How to Prepare for Travel with Your Dog

Two dogs on a boat; travel with your dog

You’ve planned your long awaited summer vacation, and it looks like you’re really going to travel with your dog and have the time of your life. You even found an amazing pet-friendly hotel to stay at so that you can enjoy your time while having fun with your Fido.

While you surely know all the things you need before traveling such as your passport, first aid kit and insurance, are you completely aware of what your dog might need before joining you on your trip?

As it turns out, simply packing your dog’s food and bowls unfortunately won’t do. Let’s see what things you have to worry about before bringing your pooch to the plane.

1. Pet passport

A number one requirement for international travel with your dog is to provide your pup with a real canine passport. Depending on the country you’re traveling to, you might be asked to provide different types of information and documents.

You will need to fill forms with ownership details, the dog’s description and markings and record of health checks. You’ll need your pet’s vaccination history as well. Your veterinarian will issue the pet passport.

If you’re traveling to a European Union country, you will probably be issued an EU entry health certificate and USDA health certificate before entering the country.

2. Rabies vaccine

All countries require that animals entering their territory have proof of vaccination against rabies. Rabies is a dangerous and highly contagious disease in dogs, which is why this step is crucial.

If you followed the regular puppy vaccination schedule, your pup has surely been vaccinated against this fatal disease. But, some countries (such as UK) do not accept vaccinations administered before micro-chipping. Therefore, if you have micro-chipped your dog only recently, you might need to re-vaccinate your pup. Then you’ll have to wait another 21 to 40 days before finally traveling.

Even though most countries require yearly rabies vaccination, three-year vaccines are usually fine.

If you’re coming from a country with high-risk for rabies, your pet might also need to do a rabies titer test.

This all brings us to the third item of this list.

3. Microchip

Most EU countries (and other countries) require an ISO-compatible microchip for all visiting pets.

This means you will have to microchip your pup if traveling to some of these countries. Remember any vaccinations given before the microchipping will be invalidated, which is why you should always do the microchipping first.

Man on trail with dog in backpack; travel with your dog

4. Pet insurance

You want to make sure nothing goes wrong while you and your pooch are enjoying a new travel destination. Getting pet insurance that covers any eventual health issues while you’re away from home might be a good idea.

Make sure you inform yourself first on the best pet insurance. Learn about what they will cover in case of emergency or a health issue.

5. Tapeworm treatment

Countries such as Malta, Norway and New Zealand require all visiting dogs to have a tapeworm treatment prior to arrival.

Make sure to inform yourself about your destination’s incoming pet policy before packing your bags.

6. Appropriate crate

If you’re traveling by plane, you will need a crate of appropriate size to ensure your dog can travel safely. Be aware that flying can be a traumatizing experience to some dogs. Provide your dog with a toy, or a piece of clothes of yours that will calm him when he’s alone. Otherwise, your dog might end up crying in its crate for the entire length of the trip and dealing with too much stress. This could disrupt your travel plans and make your dog more anxious than ever before.

7. Special requirements

Some countries require specific health certificates for all visiting dogs. Meanwhile, others have blacklists of banned dog breeds that are never allowed to enter their territories. Several countries (UK, Ireland, France and Denmark, just to name a few) ban popular guard dogs such as American Staffordshire terriers, pit bulls and Dogo Argentinos.

Inform yourself of your destination’s pet policies and banned breeds before finally deciding to book that pet-friendly hotel. It might turn out that your pup is not really wanted there.

About Kristina Lalovic


Kristina has been curious about animals since her early childhood. Growing up around dogs helped her understand our pets better and gain interest about their world, health and behavior. She's the editor at different websites in the health niche and pet niche.

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