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6 02, 2020

Animal Transportation Services for Traveling to Spain

By |2020-02-06T11:20:08-07:00February 6th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

Traveling internationally with a pet doesn’t always mean visiting a distant country for a week. Just as often as not, international pet travel is used for permanent or long-term relocation. Relocating to Spain, in particular, is becoming increasingly popular among Americans. While the Spanish pet relocation procedure is easier to complete than most, it still imposes significant challenges on pet owners who want to bring their furry friends along for the adventure. Compared to short-term domestic pet travel, pet relocation imposes an entirely new set of challenges and regulations, some of which may come as a surprise to many pet parents. We’ve investigated every aspect of this process and detailed our findings below.

Methods of Transport

In addition to many U.S. airlines that offer flights to Spain, Iberian Airlines is the major carrier in Spain with several routes to U.S. destinations. No matter where you’re leaving from, the most common departure cities for international travel into Spain include Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. Aside from a private/chartered boat, the only way to move your pet to Spain is by plane, and their size, weight, and temperament will determine where in the plane they sit.

In-Cabin

This is the first-choice option for many pet parents, especially those with small animals. Most airlines will allow cats and small dogs to fly alongside their pet parents on international flights. However, the restrictions placed on these animals are a lot more severe than those who travel in the cargo hold. In most cases, the combined weight of the animal and its carrier cannot exceed 17lbs-20lbs, and the animal must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Still, this option eliminates the stress of allowing others to handle the animal, and you won’t need to visit a cargo facility at your departing and destination locations. This is also the cheapest option, generally costing between $150 and $200 per pet, depending on the flight and airline.

  • Bonus Tip: Some airlines require written notice regarding how you plan to handle bathroom emergencies on long-distance flights. This is something to consider if in-cabin transport is your first-choice option. Additionally, most airlines place limits on the number of animals allowed on each plane. Make your reservations as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.

Checked Baggage

While an increasingly rare pet transportation option in America, it appears that many European airlines prefer to fly larger animals as checked baggage. This option allows the pet owner and animal to fly aboard the same aircraft, but the parent flies in the cabin while the pet remains in the pressurized cargo hold. The process for flying as checked baggage is simple: the pet owner checks the animal in while they are checking into the flight, and airline personnel transports the animal to the aircraft. Then, on the other side of the flight, the pet owner collects the animal from a pre-determined location (usually oversized baggage claim or the regular baggage carousel, but this varies by airport and airline).

  • Bonus Tip: Importantly, if you fly your pet as checked baggage, you will need to collect the animal before passing through customs. This will lengthen the time your animal is stuck in its cage, so it is important to locate potential pet relief areas at your destination airport. This option is not as cheap as in-cabin transport, as it will consider your pet’s size and weight, but it remains fairly affordable.

Spanish Greyhound and Animal Transportation Services in Spain

IAG Cargo Pet Transportation

While generally the most expensive option, IAG Cargo is also one of the more convenient animal cargo transport options for traveling to Spain. This company is the cargo handling arm of Iberian Airlines, as well as British Airways, Vueling, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL. They have extensive experience in transporting pets, having handled zoo animals for some of the best-known zoos and animal charities in the world. They have over 60 years of experience in live animal transport and a dedicated team of animal handlers. Importantly, IAG Cargo employs a “last on, first off” policy for the animals they transport, limiting the amount of noise and disruption your pet will experience.

IAG Cargo imposes a few limitations on the animals they transport. Some dangerous dog breeds and snub-nosed animals may no be accepted, but this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. As with most animal transport, the price will depend on the crate dimensions and the combined weight of your pet and the container. This provider also allows pet parents to track their shipped animals through their website. IAG Cargo also provides a relocation service through a corporate partner.

Additionally, IAG Cargo recently announced the launch of enhanced animal handling services at Madrid-Barajas airport. Pets traveling through Madrid will receive a full veterinary check-up from a member of a 25-person team and consistent monitoring of food and water intake. If you are traveling through this airport, or if your pet arrives at the terminal before your flight gets in, this may come as a relief.

Additional Animal Transportation Services

In addition to booking with the airlines directly, you can work with a third-party transportation service. Full-service pet relocation cargo options take care of the documentation you need to transport your animal while providing door-to-door delivery. In many cases, the company will pick up your animal from home, transport it to Spain, and deliver it at a predetermined location. In some cases, doggy daycare can be arranged in Spain if you plan to fly out after your animal. This hands-off approach to pet relocation is very expensive (some quotes are as high as $2,500), which makes it an unviable option for most short-term stays. That said, some parents prefer the ease in order to focus on their own relocation.

Below, we’ve researched and detailed three of the best-known providers for shipping animals to Spain. All the companies below consider your pet’s size and weight before providing a price quote.

Relomar – This international pet transport service facilitates every part of the pet shipping process, including collection of the animal at its home, international transport, and delivery in the destination country. They handle A) the documentation necessary to fly and clear customs, B) check that the animal has the vaccines necessary in both the origin and destination countries, and C) provide a free price quote to all interested pet parents. Relomar will also pick up your pet at home, transport the animal, and deliver the animal to its owner at the destination address. You won’t need to drive to the airport, drop your pet off, or worry about the logistics of international pet travel.

Air Transport Animal – Air Transport Animal is a pet relocation service that prioritizes the shipping itself rather than the preparing. To fly your animal with this provider, you will need to obtain the necessary documentation yourself, including a pet passport, a vaccine record (and applicable vaccines), a health certificate, and a microchip. Their Premium Package provides door-to-door pet shipping and takes care of all bureaucratic processes on both ends of the trip. This provider is careful to note that the minimum time between the start of the process and the actual shipping is at least 2 months, so be sure to budget your time accordingly.

Starwood Animal Transport – This relocation company provides full-service transport, which means it handles door-to-door transport, assistance with all necessary pet documentation, USDA endorsement and consular legalization (if necessary), airline-approved kennels, local pet taxi, and travel consultation. Pet parents have the option for home pet delivery or to pick up their animal at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport. They provide both international and domestic pet relocation.

If none of these animal transportation companies fit your personal criteria, there are several tools you can use to find the service you need. This IPATA-certified animal transportation search tool is a great place to start. For more information about IATA pet travel regulations, we recommend visiting their website. If you find a provider through the organization’s animal transport search tool, you can rest assured that the company follows all IPATA animal regulations.

Animal Import Procedures to Know

When animals travel between countries, they are subjected to a variety of import rules and regulations. If you are transporting your animal from the United States to Spain, you will need to meet several requirements as outlined by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

  • Cats, dogs, and ferrets who are younger than 3 months are not allowed to enter the country. This is because they have not received rabies shots. An animal is only considered to be vaccinated against rabies 21 days after the first injection.
  • All pets entering the European Union will be required to secure either a European Passport or a Health Certificate and Declaration of the owner or the authorized person. This health certificate must be signed by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian.
  • All pets must have a valid (not expired) vaccination against rabies as demonstrated by a certificate. Upon arrival, the animal health inspector will need to verify that all documents, including the health certificate and declaration or passport, are correct.
  • Pets must have some form of identification. The most popular is a microchip that complies with ISO Standards. Pets may also be identified by a tattoo if it is clearly readable and if it was applied before July 3, 2011.
  • Importantly, your pet must receive its identification (microchip) prior to its rabies vaccination. The microchip must be checked before administering the vaccine.

As long as the above requirements are met, there will be no quarantine imposed on your pet. These regulations apply only to domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets. This includes both service and emotional support dogs and cats. All pets must be accompanied by their owners (or representatives if you choose a full-service relocation company).

The same health requirements that apply to pets also apply to service animals. Additionally, the maximum number of pets a person can bring is 5; if you would like to bring more than that, another set of regulations will apply. There are certain exceptions for dogs, cats, and ferrets that participate in contests, exhibitions, or sporting events.

Spanish Import Health Certificate Requirements

Health certificate requirements will vary depending on how your pet enters the country. All iterations of the health certificate are available for download at the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website.

  • Owner traveling on the same plane as the pet: Pets must arrive in the European Union within 10 days of the date the health certificate is signed.
  • Designated person traveling on the same plane as the pet: Pets must arrive in the European Union within 10 days of the date the health certificate is signed.
  • Pet Transport Company or Airline Cargo is shipping the pet AND the owner or designated person has traveled or will travel within 5 days of the pet: Pets must arrive in the European Union within 10 days of the date the health certificate is signed.
  • Neither the owner nor a designated person is traveling within 5 days of the pet: Pets must leave the United States within 48 hours from the date a veterinarian signs the health certificate.

The health certificate itself is a simple form. It will require you to know information about your travel plans, including the departure/arrival dates and means of transport, as well as a full vaccination record and relevant health information. If you have a European Union pet passport, you do not need to fill out this health certificate. However, most pet parents traveling from America will find this health certificate easier to complete and receive than an EU passport.

Cost Estimates by Transport Method

Depending on the level of involvement and responsibility you want to have in the process, pet relocation can be relatively cheap or very expensive. For example, if you choose in-cabin transport for your pet relocation, the cost of your pet’s ticket will be between $150 and $200, depending on your airline. If you fly with Iberia, the cost is $180. Similarly, if you choose to fly your pet as checked baggage, the price will be between $350 and $400 (the cost is $360 on Iberia).

Choosing these lower price points means that you are responsible for securing all necessary documentation and understanding the import process on your own – you will have total responsibility for your pet and its relocation. Additionally, if you choose to fly your pet as checked baggage on an international flight, you voluntarily put your dog’s health and wellness in the hands of handlers who may not have much pet experience. While this varies by airline, most providers include clauses in their pet policies that remove any blame or responsibility from airline personnel in the case of an accident.

The safest and easiest method of pet relocation to Spain is to use a full-service relocation company. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive option, and it may be wildly out of budget for some Americans. If you utilize an airport to airport service, which means the pet is dropped off at an airport and picked up at the destination airport by the owner or representative, the cost is generally around $1,000. If you choose a full-service relocation, which includes pick-up and drop off by the business, as well as documentation and customs handling, the process can cost up to $2,500, depending on the size of your dog and distance moved. This high price point is typically a barrier to entry for most people, so be sure to discuss all potential options before settling on a decision.

Spain Pet Relocation Timeline

As with all forms of international relocation, moving a pet from one country to another takes a considerable amount of time. One animal transport service provided a quote saying that at least two months’ notice are necessary for a successful move from the United States to Spain, and this seems to be the standard. Between booking flights, securing the proper documentation, and leaping through all the necessary bureaucratic hurdles, this is a time-intensive process. Whether you choose to use a relocation company or want to handle the logistics on your own, start planning the trip at least two months before your desired departure. If you are unsure of your pet’s vaccination record, start the process even earlier.

If you choose to fly your pet without the use of a relocation company, remember that most airlines put limits on how many animals can be on a single plane. Whether you choose to fly your animal as checked baggage or with you inside the cabin, you will want to make your reservations as far in advance as possible. And, while it is important to be flexible with dates, this could drive up the price you end up paying for the process.

Upon Your Arrival

Sometimes, your destination airport may not be your terminus. Many pet parents, especially those with smaller dogs who have flown in the airplane cabin, will need to use Spanish transportation to get to their home or a hotel.

Most popular Spanish train lines are surprisingly pet friendly. This includes AVE, Large Distancia, Avant, Media Distancia, Convencional, Cercanías, and Feve trains on Renfe, the state-owned train system. If you plan to use this mode of transportation, you will be able to transport most small pets, including dogs, cats, ferrets, and some birds (excluding farmyard birds, like chickens). The Renfe pet policy states that all animals must travel with the documentation used for the flight and that only one animal per passenger is allowed. On most trains, the animal must be kept in a cage, but commuter rails only require a muzzle and a fixed-length lead. The pet must sit in your lap or at your feet to reduce the risk of annoying fellow passengers. Long-distance and conventional mid-distance trips require the purchase of a separate pet ticket, which is typically 25% of the standard passenger fee.

In Madrid, it seems that pets, dogs especially, are universally beloved. There are several areas in the city to let your dog roam off-leash while you dine or drink al fresco. Municipal buses allow owners to travel with their pets as long as they are inside an appropriate carrier and do not endanger or disturb other passengers. The majority of private taxis will also accept dogs if they are inside a carrier and the driver is notified in advance. There has also been a recent uptick in pet taxi companies, including eTaxi and Mascotaxi, that specialize in pet transport. If you are looking for transportation from Madrid Barajas International Airport, this is a great, private option.

Dogs in Spain, traveling to spain with pets

Additional Spain Transportation Tips

Most of the information provided by the United States and Spanish governments deals with typical household pets, namely cats, dogs, and ferrets. Those traveling with other pets, including birds, rabbits, and reptiles will have a separate set of requirements.

Rabbits – A pet rabbit must travel accompanied by its owner or a representative. The pet rabbit must have been examined and issued a health certificate (by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian) within 5 days of leaving the United States. USDA endorsement (a counter-sign and emboss/stamp) is required on the health certificate after it is issued by the veterinarian. There is a separate international health certificate.

Reptiles – Pet reptiles must travel accompanied by an owner or a representative. The pet must have been examined and issued a health certificate (by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian) within 5 days of leaving the United States. USDA endorsement (a counter-sign and emboss/stamp) is required on the health certificate after it is issued by the veterinarian. There is a separate international health certificate for reptiles.

Birds – All pet birds must have an identification number, such as a clip, leg band, microchip, or tag. They must be moved directly to a household (or other residence) and not entered in shows, fairs, or exhibitions during the 30-day period following entry to the EU. Pet birds may also have to undergo isolation with or without testing for Avian Influenza before entering the EU. There are several options for preparing a bird to enter the EU, but all options require a health certificate to be issued by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian within 48 hours of travel (or the last working day prior to the date of departure).

  • Option 1: The pet bird has been confined under an official USDA Accredited Veterinarian’s supervision for at least 30 days prior to the departure. It has had no contact with other birds. The instructions are listed here and the appropriate veterinary health certificate is linked here.
  • Option 2: The bird was isolated for at least 10 days prior to the date of departure and tested for Avian Influenza H5 and H7 antigen or genome with a RT-PCR or virus isolation test at least three days after the start of the isolation. The day isolation begins is considered Day 0. The instructions are listed here and the appropriate veterinary health certificate is linked here.
  • Option 3: The bird’s owner has made arrangements for a 30-day post-introduction quarantine in an approved quarantine facility or center within the EU. The instructions are listed here and the appropriate veterinary health certificate is linked here.

Cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, reptiles, and birds are the only animals for which the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has set processes. If you have another type of animal you would like to relocate to Spain, we recommend you contact the ministry directly to inquire.

Final Tips and Thoughts

While relocating a pet from the United States to Spain is increasingly popular, it’s still no small task. If you have the resources, using a full-service relocation company is the easiest and safest option, but not many people have the budget to pay for this premium service. Additionally, the timeline required by the Spanish Government makes it impossible to get too far ahead of the process.

That said, relocating a pet to Spain is possible, and people do it all the time. The resources and regulations of both U.S. and E.U. airlines make it among the best, safest types of international pet travel and relocation. Ultimately, the decision to relocate with a pet is up to you, but the process may be well-worth the effort to bring your best friend along for the journey.

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14 01, 2020

Interpreting Your New Puppy’s Behavior

By |2020-02-06T11:14:21-07:00January 14th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

The holiday season brings gifts, and for many lucky families, that gift comes in the form of a new furry friend. According to the Animal Humane Society, the months leading up to the winter holidays are some of the most popular for pet adoptions. Many people have entered the new year with a new puppy, some as first-time pet parents. If you’re an inexperienced pet parent, interpreting new puppy behavior can be difficult. What’s the difference between play and aggression? Why is he walking in circles? Why can’t I stop her from eating her own poop? Puppy behaviors are mysterious, but we’ve unpacked a few of the most common to give you peace of mind.

Biting

Most puppies will bite you at some point in their young lives. Nipping is one early form of communication, and it typically happens while playing. This can also happen while training or, well, pretty much anywhere. If you notice your dog nipping frequently, though, do what you can do stop it before it becomes a habit. Puppies don’t have the strength (or teeth) to do serious damage, but that changes when they grow up.

Bad Breath

Most dogs will have unpleasant breath, but if you notice a sudden change or severe odor, visit the veterinarian. Bad breath could indicate that something is wrong with your dog’s oral health, but it could also be a sign of gastrointestinal distress. Your vet should be able to determine the cause with a few quick tests.

Scooting

Most people have seen a dog scooting his butt across the floor. It can seem funny, but it’s often cause for concern. When this happens, it means that something is irritating the dog’s anus. The anal sacs may be full and need expressing, or they could have an allergy, worms, or constipation. Keep an eye on your puppy if you see this behavior, and take them to the veterinarian if it happens more than once.

Circling

Most puppies will chase their tails from time to time, but constant walking in circles may indicate a health issue. Ear infections may cause circling. If your puppy seems to be wandering in a circle rather than chasing after its tail, schedule a vet visit.

Eating Poop

All animals have behaviors we find disgusting, and this is one of the more common. Most puppies will be interested in poop, whether its their own or another animal’s found in the street. Dogs eat feces for several reasons. It could be a habit picked up from the mother. It could be curiosity. In some cases, though, eating poop can indicate a nutritional deficiency. Check your puppy’s food intake.

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7 01, 2020

What’s Going on with Alaska Airlines’ Pet Policy?

By |2020-01-07T16:14:48-07:00January 7th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

Around New Year’s Eve 2019, a passenger on an Alaska Airlines’ cross-country flight had an allergic reaction to the cat under the seat next to her. According to reporting from ABC7 News in California, the woman needed to give up her aisle seat to avoid the cat.

“Her face started swelling and she felt that tingling and her eyes started swelling up a bit,” the woman’s father told the news outlet. He decided to talk to ABC7 after seeing a report of a woman suffering an asthma attack on an Alaska Airlines flight from Oakland to Seattle just a couple of days prior, also due to a cat.

In response, a representative from Alaska Airlines told ABC7 News that, “If a passenger is allergic to pets, our policy is to move the pet and its owner to the back of the aircraft, which is what happened in this case.”

There are a couple of strange things about this statement. First, this is not included in the Alaska Airlines pet policy. Second, this strategy makes little sense, as moving an animal to the back of the plane would only increase passenger exposure to the allergen.

As it turns out, this is not the policy that was put in place during the incident, and it is not Alaska Airlines’ official policy for dealing with pet allergies. But the incident points to a larger topic that warrants discussion: How are airlines responding to pet allergies amidst the increase in pet travel?

Passengers and Pet Allergies

We wrote a blog post almost two years ago about how to manage other passengers with pet allergies. Since then, pet travel has only increased, and some airlines are beginning to realize they need a clause embedded in their public pet policies designed to deal with this situation. Surprisingly, no airline that we found advertised its policy for addressing pet allergies on a flight. This is a huge surprise, as most pet parents prefer as much information up front as possible. If you want this information prior to boarding (or booking your ticket), we suggest calling the airline’s customer service line.

What Can You Do?

There’s only so much a pet parent can do when a seatmate has a pet allergy. You and your pet need to get to where you’re going, and once you’re on the flight, you can’t really rush out and buy your seat partner a Benadryl. However, pet owners can make some easy purchases prior to boarding that will significantly reduce an allergic passenger’s reaction.

The first is simple: buy some medicine. Any antihistamine, like Zyrtec, Benadryl, Allegra, and Claritin should work. These drugs work by blocking the effects of the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms, and they’re sold over the counter as individual doses. Pick up a few packets at the Duty Free on your way to the gate.

The second thin you can buy to comfort your seatmate is a pet carrier cover. By draping a cover over the carrier, you limit the amount of pet dander able to escape, thus decreasing the number of allergens exposed to the cabin. This can also be beneficial to the animal, as it will limit external stimuli and aid in keeping him calm. Additionally, if you have a few minutes the morning of your flight, take some time to brush and groom your pet. This will also cut down on pet dander.

You can’t control how your airline reacts to a customer’s allergy, but you can do everything in your power to prove that you’re not a nuisance. Importantly, understand your airline’s pet policy prior to boarding. If they have a policy in place specifically for pet allergies, you should know it. Otherwise, you may end up in a debacle similar to this Alaska Airlines incident.

 

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11 12, 2019

Important Holiday Pet Safety Reminders

By |2020-01-07T14:50:13-07:00December 11th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

The holidays are an exciting time for friends, family, and – importantly – pets. But with added excitement comes a risk of danger, even if you’re not planning to travel. Whether you’re flying home with Fido or hosting friends with Fluffy, you want to keep an eye out for holiday hazards. Below, we’ve broken these threats and risks into four categories.

Food

While you may be tempted to allow Fido or Fluffy join in on the holiday fun, do your best to avoid feeding table scraps. Some of the most common holiday meals contain foods toxic to many pets, including fatty meats, onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, and anything sweetened with Xylitol. If you want to give your pet a great meal, we suggest ordering holiday-themed treats online.

You’ll also want to take the trash out as soon as possible after a large meal. Scavenging pets can get into holiday leftovers and gorge themselves on high-fat foods, which can lead to gastrointestinal troubles, blockage, and in the most severe cases, pancreatitis. In the frantic rush, your pet can also ingest small bones, which can cause severe internal damage. Remember to clean up quickly and place enticing scraps out of reach.

Decorations

Holiday decorations may look nice, but they can present a hazard to animals. Try not to use decorative materials like tinsel and curling ribbon on trees and presents. They may be ingested, which can cause intestinal obstructions and other problems. Additionally, you’ll want to secure all electric light strings so that they are out of your pet’s reach. Animals can easily become entangled or chew on these strings, leading to potential electrocution. Similarly, if you’re using real candles in a menorah, keep the flame under control and out of reach.

While bright and shiny holiday decorations may command most of your attention, Christmas trees are often the most dangerous part of the house. Prevent your animals from drinking the water by covering it with a towel. Tree water can contain sap, fire retardants, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals. Additionally, weigh down your tree to prevent it from toppling onto an overzealous dog. Remember that holiday plants, like mistletoe and poinsettias, are extremely toxic.

Travel

If you’re planning to travel with Fido or Fluffy this holiday season, use it as an excuse to check in on your pet’s health. Bring them to the animal hospital for an annual check-up to make sure they are healthy, receive a health certificate, and ensure that all vaccines are up to date. Animal hospitals can be busy during the holiday season, so try to schedule your appointment several weeks in advance.

Importantly, you’ll want to be sure your pet’s microchip is working. A veterinarian can easily scan this for you. Before travel, double-check the online microchip database to update all necessary contact information, and make sure your pet’s ID tags are accurate. Busy airports and stressful households can increase your pet’s chance of escaping, so do what you can to make sure they’ll find their way home.

If you’re traveling by car, remember to use some form of restraint while driving – a crate, a pet seatbelt, &c. Keep records of your pet’s vaccination history in the glove box in case anyone asks to see them, especially if you’re traveling across state lines.

Holiday Guests

If your pet is not used to being in a space with a lot of people, you’ll want to communicate that information to everyone in the house. Do not leave pets and guests alone together, especially children, as this could add to an animal’s stress and compel them to act out. If your pet seems overwhelmed by the holiday commotion, let them hang out in a quiet, safe, dark room away from noise and guests.

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7 12, 2019

Find International Pet Travel Airline Information

By |2019-12-08T14:33:25-07:00December 7th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

We started this website with the intent of making sure that when it comes to airline pet travel, travelers have an organized source where all of the necessary pet travel information can be found in one place. We’ve collected and published a lot of information for domestic travel, covering a large selection of US-based airlines and airports.

In listening to feedback from our audience, we recognize there is a need to provide this type of information for international pet travel as well. What follows is our general guide for international pet travel. For a full list of the airlines we’ve covered, international and domestic, take a look at our Airline Pet Policy and Travel Reservation guide.

How to Travel Internationally with a Pet

International travel can be a very enriching experience. While most pet owners don’t take their animals on a short vacation, there are other times when it’s necessary to bring your pets along with you, like for a permanent relocation or a longer stay abroad. Bringing an animal internationally comes with its own unique requirements, and we’re working to bring you the best available information on airline policies as well as international import and export guidelines for animals.

One of the more difficult aspects of traveling with a pet internationally is getting organized. Different countries have different laws, and you may have to acquire various health documentations and exams from your veterinarian prior to your travels. Depending on your destination and the length of time you’ll be there, you may also need to get visas and arrange for your pet to go through a period of quarantine. All of these requirements might make some pet owners apprehensive to travel with their animals, but rest assured that it’s not impossible. By expanding the number of airlines we cover, we’re working hard to help you iron out the details in your travel plans.

People who require service animals, for instance, will find most international airlines have similar regulations and protections—at least for service dogs in particular. Many airlines are also more accommodating than ever before to people that will need to bring their emotional or psychiatric support animals. While many airlines are more welcoming to these animals, each airline has slightly different requirements that should be checked before you make your travel plans.

FAQs about International Pet Travel

To help bring more clarity to this topic, we’ve created a FAQ for some of the questions we get the most. Hopefully, this will answer some of your initial questions and help you get started planning your travel. Note that many of these answers will ultimately depend on your final destination.

What kind of health documents will I need to have for my animal?

This will depend on the breed and species of animals that you have. For many people, the first step will be to ask their vet if their animal is healthy enough for international travel. Generally, you will at least want to get copies of vaccine records. Additionally, if your dog is an emotional or psychiatric support animal, you will likely need to get documentation from your doctor or psychiatrist.

Which kinds of animals are not allowed on planes at all?

In most cases, snub-nosed dogs are prohibited from traveling by air. Snub-nosed refers to dogs or cats that have a shorter snout than usual, also known as brachycephalic animals. It might initially be upsetting to know that these dogs aren’t allowed on planes, but it’s really for their safety. The snouts on these animals to prevent them from getting enough air into their lungs while in-flight. There is also the possibility that they could overheat because they cannot pant as effectively. Dogs like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and several others are not allowed on planes.

How can I send an animal abroad unaccompanied?

Many people find it necessary to ship an animal. If this is you, you will need to make yourself aware of the import and export laws associated with the animal’s destination and be sure to fulfill them. Then, you can book your animal onto a cargo plane and send your animal without human accompaniment. It can then be picked up at the airport or delivered to its destination using a pet transport service, which some airports even provide.

What happens if I have an overnight layover and I get separated from my pet?

Some airlines, like Air Canada for example, prefer to board a pet in an airport kennel rather than have its owner pick it up and put it through security again in the morning. This may also help both the pet and its owner keep stress low. Double check the airline’s policies first. If you are flying through a major city, or through an airline’s headquarters, there may be more options for overnight boarding.

What do I need to know about bringing my service animal on a plane?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that service animals should be accepted in public spaces without proof of disability, but this does not fully apply on airplanes. However, under the Air-Carrier Accessibility Act, or ACAA, airlines should try to accommodate you and your service animal. To make things go smoother, notify the airline you will be travelling with at least 48 hours prior to your flight. Service dogs usually fly free of charge.

There are several other requirements for emotional and psychiatric assistance animals. While these animals and their owners are usually welcome on the plane, there are some necessary documents to complete. These will vary based on the airline.

What if I’m not flying into a major city?

Sometimes, animals will need to go through the largest airport in a country, or through an airport in a major city. Not all airports have kennels and other equipment needed to house and care for animals, even for a short amount of time. When you book your flight, check to make sure that your animal can come through to your final destination, or if you will need to utilize a local animal transportation service.

Planning for International Pet Travel

Traveling with animals can be difficult and confusing when you don’t have all the information you need. We’re working to make it easier to book reservations and prepare for international travel with a pet.

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26 11, 2019

Navigating Layovers with a Pet

By |2019-11-30T12:56:47-07:00November 26th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means pet travel is about to become more common than ever. In the rush to secure cheap tickets–or any tickets at all–many of us traveling for the winter holidays booked flights with layovers. While this may be only a slight inconvenience for a solo traveler, navigating layovers with a pet presents a range of logistical challenges for passengers.

Usually, finding a pet relief station is the biggest concern a pet parent will handle during a layover. If flights are delayed, your window of opportunity will shrink, leaving you with little time to let Fido take a break. In some cases, however, you may be concerned about your pet getting onto the connecting flight, especially if it is flying as checked baggage in the cargo hold. While every airport and airline handles this process differently, there are a few strategies you can deploy to prevent the worst from happening.

Layovers with a Pet in Cabin

Flying with your pet in the cabin significantly reduces the risk of harm and neglect during a layover. Your pet will not need to leave your side, which should provide some comfort in an otherwise stressful situation. When you arrive at your destination, you will have some time – typically, at least a few minutes – to locate the nearest indoor pet relief station and allow your pet to relieve themselves. If your flights are short, you may not even need to visit the pet bathroom (but if you have the time, we suggest letting Fido at least stretch his legs).

Layovers, however, can be very short. If you’re worried about relieving Fido while catching your connecting flight, here are some tips.

  • Look up the layover airport map prior to travel and familiarize yourself with where the pet relief stations are. This will allow you to quickly locate the nearest pet bathroom.
  • If the airport has only outdoor pet relief areas, ask the person at the check-in desk how long the line for security is. In most cases, this staff member has just needed to pass through the line themselves, so they should be able to provide updated information.
  • Don’t book flights with fast layovers. While this might seem counterintuitive, it is more important to give your dog time to relax before a second flight than to rush frantically through the experience.

Layovers with a Pet as Checked Baggage

Navigating layovers with a pet traveling as checked baggage can be difficult – even dangerous. Last month, we received an email from a reader regarding a pet travel incident she witnessed. While in the international arrivals section of Miami International Airport, she noticed a dog carrier all alone beside the elevators. It was around 6:30 pm. She writes:

“Airport personnel walked past it for several minutes, and no one could tell me anything about the little white dog in the carrier except that it had been there for a while and that maybe her owner was detained in customers. I tried for an hour to get help for this dog, but no one really knew what to do. Apparently, her owner was transferring to another flight and didn’t know that he had to pick her up.”

This reader explained that the owner needed a wheelchair to get back to the dog, but that a sticker on the crate indicated that she hadn’t had food or a walk since 10:00 that morning. Luckily, the dog’s crate had the owner’s contact information, and when the reader was able to contact him, he was distraught. After several hours, the owner finally got a wheelchair to retrieve his dog. Without this reader’s help, a lot worse could have happened.

This incident indicates several failures on the part of both the airline and the airport, and we don’t expect this type of oversight to be the norm. That said, the holiday season is busy, and some things may slip through the cracks. As a pet parent, you must do what you can to prevent this scenario from happening. Here are our tips.

  • When you check your pet in for a flight, talk to the airline associate about the process of transferring flights. Ask specifically about whether the dog will be walked, whether they will have food, and how they will get on the connecting flight.
  • When you land at your layover destination, ask a flight attendant about the status of your pet. Do you need to go anywhere to retrieve them? Are they being transferred to the other plane? Can you see them for a couple of minutes? While actual transfer practices will vary by airline and airport, reminding the flight attendants can significantly reduce risk of harm or miscommunication.
  • Write your contact information, destination, and home address on the crate. This will allow fellow passengers or airport personnel to contact you in the case of an emergency. Also, in large, bold letters, write “CONNECTING TO <FLIGHT NUMBER> FROM <AIRPORT> to <DESTINATION AIRPORT>, <DATE>” so that baggage handlers don’t forget.
  • When you board your connecting flight, ask airport personnel, whether at the check-in desk or on the plane, if the dog has been loaded into cargo. This will provide another important reminder to staff that there is an animal that needs tending to.
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