Do you want to know how to fly with your dog internationally or travel overseas with your pet? Many dog owners want to live and work overseas but are worried about airline restrictions on pets in the cabin (many airlines don’t allow animals in the cabin at all). They are confused about what countries require when you want to bring your pet with you.
Many other dog owners would like to travel outside their home country, test the waters, and see how life abroad is for them and their fur babies. The air travel component is what scares them with their dog or cat. They are not sure what the entry requirements are when it comes to pets.
Dogs are the best friends a person could ask for. It’s why we love them and treat them as our babies. But traveling with your dog internationally is challenging — even if you can afford it. For a lot of us, traveling internationally with our dogs is more about a lifestyle that suits us than anything else.
Some countries allow pet dogs to travel into the country with no quarantine period. Some countries have quarantine periods of up to 6 months. You want to know in advance exactly what is going to happen if you arrive somewhere.
Find out if your chosen destination is dog-friendly. Use this handy tool (usda aphis) from the USDA to find out what the policies are in the country you want to visit or live in: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/. Choose Export from the USA and select your destination country. You will be given the requirements for travel for your pet. Now you have an idea of what paperwork you need, the rules and regulations, and how hard it is to bring a pet to your desired country.
How it looked when I ran Colombia:
The Most Dog-Friendly Countries in the World
Here’s a list of the Top 20 dog-friendly Countries, as ranked by bestlifeonline.com: France, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Japan, The Bahamas, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Brazil, Belgium, Norway, Croatia. Read up on the rankings here.
Your Vet Can Help With Your Pet Travel Plans
The first step to flying with your dog is making sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. If you’re planning on taking your dog abroad for the first time, your accredited veterinarian can help prepare for the trip and make sure that he or she is up to date on vaccinations and other vet care.
Your dog needs a rabies shot at least 30 days before traveling internationally. For some countries, however, it’s best to wait six months or more after the last rabies vaccination before traveling with your dog. If you’re unsure about whether or not your pet has been vaccinated against rabies in the past six months, talk to your vet about getting a booster shot as soon as possible.
Your vet can also prescribe other medications or treatments if needed — for example, if your dog has ever been infected with heartworm disease, it’s important that he or she receives preventative treatment before traveling abroad.
Let’s Talk About Airline Policies for Pets
If you’re planning an international trip with your dog, you’ll need to make some changes to your travel plans. Flying with a pet requires careful planning and preparation, but it’s not as difficult or expensive as it seems at first.
Can my dog travel in the cabin?
The first thing to do is call the airlines before booking your flight. Each airline has different policies regarding pets and their weight and size restrictions may vary widely. Some airlines allow pets up to 20 pounds while others will only allow animals under 5 pounds in their cabin.
Some airlines also have restrictions on breeds that they will fly while others will not accept certain breeds because they are considered too dangerous or aggressive. The best way to find out how much your particular pet can weigh is by contacting the airline directly before booking your ticket so that you know what to expect when it comes time to get on board.
This is from an article written by Steph—”I want to bring my dog, Django but no airlines offer in-cabin pet travel to the United Kingdom from the United States. Unless you have a service animal, it is impossible to fly together in the cabin with your pet. The UK government is behind this strict rule and supposedly enforced it to curb the spread of rabies and better control the transport of animals into the UK.
The only time pets can fly in-cabin to England, Scotland or Wales is if you are flying from UK countries, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or the Republic of Ireland.
Service animals are the exception. If you have a true service animal per the U.S. Department of Transportation definition—your dog is allowed to accompany you in the cabin of the aircraft for no fee.”
What If You Are Traveling With a Big Dog?
When you’re traveling with your dog, you want to make sure they are comfortable and safe. When you are flying internationally, you may have additional questions about how to prepare for your trip.
Most airlines allow dogs in the cabin of the plane — but there are some exceptions. Dogs must be small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of yours. If your dog is too big for this, it may require extra fees or accommodations. There are restrictions on flight time. Some airlines won’t allow pets in the cabin on flights over 8 hours.
Some airlines don’t allow any pets in the cabin; others allow cats and small dogs but not larger ones (which means no Great Danes for example). Check with your airline ahead of time so you don’t have any surprises when you get to the airport.
If your dog is too big for an under-the-seat carrier or too active to sit quietly in one for an extended period of time, consider using a pet travel service to handle your dog or cat. Pet Express is one such service that can take care of the entire process for you.
How To Buy The Right Dog Carrier For Your Trip
If you’re planning a long-distance trip with your dog, it’s important to pack the right gear. Dog carriers are essential for transporting your pet safely and comfortably in the car, but they can also come in handy if you’re flying on an airplane or train.
Here are some tips and tricks for buying the right type of dog carrier for your trip:
If you’re flying and want your pet to have plenty of room to move around in their crate, then don’t bother with anything smaller than 17 inches by 12 inches by 7.5 inches. This is also the biggest carrier you can bring on the plane. If your pet won’t fit in this carrier that fits under the seat, you cannot bring the pet with you in the cabin.
Pick a material that’s easy to clean. You’ll be using this crate for years, so it’s worth it to get something that will hold up well over time — even if it costs more than other options. Look for one made from thick plastic or metal instead of flimsy materials like mesh or cloth. The best crates have removable floors so that messes can be cleaned up easily without having to wash the entire unit every time it gets dirty. Here’s an article with more on choosing a pet carrier.
What About Bringing Food? How do you handle Raw Dog Food?
If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll need to plan ahead for your dog’s food.
For most international flights, airlines have restrictions on what kind of food you can bring on board with your dog. Many airlines will allow canned or dried dog food in small quantities but it must meet certain requirements: no larger than 2 oz per container; vacuum sealed or packed in plastic bags; only one container per person allowed (this includes people traveling with more than one pet). Raw food is generally treated the same as people’s food. Meaning it is ok for carryon. It is recommended that you pull food containers out of your bags for easier inspection when going through security.
One tip: freeze your food and let it thaw slowly for meals later in a day or tomorrow. Especially when bringing food in checked bags.
The best way to handle food is to feed your dog well before the flight time and only bring small snacks or treats. Added bonus: they can poop in a nicer location than the plane!
Preparing Your Dog For An International Flight
Before you fly, there are a few things you should do to make sure your dog is ready for an international flight. International flights can be stressful for both humans and their pets. To make sure your dog is comfortable and safe during their journey, you’ll want to prepare them well in advance.
Collar tags for international travel
Make sure that your pet has a collar and tags or microchip with contact information for whomever you are staying with while abroad. This information should include their full name and cell phone number if possible. If you do not want to put your personal information on the tag, consider using your vet’s name and address instead. Section: You’ll want to give your dog a sedative for the flight.
HOT TIP: A microchip and an ISO compliant ID tag can help reunite you and your lost dog.
Get your dog used to his travel carrier before the trip.
The first time you take your dog on an airplane, it may be a little scary for both of you. Your dog might not understand why he’s being confined in a small carrier, and you might worry that he’ll feel like he’s being punished.
Get your dog used to his travel carrier before he’s flying in the cabin. Many dogs can be frightened by being locked up in a cage or crate, especially if they’ve never been in one before. You should start getting him used to his carrier at least a week before your trip so he doesn’t have any bad associations with it when it comes time for takeoff! Try putting treats or toys in the carrier so he can explore safely without getting stuck inside — then gradually increase the amount of time he spends in there until he’s comfortable staying inside for short periods of time.
Documents are crucial (have a pet passport)
Is a pet passport a real thing? No. It refers to having all the proper documents with you to prove the dog is healthy, up to date on shots and other requirements. Make sure you have all of your documentation with you on the trip, including copies of records for your dog and other documentation required by both the airline and destination country.
ID tags, vaccination records, and health certificates are required by law of any animal traveling by air. Make sure these documents are up-to-date at all times because airlines may not allow animals without up-to-date paperwork to board their flights. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure that your dog’s rabies vaccination is valid in the country you’re visiting. You want to have all your paperwork ready when entering the country.
HOT TIP: Consider getting your dog TSA Global Entry so they can travel through customs quickly.
The final word on pets and travel
With the right planning and preparation, you can travel with your dog internationally without undue stress or worry. This does not have to be the reason holding you back from your international travel plans
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