International Travel With Your Pet

Travel-dog-300x168If you plan to travel outside the United States with your pet you will need to have what is called an International health certificate. These can only be obtained from a accredited Veterinarian who is permitted to sign both domestic and international health certificates for dogs and cats traveling domestically and internationally. All of the veterinarians at Aztec Animal Clinic are able to provide them.

Every country has specific requirements for animals entering their country. It is your responsibility to check with the country you are traveling to and find out if they require additional documentation, requirements or restrictions. Don’t forget that if you plan to reenter the Untied States with your pet you will have to also comply with their requirements and obtain a new international health certificate before reentry.

To find out what the specific requirements for each country are go to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website. Most of the forms are bilingual, but some are not; if necessary, contact the local USDA office (505-761-3160) for a bilingual copy.

It is important that you plan your trip months ahead of time to ensure that all the requirements are met. Some countries require vaccine titers no earlier than 120 days before transport, most require an international microchip that will have to be special ordered and implanted before rabies vaccinations are given. (International microchips operate at a different frequency than the standard ones used at most veterinary offices.) For more specific information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the APHIS website.

Before You Make an Appointment for an International Health Certificate:

The staff and doctors at Aztec Animal Clinic want to help you make your travel experience as positive as possible. For that reason we ask that you help us by doing the following before making your appointment for an International Health Certificate:

  • Check with the country you will be traveling to on the USDA website and find out what requirements are necessary
  • Contact us with those requirements so that we can develop a timeline of when those requirements need to be fulfilled
  • Stay in touch with the local USDA office and website to watch for any changes in the countries requirements. WARNING: Countries can change their requirements daily, it is important for you to constantly check them to make sure you are up to date on your information. You might want to also check with the local consulate or embassy of that country, as the web sites don’t always stay current. IT IS NOT AZTEC ANIMAL CLINIC’S RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW IF THEY HAVE CHANGED.
  • The morning of your appointment for your certificate double-check that you have all your paperwork with you and that it is current. You will also need the following:
    • An address of the destination point for your travel. It must be on the forms that have to be filled out.
    • If your pet was vaccinated at a different clinic than ours you will need to provide proof of that, so bring along a copy of receipts or certificates.