Interstate Travel Certificates
The best advice we can give pet owners planning to travel with their pets is to be proactive. Avoid additional stress as your trip nears closer by planning well in advance. At AM/PM Animal Hospital, our doctors are certified to provide necessary certificates of veterinary inspection for interstate travel.
For complete preparedness, review specific USDA regulations for each state you will be visiting and/or traveling through.
Interstate Travel Certificate Requirements
For the safety of your pet, your fellow passengers, and the ecosystem which you will be visiting, it is crucial for your pet to be healthy and properly vaccinated prior to departure. This is why, before we can complete your pet’s health certificate, we must make sure that your pet is:
- Healthy enough to travel
- Free of parasites
- Over the age of 8 weeks
- Vaccinated appropriately
For Interstate Air Travel
Book the trip with your airline over the phone and confirm that they will have enough space for your pet before booking your own flight. Pets will be safest, most comfortable, and least stressed traveling with you in the passenger cabin, so it’s important to confirm this with the airline when booking your trip. If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, be sure they will be protected against extreme hot or cold temperatures with an acclimation certificate. It’s also important to research if your airline has any special policies regarding pet travel. For example, some airlines do not allow “snub-nosed” dogs, such as pugs or french bulldogs, to travel in the cargo hold.
For domestic travel, no matter the destination, any pet boarding an aircraft is legally required to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination, and a health certificate dated within the past 30 days. Airlines cannot admit animals without this paperwork, due to USDA regulations.
Once you have the required paperwork and your flight is booked, remember to make sure your pet has been exercised, hydrated, and visited a pet relief station directly before flying.
For Interstate Vehicle Travel
If your pet has no problem living life on the go, that’s great! However, motion sickness and travel anxiety are realities for many pets. Please be patient if this is the case for your pet. Pets do best on a consistent routine, so do your best to have mealtimes, walks, and bathroom breaks at similar times each day. Medication is an option to curtail nausea and stress, but never give your pet medication before consulting with your veterinarian first. Avoid feeding right before travel to minimize risk of vomiting.
Give your pet some time to become familiar with the vehicle before departing. It’s beneficial to bring blankets and toys with familiar scents from home, and pheromones and homeopathic remedies may also help your pet feel more at ease. Gradually drive greater distances over time, and make it a positive experience for your pet with plenty of cuddles, treats, and praise. For everyone’s safety, keep your pet restrained and secure with a carrier, crate, or harness. Finally, keep the radio at a reasonable volume. Loud noises can make pets more fearful.
If you will be traveling by bus or train, check to make sure your pet can board with you before booking travel for yourself. When you reach your destination, give your pet time to relax and acclimate to his or her surroundings.
Make a checklist of all your pet’s travel essentials before hitting the road. Pay attention to how much food and fresh water your pet will need, as a sudden dietary change may cause an upset stomach. Bring food and water dishes, bedding and toys for comfort, and if your pet needs medications, this should be at the top of your list!
We recommend all pets under our care always wear a collar, leash, ID tag, and have a registered microchip with current contact information. Accidents happen! It’s best to be prepared with the most complete pet identification.
In case of an emergency, and to prevent receiving any fines, bring a copy of your pet’s medical records. It’s also a good idea to have your primary veterinarian’s contact information on hand.
Have a safe and enjoyable trip!