to taste your creations.
Here are some foods to watch out for keep your pet safe at Christmas.
Artificial Sweeteners – many bakers cutting back on sugar make recipes for Christmas cakes and cookies that use artificial sweeteners. These contain Xylitol which, even small amounts, can cause low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. There are many recipes on the Internet for cookies that are safe for dogs at Christmas.
Chocolate – contains theo bromide which can cause muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.
Grapes and Raisins – keep both of these far away from your dog and cat. Eating these can cause acute kidney failure and even death.
Garlic, Chives and Onions – all of these are no-nos. They come from the allium family and are poisonous to dogs and cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is also toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause red blood cells in your dog or cat to burst. That certainly gets our attention, right?
Macadamia Nuts – these little jewels are so good and many pet owners splurge on them for the holidays. No slipping one to your dog or cat. Eating macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs.
Blue Cheese – Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton all contain a mycotoxin called roque fortine that is naturally produced by various fungi. Why would we want to add mold to our pet’s diet? Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton are also high in fat, which is a danger to your pet.
Other tips for keeping your pets safe at Christmas
Set Rules – make the rules clear to your guests. There will be no feeding your pets anything except treats that you have made available for them. Bag up special treats for them before everyone arrives. Your guests will love to give your pet a special treat. It is great way to introduce them to your cat or dog. Some great yummies are a small piece of plain cheese, lowfat dog or cat treat or a carrot or biscuit that you have broken up. It is better than your guests slipping them what they think will make your pet happy.
Christmas Cheer – libations for your pets are out. Gather up any glasses left unattended, and watch out for those punch bowls. Alcohol can be deadly for a dog or cat.
Seasonal Grub – Salty, spicy and fatty foods should stay on your plate including turkey, stuffing, onions, casseroles and nuts. They are too rich for your dog or cat’s digestive system. Who wants to clean that up in front of your guests while dressed in holiday garb?
Watch the Trash – keep garbage cans closed securely. Scavengers can work fast and it is no fun to clean up garbage spilled all over your kitchen floor.
Safe Spaces – Make sure that your pet has a safe place to retreat to if things get overwhelming.Pets who are untrained, hyper, aggressive, territorial or just plain shy should be confined during holiday parties.
Get Moving – exercise your pet before the gathering arrives, if possible. A tired dog will be more likely to be less active during the merriment.
Some simple adjustments can go a long way when keeping your pets safe at Christmas. Who wants to rush their best friend to an emergency hospital during the holidays? Have a wonderful and fun season with your family and your pets.
Moving with pets is never easy, but it can be especially tough when you’re moving long distance. There are so many things to think about, from ensuring your pet is fit for travel, to packing all the essentials they’ll need to keep them calm and comfortable during the move.
But with a little bit of preparation (and some patience), you can make the process much smoother for both you and your pet. Keep on reading for some simple tips on what you need to know to prepare your pet for a long-distance move.
Preselect Your New Home
If possible, preselect your new home before making the move. This way, you can ensure that it’s pet-friendly and has everything your pet will need. If you’re moving into an apartment complex, for example, make sure that they allow pets, there are no breed or size restrictions, and there is plenty of open space for exercise.
Alternatively, if you’re buying a house, consider things like the neighborhood, backyard size, and whether there’s a secure fence. You’ll also want to think about the surrounding area – is it safe for you and your pet to walk around? Are there any dog parks or green spaces nearby?
Finally, consider the interior of your new home. It should be spacious enough for your pet to move around comfortably, and free from any hazards. Imagine where you would want them to eat, sleep, and play in the home.
If you have any concerns, make sure to ask your real estate agent before making an offer on the property.
Research Pet Import Requirements
If your pet will be crossing state lines or international borders, it’s important to review pet import requirements. If traveling domestically within the United States or Canada, you should have proof of current rabies vaccination and a health certificate issued by your veterinarian.
If you are moving internationally, you’ll need to prepare in advance. The country you are moving to may require an import permit, blood tests, parasite treatments, proof of rabies vaccination, and a health certificate. It will take time to conform to these pet import requirements.
Your vet can help you obtain a health certificate also known as a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI). This document verifies that your pet is healthy and free of any contagious diseases. It’s vital to make an appointment well ahead of time, as various tests and vaccinations may be required to obtain a CVI. Your veterinarian should also issue you a rabies certificate.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Accustomed to Their Crate
Whether you’re driving or flying to your new home, your pet will need to be secured to travel safely. In a car, you can use a harness or a pet crate. When flying, they will need to be secured in a pet carrier or pet crate. If your pet isn’t accustomed to being in one, it can be a stressful experience – for them and for you. That’s why it’s important to get them comfortable with it well before the big day.
Start by placing the crate in a room where they spend a lot of time. Keep the top half of the crate off and let them explore it at their own pace. It’s a good idea to put some of their favorite toys or treats inside to make the space more inviting.
After a few weeks, you can attach the top half and the door. Take your time and let your pet get used to being inside the crate with the door open at first. When they’re comfortable spending short periods of time in there, you can move on to closing the door and leaving them for short intervals. Make sure to give your pet plenty of praise and rewards so they associate the crate with positive experiences.
You’ll also want to make sure your pet is comfortable with being in their crate or carrier while in the car. Take them on short trips around the block at first, gradually increasing the distance as they get used to it. Remember, spending time getting your pet accustomed to traveling in their crate or carrier now will make the actual move much less stressful for everyone involved.
Schedule a Check-Up With Your Veterinarian
Moving with pets to a new home is a big adjustment, and it’s important to make sure they’re as healthy as possible before making the trip. Schedule a check-up with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is in good health, is up-to-date on all their vaccinations, and is flea- and tick-free. This is especially important when traveling long distance to a new area, as different countries have different vaccination and parasite requirements for diseases.
If your pet is prone to anxiety or motion sickness, your veterinarian can also recommend ways to help them cope with the stress of travel. This may include medications, pheromone diffusers, or other calming products. Again, it’s important to start preparing early so you have plenty of time to try these products at home and see what works best for your pet.
Note also that many airlines have restrictions on sedated pets. You should check with your airline regarding their requirements.
Ensure Your Pet Has Proper Identification
During a long-distance move, it’s not uncommon for pets to panic, escape, and even get lost. To help ensure your pet is returned to you if they do get lost, make sure they have proper identification. At a minimum, your pet should wear a collar with up-to-date ID tags that contain your cell phone number and other contact information.
If your pet doesn’t already have a microchip, now is also a good time to consider getting one. Microchips are tiny devices that are implanted above the shoulder under your pet’s skin. Once scanned, the chip will transmit a unique number which is associated with your pet. The procedure is simple and can be performed during a routine vet visit. If you are moving internationally, this is very likely a requirement of the country you are entering.
When microchipping your pet for the first time, you’ll need to register their microchip with a national pet recovery database. This will ensure that your contact information is linked to the microchip. In the event that your pet does get lost during the move, having proper identification will dramatically increase the chances of them being returned to you.
In addition to proper identification, it’s also a good idea to have recent photographs of your pet on hand in case they do get lost. This will make it easier for you to share their picture with shelters or animal control officers who are helping you search for them.
Put Together a Travel Plan
Now that you’ve taken care of the basics, it’s time to start planning the actual move. If you’re traveling by road, start by mapping out your route and making a list of rest stops and pet-friendly hotels along the way. When choosing a hotel, be sure to call ahead and ask about their pet policies. Some hotels charge extra fees for pets, while others have weight or breed restrictions.
If you’ll be flying, begin by researching which airlines allow pets and what their policies are. Most airlines have strict rules about traveling with pets, so it’s important to choose an airline that will accommodate your pet’s needs. Once you’ve selected an airline, book your flight and make sure to get a confirmation of the airline’s pet policy in writing.
If possible, try to travel during off-peak hours when the airport will be less crowded. If your pet must fly in the cargo hold, Spring and Fall are the best times as extreme temperatures are not as much of an issue. This will make the experience less stressful for both you and your pet. You should also arrive at the airport extra early to allow plenty of time for check-in and security.
Pack the Essentials
A long-distance move is already a stressful experience, so the last thing you want to do is forget your pet’s essentials. To make packing easier, create a checklist of everything your pet will need during the move. Here are a few items to include on your list:
A travel crate. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to transport your pet in a crate while traveling to help keep them safe. If you’re traveling by plane, make sure the crate meets the airline’s size and weight requirements. You’ll need an International Air Transport Association (IATA) compliant crate if your pet will be flying in the cargo hold.
Leash and harness. Even if your pet will be in their crate for most of the trip, you’ll still need a leash and harness for walks and potty breaks.
Food and water bowls. Collapsible bowls are easy to pack and take up very little space.
A supply of your pet’s food and treats. Bring along enough food and treats to last the entire trip so you don’t have to worry about running out.
Plenty of water. Keeping your pet hydrated is essential, so be sure to bring along enough water for the entire trip.
Any medications or supplements your pet takes. If your pet takes medication or supplements on a regular basis, be sure to pack enough to last the entire trip.
Pet first-aid kit. Pack a small first-aid kit specifically for your pet in case of minor injuries. It should contain items like gauze, cotton balls, antibiotic ointment, and tweezers.
Toys and bedding. A few of your pet’s favorite toys and a cozy blanket or pillow will help make them feel at home in their new environment.
Cleaning supplies. Pack a small bag of pet-friendly cleaning supplies like paper towels, waste bags, and disinfectant wipes. These will come in handy for accidents or messes along the way. If you have a cat, don’t forget the litter box and litter.
Medical records and emergency numbers. Be sure to pack your pet’s medical records and the contact information for their veterinarian. If you’re traveling by road, you should also have a list of veterinarians and emergency animal hospitals along your route.
Moving with Pets to Your New Home: 6 Tips for A Successful Transition
After all the planning and preparation, it’s finally time to move into your new home. But the work isn’t quite over yet. Here are a few tips to make the transition to your new home as smooth as possible for you and your pet:
1) Keep Pets Away From the Movers
On the big day itself, keep your pets away from the movers. This will help reduce their stress levels and prevent them from getting injured or escaping. If possible, confine them to one room, put them in their crate, take them to daycare or arrange for someone to watch them on moving day. This way, they can’t get underfoot and will be out of the way and removed from the commotion.
2) Set Up Their Space First
After everything has been unloaded at your new home, and the movers have left, set up your pet’s space first. This will help them feel more at home and less overwhelmed. Put their food and water bowls in place, unpack their bed, and leave out a few of their favorite toys.
3) Gradually Let Your Pet Explore Their New Home
Once their space is set up, let your pet out to explore the rest of their new home. Start with one room at a time and gradually increase the amount of space available for them to explore. This will help them get used to their new surroundings without feeling overwhelmed. If your pet is a cat, be prepared for them to hide for a bit until the activity level calms down.
4) Keep Their Routine the Same
As much as possible, try to keep your pet’s routine the same. This means feeding them and walking them at the same times as before the move. Familiar routines will help reduce their stress levels and make them feel more at home.
5) Give Them Plenty of Attention
Your pet may feel a bit uneasy in their new home at first, so try to keep them in your sights if possible. Offer them frequent assurance that everything is fine if they show signs of uneasiness.
6) Provide Plenty of Exercise
Last but not least, make sure your pet is getting enough exercise. A tired pet is a happy pet, and plenty of exercise will help them burn off all that extra energy and stress. Take them for walks around the neighborhood or play with them in the backyard. They’ll be glad you did.
Are You Ready for a Long Distance Move With Your Pet?
Moving with pets long distance can be challenging, but with a little preparation, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. By taking care of the logistics ahead of time and planning for a smooth moving day, you can make sure your pet has a comfortable and stress-free move.
Richard Rowlands is a copywriter and content creator who works with pet and veterinary businesses. When he’s not researching, writing, or creating content plans, he enjoys spending time with his rescue dog, Otto, and exploring new places. Check out his blog for savvy pet parents at richardrowlands.com.
On July 14, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), imposed an import permit requirement for dogs entering or reentering the United States after having been in countries classified as having a high risk of rabies (see list below). This restriction includes dogs who have resided in, have visited, or have cleared customs and entered a high-rabies country within 6 months of import. Pet owners must provide a verbal or written statement attesting that their dog has not been in a high-rabies country for the preceding 6 months even if it is entering the United States from an approved country.
The reason for the legislation was to prevent the introduction of rabies into the country in light of a recent rabies incident. The legislation has been extended to January, 2023.
Initially, many restrictions were imposed on pet owners wanting to import their dogs to the United States. To qualify for these permits, vacation travel was not an acceptable excuse, nor was adoption or rescue.
A lot of restrictions have been lifted, and the purpose of travel is no longer relevant to the CDC. Additionally, pet owners have three options available to them when importing their dog.
Here are the most recent changes to this legislation:
Option 1:No import permit required.
Your dog will not need an import permit if it meets the following qualifications:
Your dog must be healthy.
Your dog must be more than 6 months of age.
Your dog must have proof of a current rabies vaccination administered in the United States (rabies certificate – see below).
Your dog’s microchip number must be on the rabies certificate.
Pet owners can apply for an import permit from the CDC if your dog meets the following qualifications:
Your dog is healthy.
Your dog is at least 6 months of age.
Your dog has a valid and current rabies certificate issued by a non-US veterinarian.
Your dog has proof of a microchip recorded on the rabies certificate.
Your dog has a valid rabies titer test administered a minimum of 45 days prior to import.
Your dog enters the United States at Enters the United States at an approved port of entry. (Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (IAD).
Applications must be received online a minimum of 30 business days (6 weeks) in advance. Permits are valid for 3 or less personal dogs per permit. Denied permits cannot be appealed. One permit per person per year is permitted.
Home quarantine will be required for this option to arrange for revaccination within 10 days of arrival. Dogs are released at customs clearance. Violations will cause the denial of future applications for permits.
Option 3: Register your dog at an Animal Care Facility
To qualify for this option, you are importing 3 or more dogs per person OR your dog has a current rabies certificate that is not issued by a licensed veterinarian in the United States. Your dog must meet the following qualifications:
Your dog is healthy.
Your dog is at least 6 months of age.
Your dog has a valid and current rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in a foreign country.
The rabies vaccine must be administered a minimum of 28 days prior to entry unless it was a booster in which case, the 28-day wait does not apply.
Your dog has proof of a microchip that is recorded on the rabies certificate.
Dogs entering the United States under this option do not need to provide rabies titer test results; however 28 days of quarantine will be imposed if valid results of a rabies titer test is not available.
After entering the United States, the CDC will validate both the rabies certificate and the titer test results (if results are available). All dogs will be examined and revaccinated for rabies at the Animal Care Facility. Those dogs without titer test results or those whose titer tests are invalid will be quarantined for 28 days and retested. All reservations for quarantine must be made before entering the United States. (refer to URL in the bullet above).
Note that, in all three options, a valid rabies certificate must be provided*. If a valid, current rabies certificate is not available or the certificate is incomplete or invalid, your dog will be returned to the origination country on the next available flight.
*Rabies certificates must be issued in English or be accompanied by a certified translation and include the following information:
Name and address of owner
Breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth unknown), color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
Date of vaccination and vaccine product information (manufacturer, batch #, etc.)
Date the vaccination expires
Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination
Your dog’s microchip number
Countries that the United States has classified as having high risk of rabies:
AFRICA: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt (Temporary importation suspension of dogs from Egypt until further notice), Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
AMERICAS AND EASTERN CARIBBEAN: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
ASIA: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan), Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.
All pet owners should be aware that the CDC has made these important changes for the import of dogs from high rabies countries. Any questions regarding this post can be sent to email@example.com.
Are you and your pets ready for the “Dog Days of Summer”? With the summer heat comes special considerations to remember when traveling outside with your pet. As responsible pet owners, most people know not to leave pets in hot cars or walking on scorching asphalt and provide plenty of water. But there are also some risks you might have overlooked. Here are a few tips on keeping your pet cool and safe this summer.
Avoid the high-noon heat: In-between the hours of 11 A.M. and 3 P.M. are considered the peak heat hours of the day. If you have an older pet or one with a thick coat, consider taking walks or engaging in activities before or after these times of day. Put your hand palm down on the sidewalk or street. If the asphalt is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for pet pads. Walk your dog on the grass whenever possible.
Groom your pet the right way: A dog’s coat is sometimes used for their protection so keep this in mind before your pets get a summer haircut. Trimming is good, but make sure your pet doesn’t get too close of a shave. Remember, dogs CAN get sunburned and the correct dog grooming technique is important!
Provide ample amount of shade and water: Hydration is key. Both inside and outside, pets should have a full water bowl at all times. Water left sitting in the hot sun doesn’t do much good. Pet owners should provide ample amounts of cool (not ice cold) water in shaded areas.
If your dog or cat spends time outside, give them shade and a cool place to lie down.? Trees can really cool down a summer backyard while also providing shelter from the sun as can awnings and umbrellas.
Know the symptoms of dehydration or overheating: monitor your pet for symptoms including excessive panting or difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, abnormally colored gums, increased heart and respiratory rate, body temperature over 104 degrees or inability to urinate. If you notice your pet in a stupor or being too weak to stand, bring it inside immediately and contact your veterinarian. Further symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
If your cat or dog is snub-nosed (brachycephalic), they are even more susceptible to dehydration because they need to breathe more to cool down that other breeds. Some examples of snub-nosed breeds are Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Pugs, Griffon Bruxellois, Japanese Chin, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu and Persian, Himalayan and Exotic Shorthair cats.
Avoid flying unless your dog or cat is small: Most all airlines will refuse to fly a live animal in the cargo hold if temperatures exceed 85 degrees F (30 degrees C). This restriction can inconvenience your summer travels; however, it is for the safety of your pet. Danger from high temperatures does not come when your pet’s flight is airborne. Pets are most at risk when waiting to be boarded in airline luggage areas and cargo facilities. Know too that live animals are last to load and first to unload so they can spend time on the tarmac. High temperatures can cause their body temperatures to increase quickly.
Is your lawn pet friendly? In 2010, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received more than 4,000 calls related to garden toxins. These include herbicides, plants (hydrangea, tulips, azaleas, and lilies), insecticides, mushrooms, fertilizers and cocoa mulch. Weed killers, herbicides, and fertilizers are toxic and can even cause cancer. All a dog or cat has to do is walk on the lawn and lick its paws to be exposed. Store all these products where your pet cannot reach them.
Monitor your pet around a pool: Some dogs like the water and others don’t. Regardless of which type of dog (or cat) your have, accidents happen and you always want to be alert to your pet’s actions when in or around a pool. If your pet becomes disoriented in the pool and cannot find the steps, then it can panic and tire itself out.
Avoid exposure to BBQs: Summer fun generally includes outdoor grilling. Food spilled or left on the grill can be fair game for a pooch. Chicken and steak have bones that can injure your pet’s mouth, throat and digestive track. Make sure you clear and clean the grill after cooking.
Check for ticks, fleas and other critters: Hot weather can also bring parasites that can be a health hazard and certainly cause discomfort to your dog and cat. Be sure they are treated with products that protect them from both internal (heartworm) and external (fleas and ticks) parasites. Your veterinarian can help you with selecting the proper medication.
Now that summer’s in full swing it’s more important than ever to keep your pet cool and in the heat for only limited intervals. Remember your pet cannot tell you when they are overheated so make sure to watch their demeanor and keep your pet cool and safe this summer.
Now get outside and enjoy the summer with your pet.
For more info on traveling with your pet click here.
Dogs are the perfect companions for anyone at any age for many reasons. The company of a dog can help anyone cope with loneliness and also ease depression. Dogs can also provide people with a sense of purpose and structure. While you are feeding or caring for a pet, you are also doing something productive. And the love and devotion that they provide you is priceless, no matter how old they are. That said, if you like to travel, there are no reasons that you cannot bring your senior dog. Here are some tips for traveling with an older dog.
If you are a senior, a pet friendly senior living facility is one of the options that can help you stay connected with the present and a senior dog will be easier to handle. They are adopted far less than puppies, so consider adopting one if you do not have one already.
The Needs of Older Dogs
When is does a dog enter senior ranks? For small dogs, this can happen at the age of 7 and for larger dogs, they generally reach their peak at 6 years of age. This can vary according to breed, the amount of injuries a dog experiences and other breed or health predispositions that a dog may have.
Traveling with an older dog requires planning, care and attention. Most older dogs have passed the high intensity stage and are slower and more subdued which makes them great travelers. However, senior dogs can also be more anxious due to previous experiences, strong bonds or simply because it is typical of their breed. For these personality types, it is crucial that you acclimate your pet to travel.
Many of these ailments require medication at regular intervals and other attention that owners must plan for when traveling. Obesity can cause breathing issues as well. Try to get your pet in the best shape possible before travel.
Do Research & Plan Ahead
Formulating a plan to address any disabilities that your pet may have with your veterinarian is the first step in traveling with an older dog.
If your dog is flying in the cargo hold, you will provide the airlines with instructions on the medical needs of your pet on a Shipping Declaration which is attached to your pet’s crate. The airlines will do what they can to attend to your pet while on the ground; however, once in the air, they will be unable to dispense any medication.
If you are driving, set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you of any medication or procedure that your pet will require while on the road. Remember that, unless your dog can hear well and is trained properly, never let them out of the car unless they are securely leashed.
Most importantly, find veterinary hospitals along your route and at your destination. Have contact information available so you can access it quickly in the case of an emergency.
If your dog is not a regular traveler, it is best to plan short trips before embarking on longer endeavors. Trips to the park, pet store, friend’s house nearby are happy experiences that your pet will remember next time you say, “its time to go!” Then make the trips a bit longer. Each time you give your pet an experience, it will draw on that experience the next time you travel.
Travelling with dogs may be a bit challenging because they are your responsibilities. This is why you have to be organized. Make lists to be sure you bring everything you need when traveling with an older dog. This is also one way for you to make sure that you have brought all the things that you need. Better to be prepared than spend time on the phone with your vet getting a prescription filled when you are out of town.
You should pack extra medical supplies and pee pads especially when you know that your pet needs it. Being organized means you can locate all the things that you need for your dog whenever you need them. Consider packing a separate bag or backpack just for your pet.
Pack Medications Separately
If you and your pet are taking medications , you should make sure that you pack your meds in a separate location. That way, you will not be confused when you look for the bottle that you need. It may seem like a very simple issue but when you are travelling, things may become a bit complicated. This is especially true if you are getting all your things from one suitcase.
Bring Familiar Things
Your pet may also feel anxious during the trip because of the unfamiliar surroundings. Should this occur, think of ways to make them feel comfortable even outside their comfort zone. One way to do this is to bring some familiar things that will let them feel like they are still in a place that is safe. If your dog sleeps with a blanket, bring it. You can also bring their favorite toy. And treats; don’f forget the treats. After all, every dog should be rewarded for good behavior.
Plan to spend extra time with them once you stop for the night or reach your destination. Walk them slowly around the surroundings and give them the opportunity to discover new smells and get grounded.
Make Necessary Arrangements for Pet Care
Pet care should be regular and, even if you are not in your hometown, you should not skip it. When traveling, you need to consider arranging this before your trip. By doing this, you do not have to be spending time driving around looking for a pet care center as opposed to enjoying your vacation.
Consider Pet Friendly Destinations
ad to say, there are hotels and businesses that do not allow pets. This is the major consideration that you must keep in mind if you are going to travel with your dog. You may be comfortable knowing that you will be able to get some perks for seniors, but don’t forget about your pet. Checking all the places you are planning to visit and asking about pet policies will save you from unnecessary expenses and unhappy experiences.
You should always request for a ground floor room whenever you go to a pet friendly hotel. This way, it would be more convenient for you and your senior pet to get outside quickly, and it would also limit exposure to other dogs.
Plan Laid Back Trips
When traveling with an older dog, it may not be a good idea to plan a trip where the focus will be strenuous activities like long hikes, bicycling or theme parks. Depending on your dog’s health, a pet friendly beach or small town where you can casually stroll down village lanes and enjoy coffee at street side cafes may be a better option. Remember that you can also enjoy your non-pet-friendly activity as long as you provide care for your pet while you are gone on your excursions.
Splurge on a Pet Friendly Jet Charter
If you plan to fly with your dog, it is important to know as a pet owner is how commercial airlines deal with live animals. For pets flying in the cargo hold, dogs and other animals are confined to a special area that is pressurized and temperature controlled. However, if you have a senior dog, you may want to consider some other options.
Because your pet may have disabilities or medical requirements, it may be a bit difficult for you and your pet to fly on a commercial airline, This is why a private charter is safer and more comfortable for you both. With a pet-friendly jet charter, you do not have to worry about your pet flying in the cargo hold. They can fly right next to you or on your lap for that matter. When flying in a private jet, you and your pet can enjoy the amenities and the special treatment that comes with it. And, with your pet by your side, you can monitor their well being.
Traveling with an older dog is fun and challenging at the same time. Being well prepared will go a long way in enjoying each day with your dog. Always consider that your pets should also be comfortable while you go on vacation with them. This will save you from unnecessary stress and worry while you are trying to relax somewhere away from home.
Contributing to this article is Holly Kramer, a pet lover who owns a dog and loves to write about everything related to pets. She is a frequent writer and contributor to top online pet publications and blogs including Dog Breeds 911 and Pet Friendly Senior Living.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR DOGS ENTERING OR RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FROM COUNTRIES CLASSIFIED AS HIGH-RISK OF RABIES
Effective July 14, 2021, the Center for Disease Control(CDC) imposed a temporary ban on dogs* entering the United States after having been in countries classified by the United States as having a high risk of rabies anytime within the past 6 months. This includes dogs who have resided in, visited, or cleared customs and these countries within 6 months of import. Dogs intending to enter or reenter the US from these countries will have 3 options available to them.
Why is the CDC banning dogs from high rabies countries?
Rabies is a serious disease that kills almost 60,000 people worldwide each year. Once symptons show, there is no cure. Government agencies responsible for the import and export of live animals take this disease very seriously. The US has been free of canine rabies virus variant (CRVV) since 2007. Since that time, only 3 dogs with CRVV have been imported to the United States. On June 10, a shipment of 34 animals, including 33 dogs and one cat, entered the United States from Azerbaijan at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. One of those dogs was adopted and, after showing tell tale signs of rabies, was diagnosed with CRVV. As a result, a large scale effort to track exposure of the dog to other humans and animals everywhere along the transport in multi cities and countries has commenced.
Ninety nine percent of all deaths in humans from rabies is as a result of a dog bite. In 2020, there was a 52% increase in the number of dogs that were ineligible for import to the United States, and 60-70% of all fraudulent/inaccurate rabies documentation were from dogs originating in high rabies countries.
When a dog is refused entry to the United States, it is returned to its origination country. The cost of returning the dog is born by the owner or the airline. In these cases, dogs are sometimes held in facilities that are not in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act, and are subject to lack of heating and air conditioning, warehouse equipment and machinery and sometimes the provision of sanitary needs is lacking.
When dogs are abondoned by their owners and the airline refuses to bear the cost of return, the responsibility falls on the Federal Government to bear the costs. The cost for housing, care, and returning improperly vaccinated dogs ranges between $1,000 and $4,000 per dog depending on the location and time required until the next available return flight. During the pandemic, airline service has been reduced, further increasing costs to house and provide veterinary care for these dogs.
How long will the ban last?
The CDC estimates that this ban will be in effect for approximately one year while plans to properly handle dogs who are denied entry are put in place. UPDATE: the CDC has just extended the ban until January of 2023.
Import permits will be approved on a very select basis and cannot be appealed. The CDC’s decision on whether your pet will be approved for a permit will be final.
Option 1– No Permit Required
For all dogs entering the United States who have proof of a current rabies vaccination that was administered by a licensed veterinarian, an import permit is not required. Dogs meeting this requirement can enter the United States without if the following requirements are met:
Your dog has a rabies certificate* proving a current rabies vaccination administered by a licensed veterinarian in the United States.
Your dog has proof of an ISO-compatible microchip recorded on the rabies certificate.
Your dog will be inspected upon entry and released to you pending it has no health issues.
*The certificate must substantiate that the vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination)
Option 2 – Import Permit
To qualify for this option, you must be importing less than 2 dogs per person and your dogs must meet the following qualifications:
Has a valid and current foreign rabies certificate*.
Has proof of a microchip recorded on the rabies certificate.
Is at least 6 months of age.
Has a valid rabies titer test administered a minimum of 45 days prior to import.
Enters the United States at an approved port of entry. (Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (IAD).
Home quarantine will be required for this option to arrange for mandatory revaccination within 10 days of arrival. Dogs are released at customs clearance. All dogs entering the United States with an approved import permit who are vaccinated outside of the US must be revaccinated within 10 days of arrival.
Violations will cause the denial of future applications for permits.
*The certificate must substantiate that the vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination)
Applications must be received a minimum of 30 business days (6 weeks) in advance. Permits are valid for 2 or less personal dogs per permit. One permit per person per year.
The following information must be submitted with the permit:
Proof of microchip AND
Proof of age (must be over 6 months to enter the United States from a high-rabies country) AND
Photo of identification page of the importer’s US passport or Lawful Residence card AND
Photo of full body and face of your dog AND
Clear photographs of your dog’s teeth:
front view of upper and lower teeth
side view of upper and lower teeth
FOR PETS WITH PROOF OF RABIES VACCINATION ADMINISTERED OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES:
A valid rabies vaccination certificate from a non-U.S.-licensed veterinarian. The certificate must substantiate that the rabies vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination). The certificate must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation*.
Serologic evidence of rabies vaccination from an approved rabies serology laboratory (RNATT – rabies titer test) with results greater than >0.5IU/mL. RNATT must be administered a minimum of 30 days after the primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination). Samples must be sent to approved labs in China, Korea, France, United Kingdom or Mexico. Test results must be in English. Test is valid for one year. Pets can enter the US no sooner than 45 days after the date the blood was drawn for the test. For dogs entering the US sooner than 45 days or without rabies titer test results, see option 3.
Option 3 – Registering at an Animal Care Facility
To qualify for this option, you are importing 3 or more dogs per person OR your dog has a current rabies certificate that is not issued by a licensed veterinarian in the United States. Your dog must meet the following qualifications:
Is at least 6 months of age
Has a valid and current rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in a foreign country. The vaccine must be administered a minimum of 28 days prior to entry unless it was a booster in which case, the 28-day wait does not apply.
Has proof of a microchip that is recorded on the rabies certificate.
Dogs entering the United States under this option do not need to provide rabies titer test results; however 28 days of quarantine will be imposed in this case.
After entering the United States, the CDC will validate both the rabies certificate and the titer test results (if results are available). All dogs will be examined and revaccinated for rabies at the Animal Care Facility. Those dogs without titer test results or those whose titer tests are invalid will be quarantined for 28 days and retested. All reservations for quarantine must be made before entering the United States. (refer to URL in the last bullet above).
Primary Vaccination There are two scenarios where your pet will receive a primary vaccination:
It is the first rabies vaccination your pet has ever received after a microchip was implanted.
Your pet’s previous rabies vaccination had expired when this vaccination was administered (even for a day).
If your origination country is classified as a high-rabies country, then the primary vaccination must be given at least 28 days prior to entry to the United States, not counting the day of the vet visit.
All subsequent rabies vaccinations are considered booster vaccinations. Booster vaccinations are not subject to the 28-day wait if they are administered in the United States before the previous vaccination expires. Be sure and have rabies certificates for both vaccinations.
*A licensed translator will issue a signed statement on professional letterhead incuding the name, address, and contact information of the translator attesting that the translation is true and accurate representation of the original document. The certified translation must have a signatory stamp or elevated seal with the translator’s license number included. A certified translator service can be found online.
Rabies certificates must be issued in English or be accompanied by a certified translation and include the following information:
Name and address of owner
Breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth unknown), color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
Date the vaccination expires
Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination
Your pet’s microchip number (required if your pet received its rabies vaccination in a high-rabies country)
The certificate must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation into English.
What happens to dogs who do not conform with the new ban?
Any dog from a high-risk country arriving without advance written approval from the CDC will be excluded from entering the United States and returned to its country of origin on the next available flight, regardless of carrier or route. Dogs will also be returned to their origination country if they arrive at a port of entry without a live animal care facility (see above) or if the dog presented does not match the description of the dog listed on the permit or if the documentation proves insufficient.
Pet owners who are planning to return to the United States from high-risk countries should take note of this ban as it will affect their return to the States. Be sure your pet’s rabies vaccination was administered in the United States and does not expire during your visit.
When you’re traveling with your pet, the last thing you want to think about is what happens if they get sick. But unfortunately, there are many pet diseases and illnesses that are incurable and can cause death if left untreated. This is why it is crucial to vaccinate your dog or cat, even if they are not traveling. The best thing you can do for your best friend is to vaccinate them and prevent these diseases in the first place.
If you are planning a trip with your dog or cat, then good health vaccinations are required to enter most all countries worldwide. All vaccinations must be administered in advance so planning is the key.
How will you know exactly what your destination state or country requires? And do those rules change when you’re traveling around? Here’s what you need to know about pet travel and vaccinations for your pet.
Rabies is the single most common vaccination required by all countries around the world. Why? Because rabies is a disease which kills over 59,000 humans in over 150 countries every year. Over forty percent of those bitten by a rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. And rabies is almost always contracted through a dog bite.
What is Rabies?
Put simply, rabies is a viral infection. It’s caused by a virus secreted in saliva. This virus gets into your dog’s or cat’s nervous system, including their spinal cord and brain, and causes them to lose control of themselves. Rabies is fatal once symptoms become evident.
This virus belongs to the order Mononegavirales. And while it’s preventable, thousands of people die each year from rabies, 99% of which come from the bite of an infected dog.
Rabies is a dangerous and unnecessary virus to catch. Early symptoms can include a fever, unusual tingling and pain, and a burning sensation at the wound site. From there, the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. These progress until death, about 1 week to 1 year later. And while humans can get a rabies vaccine, it’s also highly recommended that all domestic animals — including dogs and cats — be vaccinated as well.
How did rabies prevention start?
Rabies vaccinations started with the intent to stop the virus from spreading to humans. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, and microbiologist developed the earliest effective vaccine against rabies. It was first used to treat a human bite victim on July 6th, 1885.
From there, rabies has been tested on many animals, including dogs, cats, and ferrets. But rabies vaccinations didn’t become common practice until well in the 1970s when states started passing laws against not vaccinating pets.
In humans, if the vaccine is given immediately to someone who was bitten by a rabid animal, it is 100-percent effective. However, it works a little differently in pets. They should be vaccinated against rabies before they’re bit, as the vaccine is more powerful when it has a chance to be in their system longer.
Now, all states in the United States have laws about rabies vaccinations and if they require them for your pet or not. The required frequency of rabies vaccinations varies from state to state, so it’s important to know your state’s law. And, if you move or travel, a kennel or hotel usually requires proof of vaccination before boarding or housing your pet.
Why Your Pet Needs Their Rabies Vaccinations
Rabies vaccinations are a necessary part of a healthy and happy animal. Rabies is a fatal viral disease, and it’s easily transferrable. Since it can’t be cured, that’s why it is critically important it’s important to vaccinate your dog or cat to protect them from potentially getting it.
If your pet isn’t vaccinated, and they get bit by a rabid animal, it will cause serious and dire symptoms. These will last anywhere from 10 to 42 days, and then your furry friend will die. It’s that serious. And this is why it is crucial to vaccinate your dog or cat. There’s no way to save their life if they become infected.
It’s safer to vaccinate your dog ahead of time, and hope they never get bit than to try to vaccinate them after the fact. So don’t take the chance on your furry friend.
Did you know that your dog or cat will also need to keep up with their rabies vaccinations? They’ll usually get their first one when they are about 3 months old, and then another one a year later. After that, they’ll need one every year or three years depending on what type of vaccine your veterinarian uses.
SYMPTOMS: fever, difficulty swallowing, foaming at the mouth, excessive drooling, staggering, seizures, and even paralysis.
Is A Rabies Vaccination Required?
Yes, in most states, and even in all other countries, a rabies vaccination is required. Usually, your vet or adoption agency will give your dog or cat a rabies vaccination when they microchip them. But if not, it’s vital to ensure that your pet gets it as soon as possible, and every three years after that.
Every pet traveling to a foreign country must be vaccinated for rabies between 21 days and 90 days prior to travel, depending on the country.
Not sure what your city, county, state, or country requires? You can just search “rabies vaccinations + your state” and find the information you need. And, if you plan on traveling to a new state or country, and are taking your animal, check with them as well.
For example, Hawaii has a unique set of requirements since they are a “rabies-free” state. You’ll need to prepare several months in advance if you want to take your pet with you. At a minimum, they require:
At least 2 rabies vaccines and the original rabies certificates (or signed carbon copies)
Rabies titer test
120-day waiting period after primary vaccinations
A USDA-endorsed health certificate
Submission of documents (at least 10 days prior to arrival)
Of course, not all states and countries are this strict. But this is why it’s important to check in before you even plan on bringing your pet along with you.
Many kennels also require that a vet administer your dog’s or cat’s vaccinations at least 24-48 hours before boarding. The most common requirements are a rabies vaccination, bordetella shot, and a distemper vaccine. But if you have a puppy, see if your veterinarian can space these out since too many at one time can be too much.
However, if your pet has had their vaccinations within the year (or three for rabies vaccination), you usually don’t need to do this. Instead, you’ll just need to prove that they’ve completed the shots.
One of the easiest ways to keep your pet’s information together, and to ensure that they are able to go where you go, is to get a pet passport and medical record. While not required, they do come in handy and can help keep all of your pet’s medical information in one place.
Other vaccinations for your pet that may be required
First, distemper (also known as parainfluenza) is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus, just like rabies. It is fatal and incurable. Instead of neurological damage, it will attack the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of your animal. They will need 3-4 shots during the first year of their life. From there, a booster every year is recommended.
SYMPTOMS: lethargy, nasal discharge, vomiting, coughing, reduced appetite and vomiting.
Another vaccination that may be required is the hepatitis shot. Like in humans, hepatitis in dogs and cats affects the spleen, kidneys, lungs, liver, and lining of blood vessels. If left untreated, it can lead to death. The best thing to do is vaccinate your pet. They will get their first shot during the first 7 weeks of their life, with recommended boosters every year.
SYMPTOMS: Watery discharge from eyes and/or nose, slight fever, blindness, loss of appetite, increased thirst, enlarged tonsils.
Leptospirosis Vaccination (Dogs and Cats)
The leptospirosis vaccine isn’t a core vaccine for dogs or cats, but some countries require it. This is because this bacterial disease can affect both humans and animals. In humans, it can cause many symptoms, including damage to the liver and kidneys. Your pet will get two doses, once at a month old and one two to four weeks later. After that, they will only need this vaccine when traveling extensively.
SYMPTOMS: fever, vomiting, refusal to eat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, inability to have puppies.
Parvovirus vaccines are part of the “core” vaccines that many vets recommend that your dog or cat get. Canine parvovirus is a contagious virus. So, it can be spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact. And while this disease isn’t always deadly, mortality affects 91% in untreated cases.
SYMPTOMS: lethargy, appetite loss, fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea (sometimes bloody).
Vaccines can prevent this infection and are usually recommended for pups between six and eight weeks. From there, they will get two more shots, and these function more as “boosters”. This should protect your pup or kitten from parvovirus, but they may need boosters throughout their life if recommended by their vet or entering a new country.
Viral Rhinotracheitis Vaccination (Cats)
Rhinotracheitis only affects felines but is still a serious (and contagious) condition. It’s a major cause of upper respiratory infections. It’s caused by an infection from feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1). Luckily, it doesn’t affect other species. But cats who contract it will have a lifelong infection. These cats are susceptible to respiratory problems, long-term eye problems, and pneumonia.
SYMPTOMS: sneezing, nasal congestion, eye redness, discharge from eye, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy.
To protect your kitten, they should receive their first FVRCP vaccination between six and eight weeks old. Then they will need a booster shot every three or four weeks until they are about four months old.
Calicivirus Vaccination (Cats)
Calicivirus is another feline-only virus. This virus is a main cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in kitties. Symptoms will usually include sneezing, nasal congestion, and even conjunctivitis.
SYMPTOMS: sneezing, nasal congestion, fever and discharge from eye and nose.
Just like with the other vaccinations, vets recommend that you vaccinate your cat against Calicivirus while they’re a kitten. Their first shot should be between four and eight weeks. Then, they will need two boosters between the ages of eight and 16 weeks. Last, they’ll need at least one other booster a year later. From there, they can move the booster to once every three years. Talk to your vet about the best schedule for your kitten to ensure they are protected from this disease.
Feline Leukemia Vaccination
Feline leukemia virus is another virus that only infects cats. It depresses the immune system and can lead to persistent infections. It’s also a main cause of anemia in cats and can cause multiple cancers.
There is no treatment or cure for FeLV. And the disease is fatal. So, preventing infection via vaccination is always recommended. This vaccine is usually part of a set of core vaccines, so it makes it easier for your cat to handle potential side effects.
SYMPTOMS: Loss of appetite, weight loss, poor coat, fever, pale gums and skin, urinary bladder, and upper respiratory tract infections.
Your kitten will get two doses of vaccines administered one month apart. From there, your veterinarian may recommend a booster once every two to five years, depending on your cat’s lifestyle and needs.
The rules and regulations for pets entering the United States are administered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
While every state and country is different, the United States has a pretty straightforward policy on traveling pets that are flying back into the country. While their rules for cats and dogs differ slightly, they do keep it as close as possible. Of course, it is strongly recommended that your cat be vaccinated for many viruses, including the feline-only diseases as well as rabies. Dogs must be vaccinated for rabies unless they are entering from a country that is classified by the United States as having a high risk of rabies.
According to their regulations, based on 2022 traveling, your pet will need to;
Have a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate
Have proof of a microchip
Be at least 6 months old
Be healthy upon arrival
Arrive at an approved port of entry
Keep in mind that expired US-issued rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If the US-issued rabies vaccination certificate has expired, you’ll need to apply for a CDC Pet Import Permit, if eligible.
Pet Travel Tips
Before you go on your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips can help keep you from being stressed about your pet’s vaccinations and travel plans.
Before traveling with a pet, you should;
Make sure your pet is fit to travel (visit to your veterinarian)
Consider switching to wet food temporarily (or add as a topper) to avoid dehydration during traveling. Just remember to make the switch a week or two before traveling to give your dog time to adjust!
Look up the state or country you’re visiting, and their vaccination requirements for your animal
Talk to your veterinarian about any vaccinations they will need
Get your pet vaccinated well in advance of flying to your destination
Pack their vaccine information, plus other records if needed, in a clear pouch in a place that you know you’ll have access to
Microchip your pet (if not already done) to ensure their safety and to meet requirements in certain countries and states
This may seem like a lot of things to do all at one time, but they’re fairly easy to manage as long as you plan ahead. And remember, travel is stressful for animals too. So try not to add extra stress with their dog food, schedule (if possible), or daily activity.
As soon as you decide if your pet is coming or not on vacation, you can follow these tips step by step.
It can seem confusing and difficult to keep up with your pet’s needed vaccinations, especially if you plan on traveling often. But it’s crucial to keep them on the right schedule and avoid potential problems; including them getting sick or you being forced to leave them behind or being turned away at the border.
Luckily, you can find vaccination requirements for over 200 countries here. This makes it super easy to learn what your pet will need and schedule a vet appointment to vaccinate your dog or cat with confidence. That way, you can travel with your furry friend, worry-free, and know they are fully protected.
Mark has a background in web publishing. He loves dogs and has a lovely young Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Steve. Mark’s wife is a dog trainer and so Steve is a good boy, most of the time. Steve likes to protect the house from the mailman, door-to-door salespeople, and anyone coming within visual range of the window.
Let’s face it. Traveling can be stressful. No matter how much your prepare, you are always on edge on or before travel day. Well, so is your pet. Their anxiety level can run high knowing something is up but not understanding what it is. You are running around taking care of last minute details and you don’t notice your pet’s water bowl is empty. Rats! Another thing to think about! So, why is hydrating your pet for travel so important anyway?
All mammals need water, including dogs and cats. Water assists in regulating body temperature. It lubricates joints and helps eliminate waste. Every cell, organ and tissue in your pet’s body needs fluids to function properly. It is a known fact that many people don’t drink enough water and likely your pet may not either.
It is incredibly important to hydrate your pet before and during travel. Dehydration is very risky side effect of stress and more common in traveling pets than you would think.
How much water does my pet need?
The amount of water that your pet should consume for good health depends on your pet’s size, their body weight, diet, age and activity level. It also depends on temperatures around them. Generally, dogs with a low activity level should consume 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day under normal circumstances. A 10 pound dog would need about a cup of water a day and a 50 pound dog would need about 3-5 cups per day. Cats should drink about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of their body weight. A 10 pound cat would need a cup of water per day.
Puppies need more water than adult or senior dogs and offerings of water to puppies should be frequent.
But here’s where things get off the norm a bit for many pets. Considering the stress involved in traveling, especially when your pet is away from their owner in the aircraft’s cargo hold or even with an experienced ground pet transporter, breathing can be shallower and more frequent. Excessive panting caused by stress can quickly lead to dehydration if it continues for a long period of time and water is not available. Add summer temperatures and the need for water increases.
Owners of snub-nosed dogs should be the most sensitive to dehydration issues when traveling as these breeds are shallow-breathers, even at rest. This condition is exaggerated during travel which is why it is important that your French Bulldog or Persian cat be fully hydrated before the trip starts and travel with a larger than normal water bowl attached to the door of the larger than normal crate.
Senior and smaller toy breeds are also more at risk for dehydration than larger dogs.
On the other hand, many dogs can over drink when exposed to stress leading to water intoxication. Monitoring your pet’s activities prior to travel is a good way to prevent this condition.
How can I be sure my pet is getting enough fluid?
Although it is important not to feed your pet within 4-6 hours of travel, the same does not hold true for water. Pets should have access to water to and through their trip. Here are some suggestions to hydrate your pet before traveling:
Always offer your pet multiple bowls of water and place the bowls in frequently visited places around the home like next to their food bowls, by the back door, next to their bed, by their crate, next to the TV, outside and anywhere else you can think of. Check the water levels often and change the water frequently.
Keep water fresh and clean. Use filtered water if your city’s water is overly treated.
Consider adding electrolytes to your pet’s water as dehydration can cause loss of electrolytes. (sodium, chloride, and potassium).
Add ice cubes or unsalted chicken stock (or tuna juice for your cat) to your pet’s water to encourage them to drink.
Offer your pet a treat after drinking. This training technique will establish a positive relationship between drinking and rewards.
Get your pet a fountain water dish. The movement in the water will add interest to the drink (especially to cats) and keep water circulating.
If you feed your pet dry kibble, consider adding wet food to its diet several weeks before travel. Granted, this is not as convenient as dry food; however, your pet will benefit from the additional moisture as wet food can be up to 80% water.
Avoid long exposure to outside temperatures in the summer months leading up to travel.
Keep your pet brushed, bathed and groomed. Dogs with thick coats should have their undercoat thinned when summer approaches.
The easiest way to test for dehydration is to lift your pet’s skin in the back of the neck like a mother grips its young, then release. If the skin returns to a normal quickly, then your pet is well hydrated. If the skin falls more slowly, then it is time to encourage your pet to drink or take it to the veterinarian for a drip.
What should I do if my pet is dehydrated?
If your pet is showing signs of dehydration, get your pet to your veterinarian as soon as you can. A drip is the best way to rehydrate a pet. If you can’t get to a vet, then offer them a big bowl of water, dip your hand in it and let them lick your hand. Lower your hand each time closer to the water. You can also wet down their coat or offer them chips of ice. Obviously, stay in air conditioning and keep the activity level low until they recover. Recovery can take hours or days.
What else can I do to ensure my pet is healthy and hydrated for travel?
A trip to your veterinarian is essential before traveling. Dehydration can be a sign of a more serious disease. Have your veterinarian verify that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Both Parvo and leptospirosis can affect dog’s appetite for water and also deplete water in their bodies. Conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disorders can also cause changes in drinking habits.
Get your pet an oversized water bowl for its crate. If you have a smaller dog, here is a good water bowl. If you have a larger dog, here is a water bucket that you can attach to the crate door.
Freeze water in your pet’s bowl before travel. This will prevent excess spillage during handling and provide your pet a constant source of cool water.
Travel in the Fall and Spring when temperatures are not at their peak levels. If you travel in the summer, then avoid the mid-day. Early morning or evening temperatures are a bit more tolerable.
Get your pet a good pet pad sized specifically for their crate that will keep them dry and comfortable for the trip. Blankets and newspapers are not meant to absorb enough liquid.
These are some of the reasons why hydrating your pet for travel is so important. This is one thing you should add to your pre-travel list. It may make a big difference in your pet’s health when traveling.