Pets and Travel Certificates

June 22, 2020 at 8:41 AM by Nikki Wardle

Nikki Wardle

dog at airport

After being quarantined at home for the last 45 to 60 days, a vast majority of Idahoans are ready to take a much-deserved summer vacation. And if you're planning on taking Fido or Fluffy along with you out of state (or out of the country), you're probably going to need a pet health certificate. 

What is a Pet Health Certificate?

Officially known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), a pet health certificate is an official document issued to your pet after the doctor performs a complete exam. The CVI lists all of your pet's current vaccinations, microchip number, and certifies that your pet is healthy to travel.

What Does the FAA, US Department of Transportation, and USDA Require?

  • Pet must be over 8 weeks old
  • Need to have been weaned for at least 5 days
  • Have a non-threatening temperament
  • All service animals are allowed on flights

Not all pets are created equal. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has ruled that some pets can travel, and others cannot. A full list of what is defined as a pet that can travel via airplane is available on their website.

Not All Airlines Have the Same Rules for Traveling Pets

We could write a novel on all of the different policies for traveling pets each airline has. While most of the policies follow the same general outline (needing a CVI) of what is required. For instance, American Airlines states specifically that they have stopped checking pets on all flights but still allow carry-on, service, and emotional support pets in the cabin if they meet their requirements. However, Delta Airlines offers Delta Cargo to ship larger pets that do not fit in a carrier that can fit on a seat in front of you.

When researching and booking your flights, check with that airline's pet policies before buying the tickets and heading to the airport. You'll save you and your pet a lot of time and frustration.

Not All States in the US Have the Same Rules for Traveling Pets

Hawaii is a very popular destination for us humans, but for pets, there is currently a 30-day mandatory quarantine period for a pet coming to any of the islands. On the other hand, Florida requires pets over 3 months of age to have a current rabies vaccination from a licensed veterinarian. All animals entering Alaska must have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or Health Certificate from a licensed veterinarian.

As you can see, each state sets its requirements for pets entering. It does need to be mentioned that this blog was written during the latter half of the Covid-19 pandemic so the above-mentioned states could change their requirements. The USDA has a link where you can check the requirements for each state when traveling. This page links out to each state's pet travel requirements. Also, make sure you check with local governments on any additional criteria they might have in place during your traveling dates.

By the way, these state travel rules apply to people driving from state to state as well.

International Travel and Pets

Traveling with a dog or cat to another country is tricky. Just like with each state in the US, each country and local governments have different restrictions and requirements. It gets even trickier when exporting a pet bird or other exotic animal. Customs, USDA, and the US Fish and Wildlife may have to get involved.

Our neighbors to the north and south of us have very different requirements for traveling pets. Canada requires a USDA accredited veterinarian health certificate, Mexico does not. France requires a USDA accredited veterinarian or military veterinarian health certificate. France also requires an EU pet passport, which your pet most likely will not have. Their additional requirements are:

  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • Have a current rabies vaccination for more than 21-days

We Can Help

If you are planning on taking your pet out of state, the veterinarians at IPH are certified with the USDA to issue certificates of veterinary inspection. When you make your appointment for a checkup, let your pet's veterinarian know you need a CVI.

Boarding Your Pet May Be the Better Option

With all the confusing and different rules and regulations to follow when traveling with a pet, leaving behind Fido or Fluffy might be better for them. Being a guest at our lodge means that they will be cared for our staff and checked up by a veterinary technician daily. You can also choose to include doggy day camp with their stay or one-on-one time with one of our staff members.

Whatever plans you have for this summer, we wish you safe travels, great weather, and fun memories with your friends and family.

Topics: Pet Boarding, Dog Boarding, Doggie Daycare

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki is the marketing manager for IPH and has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.