[dog and cat with maps and suitcases]As the holiday season approaches, many of you will be traveling near and far with your four-legged family members. Flying with pets has become increasingly common over the years, and as a result of the growing number of pets flying, the travel requirements for many airlines have evolved.

The change in pet travel requirements can be a big surprise for many owners. I have witnessed many owners that are stressed and nervous at the final hour, trying to get everything together for their pet’s trip. The to-do list can seem endless, with many hoops to jump through. I cannot stress enough the importance of proper preparation.

Therefore, to aid in your travel plans this holiday season, and in the future, I put together some tips to help you prepare for airplane travel with your pets:

  1. Check the specific airline pet travel requirements

Each airline has different requirements for travel – including vaccinations, documentation filled out by the veterinarian, and carrier size. If your pet is not traveling in the cabin with you, there will most likely be additional steps to take to ensure they are ready to fly.

  1. If traveling internationally, research travel requirements of the destination country

For travel outside of the United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be required. I recommend checking the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) Pet Travel Website to research all requirements for the country that you are traveling to. Below is the website:


You should also contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.

There are pet travel companies that can help coordinate and organize all travel requirements and documents. This is especially helpful for international travel. In my experience, their service is extremely valuable for owners.

  1. Contact the Veterinarian

You have done your research, so it is time to see us! For some countries, you need to begin the process months in advance, and even when traveling domestically, a health certificate is required (often within 10 days of travel). Therefore, please plan accordingly when scheduling the visit.

I hope this is helpful! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your pet’s travel plans.

Happy Holidays!

Amber Slaughter, DVM