Traveling with pets can be a hassle, particularly when taking an international trip. For dogs and cats, there's a lot more to do than just arranging a plane ride. Foreign countries and the U.S. have distinct requirements to successfully complete the steps needed for pets to travel internationally and then return to the U.S. The process can also vary by type of pet.
"Factors to consider may include meeting time frames for obtaining a health certificate, updating vaccinations, diagnostic testing, or administration of medications/treatments," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on the APHIS Pet Travel website.
With all that in mind, APHIS recently made some changes to the website to make the whole process easier and less stressful. These changes will benefit travelers and their veterinarians alike, according to a Feb. 7 bulletin. The USDA launched the APHIS Pet Travel website a few years ago, and the pages remain among the most visited on the USDA website.
The new page of Helpful References for Pet Travel contains general information about the international pet movement process, including the steps involved and frequently asked questions.
APHIS also made several changes to help accredited veterinarians through the pet travel process, which involves examining pets, completing necessary tests, and submitting the required documentation through APHIS' online Veterinary Export Health Certification System.
APHIS added color-coded banners on the country-specific pages of the Pet Travel website that provide information about whether digital or hard-copy signatures must be used, both by the accredited veterinarian and by the APHIS endorsing veterinarian. The USDA also updated the country-specific pages to add guidance documents and annotated certificates to help ensure the forms are completed correctly.
View a guidance document (PDF) about the color banners.