Does My Dog Need a Passport?

Have you wondered what it’s like to travel with your dog, and what needs to be done to do so? Travelling with a dog is not as simple as travelling with a friend or a partner. Animals have different requirements that are costly and time-consuming.

Therefore, before booking a flight, a person must familiarize themselves with what’s demanded so they are able to travel with their dog. A common move in this situation is to contact an airline that is planned to be used to discuss travel plans, as different airlines have different rules when it comes to pet travel.

What is a Pet Travel Scheme?

Not all people may be aware of something known as a Pet Travel Scheme. A Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is a pet passport system originally established in the United Kingdom and is now used in European Union nations as well as in the U.S. This system allows our four-legged family members to travel abroad.

Before getting a PETS there are things that the owner needs to complete so their dog is able to travel legally. Moreover with PETS dogs avoid forced quarantine at the entry and exit.

Essential Dog Vaccinations

So are vaccinations essential for a dog when travelling abroad? For a dog to be granted a PETS, the owner must first take them to a certified vet. Veterinarians must be certified by the U.S Department of Agriculture so they are able to issue a dog passport. To get a dog passport, a dog must obtain essential vaccination – shot for rabies.

Dog owners must also ensure that they have received a certification stating that an up-to-date vaccination was made. Identification of a dog is also required. This is also done at the vet, where dogs get a microchip or tattoo that identifies them. It is now also a common thing that countries ask for evidence of treatment for ticks and tapeworm. Therefore, dog owners need to double-check if the country they want to visit has that requirement. PETS mainly apply to dogs but also cats.

Other Travel Restrictions for a Dog

Although some pets may already have their vaccinations, not all pets are allowed to travel. Various countries have distinct demands when it comes to travelling with a dog. For some countries dogs must be older than 4 months in order to be granted an entry, this applies to many countries, some of them include:

  • Austria (dogs must be 7 months old)
  • Bahamas (dogs must be 6 months old)
  • Canada (8 months unless a health certificate available)
  • Hong Kong (5 months)
  • Israel & Thailand (4 months)
  • Croatia, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Germany & Cyprus (3 and a half months)
  • Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, Czech Republic, & Turkey (3 months)

Other countries restrict entry in ways such as dogs must be vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before they travel. Some countries that require that are Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom. In comparison, some states demand a 21-day wait after rabies shot to be granted entry.

Some of these countries include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, or Spain. Additionally, some even require treatment for rabies to be done 24-120 hours before departure.

Thus, it is essential to check what are the requirements for the country you are travelling to, as sometimes they are so complex and time-consuming, that dog won’t be able to travel in time. To fly out, some of the U.S states also demand to complete the United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals, or the APHIS Form 7001.

This is a statement written by the vet to confirm a dog is in a good health situation, highlighting all required testings and treatments that have been done. The document is signed and dated by an examined vet.

After Obtaining a Dog Passport, what are the Flight Costs? 

Pet travel fee is not counted in the price of a flight ticket. People who travel with pets are requested to pay an extra separate fee of $100-200 depending on the airline.

Individuals who pay a dog fee and meet all airline demands are permitted to bring a dog in a crate under a seat, or in a cabin area (this also depends on the airline but also the size of the dog). Large dogs are mainly placed in cargo, a service that airlines offer. Price of this is dependable on the dog size and distance of the trip.

Each passenger allows only one dog. In rare cases, some airlines such as Southwest permit two small dogs in one carrier. Those that travel with a service dog, can bring a second small dog in a carrier.

The only time price rules don’t apply is when a passenger is travelling with a service dog. Service dogs are permitted to get on a plane and sit beside a person. The only requirements for a service dog are its medical documentation and a letter from the licensed vet.

Preparing the Dog for a Flight

It is essential that the owner gets the dog ready for a flight. Dog spaces are limited, so it’s essential to book a ticket and reserve a place for a pet as soon as possible. Some long international flights also don’t allow dogs to be placed in the cabin, this includes Hawaii flights or flights that are 12 hours long.

Dog carriers must have correct measurements, so they fit under a seat (this needs to be checked with an airline). A dog needs to be familiarized with the carrier and adjusted to spending time in it, so it doesn’t feel drastic and traumatic. As mentioned before, all medical information must be done prior to travel. An owner should also take copies of vaccination records in case of a documented loss

U.S Airlines that are Dog Friendly

These are the most common choices of airlines for pet owners:

  • American Airlines (fee: $125 per carrier)
  • United Airlines (fee: $125 per carrier)
  • Delta Airlines (fee: $125 per carrier)
  • Southwest Airlines (pet fee: $95 per carrier)
  • JetBlue Airlines (pet fee: $100 per pet)

What Countries Do Not Allow Dogs?

Countries that do not allow the entry of dogs are the Maldives. The Maldives, an Islamic country, has forbidden the entry of foreign dogs by law. Due to the strict Muslim religion, alcohol, pork, and dogs are not permitted.


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