This post was most recently updated on September 17th, 2019

So, you want to bring your four-legged best friend with you on your adventures abroad. After all, think of the many countless photo ops you can get of your puppy playing in the sand, or your cat strolling through the city. But before you pack up Fido, you may think to yourself, wait a sec, do I need to get my pet a passport?

Whether you’re headed on a quick trip or you’re jumping ship, having the right international travel documentation will get you and your little pal off to an amazing journey. Knowing the rules and regulations of the country you’re traveling to will help get your buddy on board in no time!

Head to the VetVet smiling holding a cat

While the range of diseases your beloved furry friend can carry is vast, the one considered most severe of the lot is rabies. So, before you hit ‘book’ on those purr-fect flight deals you found, you need to bring your pet to a vet to get tested and vaccinated for rabies. Also, your vet should be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or else the certificates may not be valid. Once your vet has given your pet the green light to travel abroad (in official certificate form, of course), you’ll be good to go!

It’s impaw-tant to remember that even if your pup is vaccinated, they won’t be able to travel unless they’re at least 4 months old.

You’ll also want to check the guidelines of the country you’ll be traveling to; some places won’t allow pets who haven’t been vaccinated for 21 days before travel, while others require your dog to be treated for tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before your flight. So preparing your pet far in advance is key to successfully bringing them with you on vacay!

Complete Your Pet’s Passportdog holding passport in mouth

Once your fur baby gets a clean bill of health, your vet will be able to provide you with your new passport plus any other documents needed for pet travel. No matter which country you’re traveling to, you’ll need both a rabies certificate and a health certificate from your vet (which is sometimes also referred to as a Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate), although the rules vary from country to country. Most importantly, the certificate should include your pet’s name and essential information about the vaccine such as when it was given, when the expiration date is, and the name of the manufacturer. Once Fido is in the clear, make sure you have valid registration tags.

Also, certain states require you to fill out the APHIS Form 7001, the United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals, or to receive approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Check with the specifics of the state or country you’re traveling to since they each have different requirements about how much time your pet needs to be approved before your trip. In Hawaii, for example, you’ll need your passport complete six months ahead of your flight or your poor pet could be quarantined. Oh no!

Just for Doggosdog wearing straw hat sitting next to opened luggage

If you’re bringing your doggie to the U.S., you may need to give them just a little extra care before you travel. Our favorite canine creatures are often susceptible to icky things like screwworms (super gross – we know!), so it’s important to get that checked out five days before vacay time, as well as written verification from your vet that they’re in the clear. If you’ve got a little pup, they’ll need to be vaccinated for rabies when they are three months old and then wait about a month for them to travel, and make sure you have proof of your pupper’s age on hand. Even though you have to make a little extra effort to bring your four-legged best friend with you, it will be worth it when you see how much fun they have!

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About The Author

Gabby Teaman

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.