If you plan to travel by auto or air with your pet to another state or internationally, your pet may require a certificate of veterinary inspection. A health certificate is a federal document generated by a federally-accredited veterinarian. The certificate ensures that a pet has met certain health criteria. There are two general types of health certificates for pets: domestic for interstate travel within the U.S. (usually by air) and international. Both types have stringent rules veterinarians cannot bend.
Domestic Health Certificates
Some common requirements for pets traveling to other states include a current rabies vaccination and testing negative for heartworm or currently on a heartworm preventative. Requirements vary from state-to-state. Domestic health certificates must be written the same day the veterinarian completes a thorough physical exam and cannot back-dated. Check with your airlines and the states you’re driving through to see if they require one (each is different).
Click here to see the requirements for your destination state(s).
International Health Certificates
International health certificates vary by country, can be quite complicated, and often take several months to complete. As soon as you know your travel details, contact Commencement Bay Animal Hospital in Tacoma, WA, to assist you with the pet travel process. We will help you determine the destination country’s requirements, including any needed vaccinations, tests, and/or treatments.
Call us at (253) 475-5301 and be sure to provide the following information:
• The type of animal that will be traveling
• The country of destination
• The date of departure from the U.S.
• Whether your pet will be traveling alone, as cargo, or with a person in the cabin of the plane
Some countries require you to meet time frames for updating your pet’s vaccinations, diagnostic testing, or administration of treatments and/or medications, so start the process EARLY! If your pet is eligible for a health certificate we will issue it within the validity period (the time-frame for which the certificate can be used for your pet to travel) set by your destination country.
For detailed information about five steps in obtaining an international health certificate for your pet, visit the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service USDA APHIS.