If you want to travel abroad with your dog, here’s what you need to know

Traveling to a new country with your dog may sound complicated, but there's a good reason: It is. Technically, flying anywhere with your dog is complicated because airlines have rules about which dogs can be brought in the cabin—but flying abroad adds some extra restrictions, rules, and procedures. That said, once you understand the basics of how to travel abroad with your dog, it won’t be so overwhelming.

The main reason why bringing your dog to a new country is a much more complicated adventure than it is for humans is actually rabies. Unlike the United States, which is only considered a rabies-controlled country, some countries have achieved rabies-free status—and, as you can imagine, they want to keep it that way. If customs allows any dog ​​to cross the border, they are at risk of becoming infected. Therefore, there are regulations in place to ensure that every dog ​​coming from other countries is healthy and does not introduce diseases or viruses into its ecosystem.

Beyond that, the only complicating factor that could become a customs issue is variety. Although it is completely unfair, some countries consider certain dog breeds to be too violent, and if you show up abroad with one of these dogs - even if they have all their vaccinations and documentation - they may be rejected, There are no accommodations. Essentially, you have to pay to get the dog back, and you'll most likely have to go back too. To check if your breed is banned from the country you're visiting, search Agriculture on the country's government website, then Import and Export Animals to make sure. Breed-specific legislation is very controversial and hopefully will be passed, but until then check your destination's government website and your airline to make sure you and your puppy are welcome on arrival.

If your dog is not on the list of banned breeds in the country you are traveling to, rabies will be your main complication. Here's how to travel abroad with your dog.

Inspection and quarantine regulations


Before you consider traveling overseas with your dog, you'll want to check the quarantine regulations at your destination, as some countries require dogs to undergo a quarantine period that may even be longer than the duration of your trip. While most countries won't quarantine a pet until it's proven rabies-free, some still have strict requirements—the quarantine period can be as short as a week or as long as six months. Before considering pet certificates and flights, check the USDA's website or call the country's embassy to find out what the regulations are for your dog.

The quarantine itself is one of the biggest obstacles to international travel with dogs. As someone who is reluctant to leave my dog ​​with friends for sleepovers, quarantine is going to be a big problem for me. But it may be necessary for you if you are moving abroad permanently, or going abroad for an extended period of time.

go to the vet


No matter where you travel abroad, your dog must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days in advance. Additionally, you must have your dog microchipped. Although many dogs are microchipped as puppies, your veterinarian can perform a simple procedure on adult dogs. That said, it's important to know that vaccinations must occur after microchipping, so if your dog isn't currently microchipped, wait to get vaccinated.

Obtain a health certificate and pet passport if needed


No matter where you go, you will need a veterinary health certificate, which needs to be approved by your veterinarian within 10 days of departure. This is basically a form signed by your veterinarian (you must pay an additional fee) certifying that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, is not currently being treated for infectious diseases, and is healthy enough to travel. To be on the safe side, check with your country's embassy to make sure you don't need any additional paperwork. If you are traveling in the EU, you can get a passport for your pet so that your dog can easily travel between countries without the risk of quarantine.

Double check with your airline


Each airline has slightly different rules, so make sure your airline knows the breed of dog you're traveling with, its size and how you plan to travel with them. There may be additional steps depending on the airline or health requirements, so don't book your ticket before calling 411 based on the airline's pet policy.