Health Certificates for Traveling Pets

A health certificate is an official government document that is required for any animal traveling to another state or another country. A health certificate (sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or CVI) is necessary whether an animal is traveling by auto, plane, train, or boat. If you are transporting your pet via personal auto and elect not to have a health certificate done, you do so at your own risk. If you are stopped during your travels and asked by authorities to present a health certificate for your pet and are unable to do so, the officials may have the right to detain the animal, or refuse to allow the animal to enter the state or country. (Rules vary by state & country.)

Requirements for transporting a pet by air may vary from airline to airline; usually the health certificate must be done within 10 days of the animal’s travel date, but you should always check with your airline for specifics, and it’s a good idea to check with someone at the airline on the phone as well as looking for information on the airline website.

For travel within the continental United States*, a current Rabies vaccination and an examination by an accredited veterinarian deeming your pet healthy (no evidence of infectious, contagious, or communicable diseases) are usually all that is required to obtain the health certificate. If you are traveling outside the continental United States**, in addition to a current Rabies vaccination and physical examination, your pet will very likely need to have a microchip implant that meets the current ISO standards.

For animals traveling overseas, additional requirements may include a second Rabies vaccination; vaccinations against various viral or bacterial diseases; parasite treatments; diagnostic blood tests; and sometimes a mandatory quarantine period. It is important to understand that it may take as much as 6 months or more to prepare your pet for import to another country, especially if the country is officially classified as “Rabies Free.” If you anticipate a move out of the United States, check the import regulations as soon as possible! Please note that import & export requirements frequently change, so you must be sure to obtain current requirements every time you travel. The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website is an excellent source of information. You may also contact our office with any questions you may have!

*Including Alaska
**Hawaii, Guam, and foreign countries