Pet Travel Certificates: What Are They and How Do You Get One?

Pet Travel Certificates: What Are They and How Do You Get One?

Traveling is a fun and exciting adventure, and you may want to bring your pet with you along for the ride. Many pet parents do not know that a certificate of veterinary inspection is mandatory for all pets to travel.

A pet travel certificate is a digital document or paper indicating that your pet is healthy enough to travel with you to another state or country. Your pet must be assessed by an authorized, federally certified veterinarian to be permitted to travel. Each state and country has different rules.

Whether traveling by air or car, it is essential to have this certificate. If you want to learn more about pet travel certificates, peruse this article.

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What is a Pet Travel Certificate?

A pet travel certificate is a document that indicates that your pet is disease free and up to date on all vaccinations. It includes essential information about your pet that is helpful to know. Pet health certificates are required for traveling across the country and internationally. Even if you choose to travel by car and not by airplane, it is necessary to have a pet travel certificate.

It is imperative to have their most current rabies certificate. Your pet should also be cleared for parasites. The pet travel certificate indicates that your pet does not present a health risk to other animals or individuals. If you travel internationally, a USDA-certified veterinarian must issue your pet’s travel certificate.

How Can I Get a Pet Travel Certification?

Obtaining a pet health certificate can be a bit complicated, as each state and country has different rules. At times it can take up to six months to receive the certificate. Most states insist on the pet being examined by a registered, accredited veterinarian. Certain vaccinations, like the rabies vaccination, must be up to date for your pet to travel with you.

As a portion of the exam, the vet might check for heartworm. When you come home, your vet may need to follow up with your pet to ensure they did not acquire any disease or parasite during their travels. You must have a certificate of veterinary assessment to take a trip. Some airlines will ask that you bring an acclimation certificate. A federally accredited veterinarian must sign these certificates.

How Can I Ready My Pet for Air Travel?

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Getting geared up for air travel can be nerve-wracking. You need to purchase the tickets and make reservations for yourself and your pet, and there is a lot to remember to bring when you pack. You need to do specific things to organize your pet for traveling on an aircraft:

  • Find out airline limitations on breed and size
  • Book your flight early, as airlines only permit a certain total of pets per flight
  • Get your pet acquainted with being in the kennel. Practice in the beginning with crate training.
  • Try a natural remedy like CBD oil or calming treats for your pet during the flight
  • Ask to be boarded early, as getting you and your pet comfortable may take more time
  • Seek out pet relief areas, as many airlines are now required to offer a place for them to go relieve themselves

You may also want to bring your pet’s favorite toys with you to keep them occupied. Chew toys can be especially helpful in decreasing stress. Have your pet’s travel documentation safe and ready to show it at any given time. It would be best if you also had a special airline-approved carrier that airlines will allow. The carrier is typically soft inside and meets the requirements of the airline. 

Make the carrier as enticing to your pet as possible. Throw their toys or some treats into it with a soft, comfortable blanket to make it more inviting. If you can make the experience less scary for them, it will be easier for both of you. When traveling with your pet, make sure you have your contact information on the carrier in case the two of you get separated.

What To Bring For Pet Airline Travel  

You should bring some items when traveling by air to ensure that all goes well and that you and your pet are given the all-clear. Double-check your bags before you leave your house. You do not want to arrive at the airport and realize you have forgotten any essential items such as:

  • Your certificate of veterinary inspection
  • Acclimation documentation for travel
  • Any significant medical records
  • ID tag with your cell phone number

You should also bring proof of vaccination and the number of the nearest veterinary hospital where you are going. Make sure your pet is appropriately microchipped with all the required current information. Bring a travel water bowl with you so that they stay hydrated.

If your pet takes medicine on a daily basis, do not forget to pack it. Bring their favorite toys and food puzzles to keep them happy and occupied. If traveling out of the country regularly, consider getting a pet passport. Service animals are also required to have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for travel.

What About Road Trips?

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If you and your pet are not ready for the friendly skies, you can practice getting them used to traveling by taking them with you on a road trip. It may be a lot less scary than traveling by air, and your dog will love hanging their head out of the car while the two of you ride off into the sunset.

You should still bring your pet travel certificate, as various states have different rules. Even when traveling by car and you cross that line to your destination, you should have the benefit of having proof that your pet is healthy. It will protect you and your pet from a hefty fine for not having a pet health certificate. 

It is safest to understand what is required of you before you travel. To see which states require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, visit the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services website. When taking a trip out of the country, make contact with the consulate or embassy in that country to discover more about their rules.


Preparing for a trip can be overwhelming and stressful. However, if you keep these tips in mind, you will have a safe and successful journey with your pet.

Are you looking for a veterinarian that completes pet travel certificates in the Manhattan, NY and Brooklyn, NY area? Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group has four locations conveniently located and ready to serve you. To make an appointment, visit our website today! 


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Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group is more than an animal hospital; we are your partner in giving your pet a lifetime of outstanding care. Our veterinarians and team members form lasting relationships with pet owners like you to create unique, personalized experiences for all. Heart of Chelsea was founded in 1999 to provide the community with a neighborhood veterinary practice that delivers thorough, compassionate medicine and unparalleled concierge client service.