What are the Best Tips for International Pet Travel?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2020
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Preparation and research are the best tips for successful international pet travel. The first step is to take the pet in for a physical exam to make sure a trained veterinarian agrees the animal is fit for travel. Next, make sure you understand and meet all of the specific airline and country requirements for pet travel. Be sure all deadlines are met and all information is gathered or submitted well before the departure date to avoid unnecessary stress and delays.

One of the first things to do when preparing for international pet travel is to take the pet in for a veterinarian exam. Traveling with a pet, particularly long-distance travel, can be very straining for an animal. It is important to make sure that the best decision is being made for the health of the pet. Some dog breeds, such as pug-nosed spaniels or other dogs, are not fit to travel in the cargo hold of an airplane because of their susceptibility to suffocating and heat shock. If the animal is too weak, young, or old to handle the stresses of travel, it is probably best to find him or her a new home rather than risk injury or death.


Different airlines and countries have unique guidelines for pet travel. Check with the airline to see if it has any specific requirements or restrictions for traveling pets. Find out if the pet needs any specific immunizations or special type of pet carrier. Make sure to note if the airline has a deadline for when pet information or requirements need to be met to avoid any delays in travel.

Some countries have restrictions for the types of animals that are allowed to enter the country. Again here, preparation can save lot of stress during international pet travel. Make sure the animal is allowed in the country before arriving. It's a good idea to contact the country's embassy before departure to find out the specific legal requirements for that country, such as a pet quarantine or pet passport. Some of these requirements may include a waiting period, so figure out what is needed sooner rather than later.

International pet travel can be very dangerous to a pet, with many pets going missing, being injured, or killed each year during travel. One of the best tips is to always travel on the same flight as the pet to avoid delays. Be sure that the pet is wearing an ID tag with contact information in case the pet carrier is misplaced. Another tip to prepare for accidental separation from the pet is to carry the pet's photo and health information, which is particularly helpful in the event that the pet carrier label is misplaced.

Another tip for international pet travel is not to feed the pet for four to six hours before travel. Some water before should be fine and, if possible, place some ice cubes inside the water tray inside the carrier for some time-released water. Never give a pet tranquilizers or other medication that was not specifically prescribed by the veterinarian. Make sure the veterinarian is aware of the travel plans and that any prescriptions are suitable for air travel.



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