How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

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author-photo Danijela Horvat
How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads
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Traveling with pets can be a challenging and stressful experience if you don’t know how to travel with pets. They are part of our families, which every pet owner agrees upon. As a digital nomad, you do not have to give up your furry friends and leave them behind just so you can travel. Bring them with you and have an adventure together.

This is why we are answering how to travel with pets internationally in this article. Keep reading to understand what it takes when you want to travel with a pet on a plane, and what can you expect.

International Pet Travel: Common U.S. Requirements You Need to Know

The country the pet is coming from, especially if it’s one where dog rabies is a risk, will determine whether you can bring the dog into the United States. Your dog must fulfill certain requirements before being allowed to enter the United States.

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

Here is what you need to have when traveling to the US with your pets:

  • If your dog is vaccinated in a foreign country before coming into the United States from rabies-risk countries must have a CDC Dog Import Permit or a reservation at an approved animal care facility by the CDC and a current CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record.
  • All pets must arrive looking healthy. To rule out diseases that can infect humans, sick or injured dogs will need to undergo veterinary examinations and testing at the importer’s expense.
  • Written declarations and other documentation must be in English or have an official translation into English by a licensed translator.
  • If your pet has not spent the previous six months in a rabies high-risk country, then the CDC does not require importers to provide proof of rabies vaccination.

Returning to the US With Your Pet

If you are coming back to the US from abroad with your dog, the requirements are the same as when you were leaving the country. First and foremost your dog must be healthy when entering the United States. Also, if you are coming from a country where rabies is an issue, you must present a rabies vaccination certificate to officials. CDC has the most recent information about re entering the US.

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads
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How to Plan Your Long Travel and Living with a Pet

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

Destination Rules and Requirements

Before you go, be sure to read over and comprehend all the rules regarding pets and animal ownership in your new state, city, apartment complex, etc. A health certificate from a veterinarian may be necessary in some places.

It’s imperative to be aware of this in advance because certain locations strictly prohibit certain pet breeds. To examine some of these laws and regulations, visit the Department of Agriculture website.

Quarantine

There are three rabies-related classifications for the nations of the world: high-rabies countries, rabies-controlled countries, and rabies-free countries. It’s crucial to understand both the rabies classifications of the country from which your pet is coming and the country to which it will be traveling before sending them on an international trip.

You must be informed of the quarantine rules of the countries into which you must clear customs if your pet has layovers on its voyage that last more than two hours or if you are switching planes.

Research Airline Regulations

If you have an option, choose the train or the car. Use common sense if you must travel by air, and be aware that you must take extra safety measures if your dog is old, unwell, or of a snub-nosed breed.

You should hire the services of a certified pet carrier if you cannot fly along with your pet for any reason if you are going to a place with intricate regulations, or if you have trouble communicating in a foreign language.

Make sure to research airline regulations months in advance if possible. For most of them, you have to reserve your pet transport ahead of time. If your pet is small it will most probably be allowed in a carrier that can fit under your seat. Larger pets must travel in cargo.

Gathering Essential Paperwork and Pet Passport

Most countries require pet documentation such as a pet passport, vaccination certificate, and health certificate from accredited veterinarians. Some of this paperwork will take time, especially if you are required to do rabies vaccination.

After a booster shot, you will have to wait a minimum of 21 days before you can fly. Also, an international health certificate must be sent to the airline at least ten days before your flight.

Microchip

For the majority of pets, this brief operation is required. A microchip will become nearly necessary for long-distance travel if your pet doesn’t already have one. The chip will let whoever finds your pet have your contact information if you and it ever become separated.

Vaccinations

Before traveling, many foreign organizations demand rabies vaccines for both cats and dogs. It’s a wise precaution to update your pet’s immunizations before travel, especially if you’re going somewhere risky.

 Blood Test

You might ask your veterinarian for a blood test if you’re unsure if your pet can travel. Blood tests can detect the disease as well as assess organ function, hormone levels, and electrolyte balance. These signs might help determine whether your pet is physically prepared to travel.

Parasites Checkup

Veterinarians frequently use fecal samples to diagnose parasites in cats and dogs. This is a quick process that can be completed the same day that the sample is received. A parasite checkup is one of many things you can do to make sure your pet is healthy, so you can have peace of mind while traveling.

Common Requirements for Different Countries

Most countries have similar requirements and they include that your dog has paperwork in order which includes recent vaccinations, blood tests, permits, microchips for identification, and health certificates. Some countries will require quarantine as well, so good research is essential.

The Contact Information on the Collar

Ensure that your dog has a strong collar and leash. The dog’s name, your name, your home phone number, and identification tags with the dog’s rabies vaccination records should all be attached to the collar. If you expect to be gone for a longer period, think about getting a second identification tag that includes the address and phone number of your destination.

Finding Housing

Long before your vacation, locate and reserve pet-friendly hotels or B&Bs. Additionally, you want to list places where you can eat and walk your pet. It’s risky and, in some places, against the law to leave your pet in the car.

Transportation

Choosing a pet transportation service instead of flying or driving with your pet may be the best option in some cases. For example, if you are traveling to a country for which you must make multiple connecting flights, or if you are not sure you can deal with the stress required for traveling with pets.

Starwood Pet Travel is an example of a VIP pet transportation company that will treat your furry friend with respect and provide everything they need, from comfortable transport to food, water, temperature control, and safety measures.

Consulting a Pet Vet

Make sure to take your pets to the vet for a general checkup, any necessary vaccines, prescriptions, or paperwork. Your veterinarian may recommend some motion sickness medication if you had any motion sickness on shorter journeys with your pet.

Gathering Pet Items

No matter the location, bring everything you need to make the pet feel at home. Bring rewards, a leash, water and food bowls, medication, favorite toys, and poop bags. Your pet will get used to a new accommodation easier if it has its toys and bed from home.

Considering Pet Needs at All Stages

Ensure the security and safety of your dogs while they are traveling. They can be restrained with a harness or a dog seat belt. Make sure your pets can turn around in the crate if they are in one. To make the journey comfortable, spread out a blanket or a pet bed.

Both crates and carriers keep the animal contained while in transit, but there are a few subtle variances. Crates are typically larger than carriers and built with tougher materials. Smaller pets are frequently transported in carriers, which can be made of flexible fabrics.

Finding a Veterinarian at the Destination

Search the area and read reviews before your trip. You can also ask your veterinarian if he has recommendations. Online groups on Facebook and Reddit might be helpful, so try to connect with pet owners in the area you are traveling to.

Preparing for Emergencies

Be ready in case of an emergency. Obtain the office and emergency numbers for your normal veterinarian and store them in your mobile phone, along with the 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital’s number. In such cases, you will be ready with the necessary knowledge on hand in case your dog requires medical assistance.

Get Pet Travel Insurance

Many people decide to buy travel insurance for their animal companions. Numerous sorts of insurance protect animals when traveling and cover a variety of injuries. Insurance plans come in a variety of price ranges and cover certain time frames.

Preparing for Travel with Pet: Common Issues and Accidents to Watch Out For

Even when you travel alone issues can occur, but if you are responsible for somebody else, like a pet, it can be stressful when something unexpected happens. It’s critical to get ready for any problems that can arise when traveling.

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

Flight Delays

Any foreign traveler is familiar with how frequent delays are. However, if you have a pet, a delay should worry you. Your dog can be left in a non-pressurized cabin underneath the aircraft if it is being transported as excess baggage. Without any fresh air, the temperature might change rapidly.

Give your dog plenty of ice water and place blankets in their crate to prepare for a delay. Inform the airline that your dog is flying in the cargo hold and has to be evacuated right away if your flight is delayed.

When You Miss a Connecting Flight

Your furry companion’s crate might not be reloaded if you have a connecting flight. Although it’s extremely unlikely, it’s a good idea to let the airline know you’re taking your dog. Before takeoff, the flight attendants can double-check to make sure your pet is securely aboard.

Bring a picture of your dog and a form of identification with you so you may claim them if they go missing. Before boarding, make sure your dog has tags on their collar to avoid any problems. Before boarding, the majority of airlines demand tags or an identifying chip.

Pet Injuries

Traveling abroad carries some danger. It’s a good idea to think about how you’d care for your dog if you were to sustain an illness or injury that required hospitalization if you are traveling alone with your four-legged friend.

A travel health insurance plan can assist your dog return home safely in case of an emergency and can also protect you from unanticipated illness or injury while you are traveling.

Accidents

If you are staying longer at the destination you may visit natural areas and dog parks you are not used to yet. When you are in a new area with your pets accidents may happen, like cuts, falls, and similar.

Always have a first aid kit with you when traveling or hiking. This dog-friendly first aid kit should consist of gauze, non-stick bandages, adhesive tape, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, antibiotic spray, a thermometer, scissors, medication, tweezers, a soft muzzle, a flashlight, and more.

Missing Pet

A pet parent’s worst nightmare is having a cherished animal companion go missing while they are away. Make sure your pet is always wearing a solid leash with a collar or harness whenever you are out and about to prevent this from happening. Keep an eye on your pet at all times and never leave them unattended.

Additionally, putting a tag on your pet’s collar with all your vital contact information is a good idea. Also, take a photo of your pet and print it out. Keep it with your travel documents in case your pet goes missing you can show it to people when searching for it.

Motion Sickness

Many animals are also prone to getting motion sickness in the car, especially on lengthy drives. Try taking your pet on shorter car rides initially to see if they are prepared for this mode of transportation. The best approach to acclimate a pet to a new area is through frequent, brief outings.

Make every effort to make your pet as comfortable as you can when you’re prepared to take them on a long automobile ride. Additionally, you might wish to pet-proof your automobile in case your furry child vomits or drools excessively due to motion sickness.

Choking

Something can get stuck in your pet’s throat at home or while you’re away, exactly like many of these terrifying scenarios. Pawp veterinarians can provide rapid guidance and can help evaluate whether the circumstance calls for immediate medical attention.

Here is what to do if your pet is choking:

  • Holding the animal’s back against your tummy with the head and paws up.
  • Locate the soft recess beneath the ribcage with one hand; your closed fist should fit there.
  • Put your hand on your pet’s stomach and press it sharply toward your stomach, pulling up and in twice or three times.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke can occur even if the day is very hot and your dog was in the sun for too long or didn’t drink enough water, but when you are traveling, it is more common. Leaving your dog in a car or having your dog in a cargo plane when the temperature is changing, can cause a heat stroke.

If you suspect a heatstroke here is what to do:

  • Take your pet out of the warm area as soon as possible.
  • Cool water should be applied or sprayed onto the animal’s skin and fur.
  • Another way to help is to wet down the surroundings around your pet.
  • Avoid using ice or extremely cold water as this could make the issue worse.
  • Visit the closest veterinarian as soon as possible.

Benefits of Traveling with Pets

When taking their dog on a road trip or vacation, people frequently overlook several advantages. These things can improve your bond with your dog, alter how you experience life and holidays, and permanently alter your dog’s personality.

You Will Become Much Closer With Your Pet 🫶

Your pet will be lost and looking to you for guidance whether your excursions involve hiking, camping, or simply getting to know a new city. They will typically get more attached to you as a result of their desire to take your place in line and the one-on-one time you spend with them, which can endure for days, weeks, or even a lifetime after your journey is finished.

 It Allows Flexibility ✅

Traveling with dogs involves a lot of planning because things do not always go as planned. Let's say you're planning a hike, but you did not know that dogs are not allowed on the trail until you got there. You must be flexible and think of a plan B that will be equally fun for all of you.

 You Will Experience Slow Travel 🐌

Traveling with pets does not allow you to rush from one place to another. It is much better for your pet and you if you're a slow traveler and if you stay in one place longer. This will give you and your furry friend time to adjust and explore, making it more enjoyable for all involved.

Explore Off-The-Beaten-Path 🗺️

To enjoy what makes the place so great with your dog by your side, you must look a little farther when traveling with your dog. Most frequently, if your dog hadn't been traveling with you, you might not have added these sights to your list of things to visit. By doing this, you might find some undiscovered attractions that will make your trip more distinctive and draw fewer people.

 It Feels Safer to Travel With Animals 🛡️

If you have a dog or any other pet, you will feel safer and you will never feel alone. Staying in a new city in a new apartment might feel scary, but with a dog by your side, you will be much calmer. Also, walking dogs in a new area is much safer than walking alone.

 Meeting New People 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Digital nomads and essentially any traveler with pets will make friends easier if they join online communities with local pet owners or go to a nearby dog park. Socializing is beneficial for both you and your pet, and it will help you adjust to a new environment.

You Will Be Happier ☺️

Traveling with your best friend brings happiness. Interaction with pets lowers your cortisol levels which lowers stress and brings a smile to your face. Animals can boost your mood, make you feel special and loved, and increase your feeling of belonging and social support.

You Will Stay Active 💪

Pets need walking, especially dogs. Running or walking with pets is fun and healthy for them, while also providing major health benefits for you too. As a digital nomad, you might fall into the trap of staying indoors while working, but if you have a pet you will go outdoors more often or be active even at home.

Challenges of Traveling with Pets

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

If you are going on vacation or relocating to another country, you want your pet to go with you since you don’t want to leave them behind. You should be aware of potential issues when trying to travel with your pet to successfully plan your trip.

Pets Are Not Allowed

Both your digital nomad housing and different modes of transportation can experience this. Your car is your best bet for pet transportation. Some airlines even refuse to accept your pet. To avoid these issues, always double-check before your trip if pets are allowed where you are going.

Pet Breed Restrictions

Your airline may impose restrictions on where your snub-nosed pet may travel, the permitted snub-nosed breeds, or even an outright ban on these animals. Additionally, some airlines have limitations on breeds that can be deemed dangerous, and they might demand a specific kind of travel kennel to be approved.

Do Not Sedate Your Pets

You should not sedate animals when they are flying. Sedated pets are not permitted on airlines. Additionally, when pets are in the air at great altitudes, sedatives might lead to respiratory or cardiac problems or allergic reactions.

Lack of Information

Finding out about specific airline policies and the procedures for importing pets into your destination country is necessary if you plan to travel with a pet. Sadly, sometimes the right hand is unaware of what the left is doing.

Airline employees and staff at foreign embassies are not always equipped with the most recent information, and well-intentioned blogs written by pet parents or other third parties may be outdated.

Delay With Documentation

Each destination has its laws about traveling pets. No matter where you are going, if the paperwork is incorrect, entry for your pet may be denied. They might remain in quarantine, possibly for a long time. Even worse, they can even face euthanasia threats.

Pet Is Under Stress

Another frequent issue you could encounter is a furry family member stressed out by travel. Traveling increases the likelihood of stress and anxiety in many pets, especially dogs. They could require calming medicines if their anxiousness gets to that point. Make sure to ask your vet what to do in case of a pet being stressed or anxious.

Delay With Travel Plans

Pets cannot travel internationally as easily as people can. Depending on the place you are visiting, the complete process may take some time. Also, booking flights and accommodation last minute will cost much more if there are not enough pet-friendly options.

Not Buying a Pet Carrier or Crate on Time

The pet crate is frequently the last item on pet owners’ lists when taking their animals abroad. The longer your pet stays in the crate, though, the more comfortable they’ll be on the flight, so it should be one of the first things you buy. Also, make sure you are getting an IATA-approved pet crate so you don’t have any issues on the day of your trip.

Traveling with Your Pet as a Digital Nomad: Helpful Tips

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

Since the travel industry adapted to digital nomads and their pets, nowadays it is easy to go on a trip with your favorite animal. You can hire a travel company that will organize your pet’s trip, or you can do it on your own after learning these tips for traveling with pets. However you choose to do it, here are some essential tips for digital nomads traveling with pets:

Make Copies of All Pet Documents

Having your dog’s medical documents handy is very useful. Have at least one set of copies so your dealing with officials is faster and easier. Additionally, you can give a copy of all documents to a new vet at your destination.

Bring a Pet Carrier

When it comes to pet carriers, the market is flooded with choices. They are available in various colors and can be customized with patches. They resemble backpacks, but they are very comfy for your dog and efficient if you’re going on a hike with a tiny dog that tires easily.

Make Sure to Check Airline Policy Before the Trip

Rules are continuously evolving, and policies are also. Make sure your dog and you are welcome to travel together on that flight. When taking your dogs on a flight, check the airline’s website, give them a call, and send an email confirmation.

Help Your Dog Make Friends

Befriend other dogs and their owners when you’re out walking or spending time at the neighborhood park. They’ll divulge their preferred hangouts, the top dog-friendly eateries around, and the trusted veterinarians in the neighborhood. Dog owners are excellent resource because they know their dogs best.

Make Essentials List

Even if you’d prefer to simply pick up your dog and leave, there are a few things you’ll need to pack. Just a few include travel documents, poop bags, leashes, and harnesses. The necessities for your dog should be packed in case you can’t find them while traveling.

Here is a checklist for you to save:

  • Travel and medical documentation.
  • Tick and flea medication.
  • Your pet’s favorite toys.
  • Your pet bed.
  • Travel bowls.
  • Dog food and plenty of water.
  • Leash.
  • Poop bags.

Visit a Vet Before the Trip

When your trip is approaching, take it to a vet to get a vaccination record proving that it is a safe flier and that it receives immunizations regularly. The same thing applies if the certificate is still good for 30 days. Also, make sure to have contact with the best vet at your destination.

Exercise With Your Pet

When you are at a new place your dog needs to get used to it, same as you. Explore the city with your dog, discover new dog parks, and go to nature as much as possible. Going for walks and runs with your pet is beneficial to both you and them. They need to run and play, but you also need to stay active, so it is a win-win.

Find Pet-Friendly Accommodation

As a digital nomad, you already know that not every apartment is pet friendly. On many websites, you can filter accommodations by pet-friendly features, so they should not be hard to find. Also, when you are staying in a hotel, check if there is a fee for a pet because sometimes to keep your pet with you in a room can cost you from $50 to $100 or even more.

How to Travel with Pets Internationally – Comprehensive Guide for Digital Nomads

After learning so much about traveling with your pet, the only thinking left to do is to decide on a destination and pack your things. Have fun on your unique journey with your furry family member and take many photos along the way, because time flies and memories are nice to have.

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FAQs About Traveling with Pets

So, Can You Travel with Pets?

Yes, it is possible to travel with pets. You can drive, travel by train, or fly with your pets. It is most important to read all the rules beforehand and know what to expect and what documentation you need for this trip.

Most Pet-Friendly Airlines: Which Ones Should You Choose?

The best airline for traveling with pets as carry-ons are Delta, Southwest, Frontier, Alaska, American, United, Hawaiian, and Spirit. If you are wondering how to fly with pets in Europe, some of the friendliest airlines are Lufthansa, Transavia, Air France, KLM, Iberia, Scandinavian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines. In Asia, airlines that allow pets are Royal Jordanian, Asiana Airlines, Air India, El Al Airlines, Korean Air, and Etihad Airways.

What Are the Special Considerations for Traveling with Pets to Europe?

Traveling with pets in Europe is simple if you follow a few rules. These are the rules for traveling within the EU or from another country outside of the EU to one of the EU countries. 

Here is what is required:

  • The pet needs to be microchipped.
  • The pet needs to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • The pet has had treatment against the tapeworm.
  • The pet needs a valid EU pet passport.

How Many Pets Can You Fly With?

Pet-friendly airlines usually allow one pet per person in the cabin. Depending on the airline rules, some of them allow multiple pets in cargo. For example, in one carrier you can have two cats, or you can have two carriers with four cats total. Some allow only 20 pounds in total, while specialized airlines can take care of larger pets as well.

What Documents Are Needed for Pets to Travel?

Most countries have similar requirements when you are traveling with pets. Documents needed for pet travel are:

  • International health certificate - this document proves that your pet is meeting all the requirements of the country it is traveling to.
  • Pet passport - this is a document issued by an approved veterinarian and has your contact details.
  • Acclimatization certificate - this is for airlines that are flying to extreme temperatures and want to make sure that your pet is ready for temperature change.
  • Vaccination certificate - although pet vaccination is mentioned in the International health certificate in some countries you have to show a vaccination certificate separately.
  • Import permit - this document is issued by the destination country and it is crucial for pet travel.
  • List of medications and prescriptions - if your pet uses a prescription you must bring it with you, especially if you are flying by plane and staff has to give your pet medication.

How Much to Travel with a Pet?

The cost of traveling with a pet depends on many factors, including the size of the pet, distance, and which part of the plane the pet is located in. If the pet is in the cabin with you it will cost you somewhere between $50 and $250, while some larger dogs may cost up to $1000. Cargo is the temperature-controlled and pressurized compartment in the lower part of the plane, so your pets are safe there.

What Are the Rules for Flying with Pets?

Each pet-friendly airline has unique and often complicated policies regarding the kinds of animals that are permitted on board, where they can stay during the flight, which locations they are allowed to visit, and when they are permitted to fly. Additionally, different airline pet costs apply to travelers bringing pets.

How to Travel with Pet Birds?

When traveling with pet birds make sure to check airline and hotel regulations regarding pets. Some airlines will allow you to keep your bird under the seat in a suitable travel cage. However, make sure to choose the right type of cage for your bird. It needs to be good quality, durable and well-ventilated.

How to Travel with Pet Fish?

Traveling with pet fish can be more challenging than you think. If you drive, they can survive around 48 hours in a car, buckled up in the passenger seat. If you are flying with a pet fish you need to check airline requirements for pets, and possibly ship your pet fish as cargo, even if you are in the same plane.

When preparing your fish for traveling, you must pick the right container. This container needs to be large enough for fish to swim and needs to contain enough oxygen or have a source of oxygen included in the container as professional transportation containers do.

If your trip is shorter you can also use plastic bags with aquarium water. Make sure to put your fish in separate bags, and not to feed them 48 hours before and during the trip, so that the water stays as clean as possible for the transport.

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