How to Travel Internationally With a Dog

About 37% of pet owners travel with their pets each year. That’s up from just 19% a decade earlier. We view our pets as a part of the family, so it only seems natural that they would go on vacation with us. If you want to bring your pup along for the adventure, you’ll need to know what it takes. Especially if you plan to travel to another country, don’t make the mistake of just showing up. This guide will show you how to travel internationally with a dog.

How to Travel Internationally With a Dog
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How to Travel Internationally With a Dog

Pet shipping takes a bit of planning and extra work. While every country has its own regulations, you’ll see microchipping and vaccine requirements across the board. Visit your vet and have them implant a 15 digit non-encrypted microchip.

If you live in a rabies-controlled country, arrange for your pet to get a vaccine at least 30 days before travel. The United States is a rabies-controlled country. Your dog must get vaccinated again after getting microchipped.


Some countries require more vaccines than just rabies. Check the specific requirements of the countries you plan to visit. These are some of the other vaccines that you may need to get.

    • Distemper
    • Para-influenza
    • Bordetella
    • Canine influenza
    • Brucellosis
    • Ehrlichia canis
    • Leishmaniosis
    • Leptospirosis

Ask your vet for official health certificates stating the vaccines your dogs receive. You’ll need to provide proof during travel. Flying internationally requires an international health certificate.

Flying With a Dog

Once you decide to take your pets, you need to decide how you’ll get there. A common choice is flying, but you need to weigh the pros and cons. Depending on your dog’s size, they could be allowed in the cabin or required to be in the cargo.

Cabin or Cargo

Each airline has its own requirements, but as a general rule, only smaller dogs are allowed in the cabin. Some airlines no longer offer this option. You’ll want to be careful about the weather, as it can get frigid.


Some countries require your dog to be quarantined upon arrival. Others will allow you to bypass this requirement if you have all of the necessary paperwork, vaccines, and microchips in place.

Prep Your Dog

Set your pup up for success by preparing your dog. Do not sedate your dog before the flight; this can be dangerous and against the airline’s regulations.

Look for nonstop flights to reduce stress and increase the safety of your pet. Tape a clear, recent picture of your dog to the top of the carrier. This will help the airline employees in the event your dog escapes during travel.

Freeze water in the dog’s water bowl the night before. It’ll stay frozen during travel to the airport and loading, then melt during the flight for freshwater. You should also tape spare dry food to the outside of the carrier if there’s a delay or you have a layover.

Start Planning Pet-Friendly Vacations

Now that you know how to travel internationally with a dog, you’re ready to start traveling with a pet. To ensure you have a smooth travel experience, get all of your pet’s documents in line well in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute, so you don’t get caught off-guard.

Check out our other travel articles for more tricks on making your next trip a memorable one.

Read More:

5 tips for traveling by plane with your pet

How prep your puppy for a road trip

How to manage your pet’s stress

5 Benefits of a service dog

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