For the love of your pets: Traveling with pets can be blessing, curse

June 16, 2010 at 1:16 a.m.

By Dr. John Beck

Q: I want to travel with my dog this summer. Do I need any kind of special documentation to take with me?

A: Traveling with your pet can be a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. Be sure you have made pet-friendly arrangements ahead of time.

If your dog is on any regular medications, be sure to take them along.

As far as documentation, it depends on where you are traveling to. Make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations and be sure to take your pet's rabies vaccination certificate with you. Even if you are going a short distance, it's a good idea to have the certificate with you. If your dog runs away, gets into a fight or bites someone, you will need to provide proof of a valid rabies vaccination to avoid fines or impoundment. It's also a good idea to take a health certificate with you as well.

If you are flying with your dog, a health certificate is required by most airlines. You will have to provide a health certificate and rabies certificate at check in. Going to the airlines website and finding their requirements is the quickest and easiest way to know exactly what to do in order to avoid delays. Some airlines have very specific requirements.

If you are planning to travel internationally with your pet, a health certificate signed by the USDA is required. A month is usually plenty of time to prepare the proper documentation and get the certificate verified by the USDA before you leave. Different countries require different documentation and vaccinations.

If planning an international trip, you should let your vet know as soon as possible so that you can make sure your pet has everything it needs in order to go with you.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me or your local veterinarian.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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