If you’re going to be traveling internationally or across state lines and plan to take your pet with you, it’s important to be aware of exactly what will be required for your animal companion to make the trip. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet is physically healthy enough for travel. The veterinarians at Irving Pet Hospital are USDA-accredited and can assist you in getting your pet ready for your trip!
International travel for pets requires an International Health Certificate (IHC)—and some countries also request proof of additional vaccinations and testing. You will find the certificate and other information about what’s required for your pet to travel at the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) page from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
While the certificate must be prepared by a USDA-accredited veterinarian, the requirements for entry are established by each individual country. When traveling internationally, the link within the APHIS website will specify the IHC for that individual country. You must click the country’s link for all requirements and forms. Please read the specifics of your travel destination carefully, then make sure to click on any links attached to the website, including the certificate itself.
If you’re traveling with your pet from state to state, there may also be some health and documentation requirements. Your first step should be checking the USDA-APHIS page for interstate travel. It’s important you do your research and know exactly what is required before your trip with your pet.
You are responsible for scheduling all appointments within the appropriate time frame requirements for travel, and for providing the hospital with the proper information and forms. This process can be time-consuming, and some countries require a 30-day preparation window, so plan accordingly.
Once your veterinarian completes the health certificate, it will need to be submitted for endorsement by mail or in person at your local USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services Export Service Office. There is an endorsement fee based on destination requirements. You will also need to provide a .pdf from UPS or FedEx showing shipping confirmation—we do not handle the sending of these certificates for USDA endorsement.
It’s also important to note that many airlines require that health certificates be completed no more than 10 days prior to travel. Once the client receives the health certificate, the health certificate is not finalized unless it has obtained endorsement under USDA-APHIS.
You’ll want to contact your specific airline to find out their pet carriage policy, not only with regard to documentation but also about what kind of pets are allowed to fly and when. The airline industry has drastically changed many policies about pet travel over the past few years, so you’ll want to check early and ensure your pet is indeed allowed to fly. Please let us know if your airline requires an International Health Certificate (IHC) or Certificate Of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). We are happy to provide one at the time of your visit.
Also be aware of the following when working with us to prepare your pet for travel:
- There may be additional costs for additional exams, deworming treatments, tick treatments, and repeat visits as needed to satisfy the country’s specifications.
- After contacting us for your pet’s travel appointment, please use the form at the bottom of this page to submit the details of your travel. This information and all supporting documentation including rabies certificates, vaccine history, microchip implant records, etc. should be made available to us at least 5 business days before your appointment. Failure to have all the necessary prep work and documentation submitted to us may result in an additional expedited IHC preparation fee.
- We will also need physical copies of all vaccination certificates and required testing to review in order to complete ANY certificate. Digital copies are fine for the prep work needed before your appointment, but physical copies are required at the time of appointment. Note: If any vaccinations, tests, or other health-related issues have to be addressed, they must be done at a separate visit and cannot be done at the same time as the IHC.
Have more questions about traveling with your pet or need to make an appointment? Give us a call at (415) 664-0191.