A look at how to get the right documents for your pets.
Getting travel documents for yourself can be confusing sometimes, let alone getting them for your pet. If you prepare yourself in a timely manner and learn what you need to do ahead of time you should be alright.
Before even thinking of pulling out an international travel document for your pet make sure that all of their shots are up to date. Depending on the country you are going to they might have different requirements, however, usually they want to make sure that the animal has had a microchip installed, that their rabies shot is current and that they have no serious or contagious disease.
You can call your local Department of Agriculture office in order to find out exactly what you need for the specific country to which your pet will be traveling to. To find a local Department of Agriculture office you can go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/ .
Chances are you might have to make more than one trip to the vet in order to get all of your pets shots in order, get the travel exam done, and the documents taken care of. The first time you go in to your vets office feel free to ask them any questions about your pets well being on the trip. If it is your regular vet they should know your pet and their needs so they can make suggestions of how to feed your pet, if it needs any medications or any special care. You can also ask them to give your pet a mild sedative to help them relax during the trip. These days airlines will not take fully sedated pets on board, however, something that helps calm your pets so they don’t bark, meow, jump around or scratch is a good thing. It will not only help eliminate the nuisance and embarrassment for you but will also ease your pets nerves.
If you have more than one pet traveling at the same time the vet can put some of them on the same travel document to save you from paying several fees at the Department of Agriculture.
Most of the countries require your pet to be micro chipped and have special requirements regarding it, generally your vet should be knowledgeable about this. In case they are not you can ask them to call the Department of Agriculture and ask them for the specific requirements.
Once your pet passes their exam and the vet fills out it’s travel document you will need to take it to your local Department of Agriculture office to get it approved and stamped. This will also require you to schedule an appointment ahead of time, so keep that in mind when planning the trip. The travel document has to be taken out within ten days of your trip. Technically it is valid for 30 days by law, and your vet will tell you that, however, most of the airline companies require for it not to be older than 10 days from the day of your trip.
The Department of Agriculture appointment goes pretty smoothly. Usually you just walk in, hand over the papers, they check them and stamp them and you are all done.
Published in: Pets