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Tips for Pet Travel

Tips for Pet Travel

If you are moving to a new state or traveling with your pet-especially to other countries (even Canada and the Caribbean)-you will likely need an Interstate or International Health Certificate. To know for sure what is required, St. Marks Veterinary Hospital recommends contacting the visiting country's consulate or embassy. A helpful list can be found at:

Additionally, The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for ensuring that people traveling by air with pets treat them safely and humanely. This includes regulations, tests, inspections and forms that need to be completed by an accredited APHIS Veterinarian before you travel.

We are fully capable of helping you find and fill out the necessary paperwork as well as provide a number of pet traveling tips to make sure that your trip is safe, fun and relaxing. The following should help you get started:

Wellness Checkup - Before your trip, you need to have your pet examined (usually within 10 days of travel) to ensure that it is healthy enough to make the trip. All dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been weaned before traveling by air. They must be up-to-date on all vaccinations and free of internal and external parasites. In order to sign an International Health Certificate we must be sure the pets are free of any infectious or contagious diseases.

Safe Travel Carrier - If traveling by air, your pet must be in a kennel that meets standards for size, strength, sanitation and ventilation. Here are some specifics directly from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:

Pet Bird Travel Abroad - Bird owners that take their pets with them while traveling abroad are generally exempted from some USDA quarantine and foreign certification requirements for imported birds. This exception applies only to birds from the U.S. and is permitted as long as the owner makes special arrangements in advance. If you wish to take your bird abroad you must obtain all necessary documents from the USDA and the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service before departure. For more information on traveling abroad with your bird, contact: USDA APHIS Veterinary Service at 4700 River Road, Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20731-1231. The telephone number is (301) 734-5097.

Additional Measures - We also recommend the following:

For additional questions about traveling with your pet, including each country's requirements, please visit the US Department of Agriculture's website at Make sure you check your airline's requirements as they can even be more strict than those of the country. A list of pet-friendly hotels can be found at

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