The ease of international travel has made the world a smaller place. This means that there may be times when you want to take your four-legged family member on an overseas trip with you. There will be concerns about how they'll cope with the flight and if they will like their new surroundings. There are many regulations associated with taking pets overseas, so it's essential that you plan well ahead. This will help you avoid some chaos, though you're not likely to have as much publicity as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard when she tried to sneak their pet dogs into Australia in 2015.
The first thing to do is get in touch with the United States-based embassy of your destination country. They'll be able to tell you exactly what you need to do to comply with their requirements. Check what health checks, vaccinations, and documents are needed, and look into any specific regulations associated with pets. For example, some countries and regions have breed-specific legislation that bans certain breeds of dogs – while that may not seem fair, you still need to respect their rules.
The next step is to get in touch with the airline you're using to fly your pet. There are many stories about how pets have been injured during air travel, but this isn't common. The airline will have extensive experience in flying pets and will be able to offer advice on how to keep them safe during the flight. They will also have specific requirements for transporting pets, including the size and type of crate you'll need. It's best to arrange flights with as few stopovers as possible.
Before your pet travels, they'll need to be examined by your veterinarian. Blood tests, parasite treatments, and vaccinations have to be done and there are very specific timeframes for these. Your pet will need to have a microchip implanted for identification and your vet will have to complete a health certificate that you may need to show your airline and the custom officials of your destination country.
When this preparatory work is completed, you'll then need to file all your papers with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. They will endorse your documents and return them to you. Again, allow plenty of time for this.
There are many steps to transporting your pet overseas and the requirements of destination countries can be very stringent. If you're not confident doing this yourself, then there are pet travel companies who will do this for you. One thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to return to the United States with your pet, there may be re-entry requirements depending on where they have been. Make sure you're very familiar with them before you leave.
The main limitation to taking a pet on an international trip with you is the cost. When you add up the cost of veterinary care, airline crate requirements, and documentation, your pet's travel will usually be more expensive than your costs. If you're prepared for the expense and the labor associated with vet visits and paperwork, then there's no reason you can't take your pet with you when you travel to another country.