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Traveling with Pets

A cat prepares to travel across the border. Image of Ladybug courtesy Natalie Ferguson.

A cat calmly prepares for travel.

Before you take your pet across the border, or back, please be aware of requirements and regulations that may affect you and your pet.

Before Traveling with Your Pet

  • Before taking a pet to another country, contact that country's consulate or embassy for information about their requirements.
  • Travelers are advised to also contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for additional information and advice. See the USDA Export - Pets and Animals page.

Driving over the U.S. Border

The regulations about bringing a pet into the United States are the same whether you drive over the U.S. border with your pet in your car, fly, or travel by other means. All animals entering (or reentering) the United States are subject to the same laws, regardless of the port or method of entry.

Traveling by Air

Many pet owners wonder whether they pick up their pet at the international airport or only at their final destination.

Since pets are generally transported as baggage, they go through the same procedures as baggage. If a pet does not require quarantine at the port of entry, then an international traveler would pick up both luggage and the pet at international baggage claim. They would then go through customs and re-check both luggage and the pet for the domestic flight to their final destination.

Customs and Declaring Pets

When travelers fill out their customs declaration cards, they must declare any animals traveling with them on the card.

Interstate and Intrastate Movement of Animals

The USDA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and various states may impose restrictions, depending on the animal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, working in concert with CDC, has enacted regulations restricting the movement of African rodents. For the full text, please read the Federal Register document 42 CFR Part 71 Control of Communicable Diseases; Restrictions on African Rodents, Prairie Dogs, and Certain Other Animals.

Otherwise, there are no CDC regulations on interstate and intrastate transportation of animals.

Making Sure Pets Stay Healthy During Travel

Please read the Pet Travel page on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service site. It covers known scams, traveling containers, sedation, and more. Consult your veterinarian for more information regarding protecting your pet’s health while traveling.

Please note: CDC focuses its regulation efforts on ensuring the health and safety of the public. While it is important to make sure your pet stays healthy while traveling, CDC is primarily concerned with preventing the spread of diseases that affect humans.

 
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