Dog and Cat Travel PassportTraveling with Your Pet

Health certificates for pets are required for travel within the United States (regardless if crossing state lines by car or by plane) as well as for international travel.

Whether for domestic or international travel, we will be happy to help you with your pet's health certificate. Like visas, we need several weeks to process the paperwork.

There are certain countries that require unusual procedures. It is your job to determine the proper requirements and find out exactly what is needed to ensure a happy trip for both you and your pet. It is necessary to have an International Health Certificate if you plan to travel internationally with your pet. Many countries, the European Union included, have their own health certificates specific to their own country.

However, if you are traveling to a country with no specific health certificate requirement, you will then need the International Health Certificate (USDA-APHIS 7001).

Doctors Lyden, Sacks and Pieczynski at Nickel City Animal Hospital are accredited by the USDA to sign Health Certificates for your pets as you prepare them for domestic and international travel.

We are here to help you in any way we can to get you and your pet to your destination. Feel free to call us at 716-847-1000 with any questions or to book an appointment for a domestic or international health certificate.

Travel Planning Tips

Start planning at least two months ahead of time for domestic travel or four months for international travel to make sure that you are familiar with all the necessary requirements.

If traveling by car, make sure to have copies of your pet's vaccine history, including the most current rabies certificate proving legal vaccination for rabies. Be sure to have a health certificate from your veterinarian for your pet's most recent wellness visit.

If traveling by plane, research the airlines that you plan to use. Some airlines have their own requirements while others defer to the destination state or country. Important questions to ask:

  • What are the airline's policies regarding pet travel?o Which airplanes in their fleet have a cargo space available for larger pets (this will affect which flights are available for your trip)?
  • Which flights allow smaller pets in the cabin space?
  • What type of pet carrier do they recommend?
  • What are their procedures for dropping off and picking up your pet? Airlines may differ on what they offer for loading and unloading.
  • Do they have a non-stop flight for you and your pet to your destination? How do they handle layovers between flights when your pet is on board?

Please click here to download the International Health Certificate for Pet Sheet that we created to help with travel.

**Only United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved veterinarians are allowed to issue an international health certificate. Nickel City Animal Hospital currently has veterinarians on staff that are approved to issue certificates for international travel. **

Nickel City Animal Hospital Health Certificate Policy

Refer to our helpful checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and the other states. It is helpful to review this checklist PRIOR to making travel arrangements.

International travel health certificates are VERY complicated and time sensitive. We have created a checklist to help you prepare for international travel. There are two ways to prepare for an international health certificate examination:

1. See the links below for the paperwork needed to travel to your country of destination. Print out the paperwork, review it, and, on a separate sheet of paper, write down all of the pertinent information your veterinary office will need. Bring ALL documentation and information to NCAH health certificate examination appointment.

2. As a pet owner, you must know everything that you will need in order to travel with your pet. A veterinarian will examine your pet during your Health Certificate Appointment and the staff of the hospital will complete the forms that you provide. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide all proper and necessary paperwork and present a complete list of requirements for the country you are travelling to so that the veterinarian is able to complete the appropriate tests during the exam. Any misinformation provided to the veterinarian (such as the wrong departure/destination address or not having proof of rabies certification) can cause havoc with the international health certificate process and, in some cases, prevent you from traveling with your pet.

Some documents are required to be shipped overnight, signed by the APHIS Veterinary Services Service Center, then returned all in a certain time period. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and consider how office hours during the week as well as weekends will affect these strict time constraints. Some countries require quarantines or special tests prior to travel and these processes can take time.

As you can see, the procedure to complete a Health Certificate and all the related documents while meeting USDA requirements is very detailed, time sensitive, and specific so we ask for your cooperation, preparation, and patience so that we can do our part to ensure everything is completed before you travel.

Helpful Resources

USDA Animal Import/Export Guidelines
New York – Veterinary Services Endorsement Office
Canadian Animal Health Offices
Canadian International Health Certificate
International Health Certificate for Pet Sheet