Outdoor adventures are best shared with friends, and a man - or woman’s - best friend is many times a furry one.
While road tripping with a dog is relatively popular, international air travel still deters most pet owners. The regulations and requirements seem complicated at first, but they are not nearly as strict as they used to be. In fact, there has never been a better time to adventure internationally with your pup!
By far the easiest pet travel destinations include Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Though you can forget about taking your dog on holiday in Australia and New Zealand (a 10 day quarantine is still required), most international destinations accept pets without much hassle.
What you will need is an official health certificate stating that your dog is fit to travel, as well as a proof of its most recent rabies vaccination. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website will inform you of the regulations specific to each country. They can include proof of additional treatments (for example worming) as well as how many days your pet must be vaccinated for before it is allowed to enter a country.
On top of this, many international destinations require your dog to have a microchip. Abroad or at home, it allows for a quick identification of a lost pet and makes contacting the owner easy.
Although the US does not issue pet passports in the same way that the EU does, getting one for your dog is a good idea if you plan to enter Europe on a regular basis. Obtained in one of the EU countries, it will be valid as long as the latest rabies vaccination is certified in the passport by an EU veterinarian.
Putting your pup on a plane is always stressful and breeds bigger than 8kg (18lbs) typically have to travel as cargo. In most cases, they need to be prescribed tranquilizers to cope with the stress, so flying with a large dog is usually only worth it if you are going on a long trip.
Smaller breeds are allowed in the cabin as long as their container fits under the seat in front of you. Every airline has different fees and rules regarding the types of containers and breeds accepted (check them here). When booking your travel, make sure to inquire with the carrier if having a pet in the cabin is possible for your specific flight. Book it well in advance as the number of pets per flight is limited.
Get ready to fly
Apart from documents and fees, you must also remember to help your dog fly as comfortably as possible. To reduce stress, introduce your pup to the travel container many days ahead of your journey and keep training with yummy rewards.
On the day of your flight, pack water and a bowl, treats and some natural calming supplements. Reassure your pup with your calm behavior. If you are well prepared, everything will go smoothly and your holiday will be even better with your four-legged friend along for the ride!