Traveling With Pets

Images by Ryan Jello/Getty Images and Serg_Velusceac/Getty Images. International travel: dog seated in window seat and cat peaking out of luggage.

Pre-travel Personal Planning


Take further precautions before committing to international travel if you are traveling with service animals or pets:

  • Plan early. If pets will remain at home, arrange to have friends, family, or a boarding kennel care for them. Many kennels require vaccinations that many pets may not routinely get, like influenza, kennel cough, and leptospirosis. Allow time for an appointment with your veterinarian. Kennels typically require proof of vaccination with enough time (7-10 days) to have passed for the animal to develop immunity.
  • If pets will travel, contact a veterinarian to determine the requirements of the travel destination. This should begin several months before travel. Vaccinations, medical testing, health certificates, and other paperwork potentially required by the destination country may need U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval.
  • Prepare for expensive quarantine procedures that can result in long separations from your pet.
  • Consult with your carrier early. Airlines have specific requirements when shipping pets.
  • Before leaving the United States, check for any specific USDA re-entry requirements.
Page last reviewed: August 28, 2019