Dog laying in a suitcase

How to Get a Veterinary Health Certificate for Pet Travel

Planning a purr-fect trip with your furry travel buddy? Well, hold onto your leashes because it’s important to make sure your pet is ready to hit the road before embarking on your adventure.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the world of veterinary health certificates, the essential document that can help make you and your pet’s travel dreams a reality. So, fasten your seatbelts, fellow pet enthusiasts, and let’s explore how to get your pet ready for a wag-worthy journey!

A health certificate is an official document that certifies a pet has gone through the necessary requirements for travel. The requirements vary depending on your destination location and airline but often include a rabies vaccination, a microchip, and internal and external parasite treatment. To obtain a domestic travel health certificate, your vet will examine your pet, review their vaccination records, and screen them for parasites and diseases.

Understanding Health Certificates and State Requirements

A veterinary health certificate for domestic travel is an official document that confirms your pet’s overall health and certifies that they are fit to travel within the U.S. While every state has its own set of regulations, several states in the U.S. require a health certificate for pets traveling across state lines. In addition to local, federal, and state requirements, airlines and other modes of transportation services typically have their own set of regulations and requirements that your pet must meet prior to travel. 

These regulations are put in place to safeguard the well-being of animals and prevent the spread of diseases. So, whether you’re planning a road trip or hopping on a plane, it’s important to check the specific requirements of your destination state.

What’s the Difference Between a Domestic and International Pet Health Certificate?

An International Pet Health Certificate is required when traveling internationally with your pet. These certificates are valid for short periods of time, lasting 10 days if you travel by plane with your pet and 30 days if traveling by land. As with the domestic pet health certificate, the international pet health certificate requirements will vary greatly depending on the location. Most locations require a health examination and up-to-date vaccines, a microchip, parasite control, and disease testing. Some destinations may even call for quarantine.

It’s important to note that international travel calls for different certificates and requirements than domestic health certificates. Due to this, traveling internationally with your pet can be very complex and can take several months of planning to allow time for laboratory testing and to ensure your pet meets all necessary requirements for not only the country but for the transportation services as well. Additionally, you must plan ahead for your return home as your pet will need to undergo recertification and meet the requirements for re-entry to your home country and state. 

In order to provide a pet health certificate, the veterinarian must have a specific license to do so; therefore, not all PetWellClinic® locations offer domestic health certificates or international health certificates. Reach out to your local PetWellClinic® team to inquire about health certification for your pet’s travel needs. They will be happy to refer you to the best place to obtain a health certificate and more information about traveling internationally with your pet if needed. 

Dog by a suitcase for travel
Talk to your PetWellClinic® vet about pet travel!

What Does a Health Certificate Check For?

A health certificate for pets typically checks several key factors to ensure the overall health of your pet. While specific requirements may vary, there are common elements that are usually included in a health certificate examination:

  • Physical examination
  • Review of vaccination records
  • Parasite control
  • Disease screening
  • Overall health assessment

Physical Examination 

A veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, assessing their overall health and condition. This includes checking their:

  • Body weight
  • Coat condition & skin
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Teeth
  • Mobility
  • Heartbeat
  • Lung sounds

A physical exam is required for the health certificate, but it’s also a great service that gives vets insight into what’s going on with your furry friend. These exams often help vets catch issues with pets early on so the condition can be treated before it becomes serious. PetWellClinic® offers physical exams as an add-on to our Dog and Cat Wellness Packages or as a standalone service.

Learn more about Dog Wellness Packages and Cat Wellness Packages!

Vaccination Status 

The veterinarian will review your pet’s vaccination records to ensure they are up to date on essential vaccines. PetWellClinic® can also administer necessary vaccinations so your pet is eligible for a health certificate even if they weren’t when they walked into the clinic.

Each country, state, or airline may have its own regulations and requirements for pet travel, so it’s essential to research and plan ahead to ensure a smooth journey for your furry friend. 

Within the U.S., most states require a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before travel. Click here to find out what vaccinations are required for your U.S. travel destination. Many countries require at least a rabies vaccine and possibly rabies titer testing within a specified time frame prior to travel. Click here to find out what your pet’s international travel requirements are for your travel destination. Be sure to check your transportation service’s vaccination and other travel requirements. 

Parasite Control

The health certificate examination may include a check for external parasites such as fleas, ticks, or mites. Additionally, it may involve reviewing your pet’s preventive measures against internal parasites like heartworm, intestinal worms, or other common parasites. For a one-stop shop, PetWellClinic® provides flea and tick preventative care to protect your pet from these pesky parasites throughout the year! 

Disease Screening

In some cases, depending on the destination and travel requirements, the veterinarian may conduct specific tests to screen for contagious diseases. This may include blood tests or fecal examinations to rule out conditions that could pose a risk to other animals. If your pet needs a fecal examination, be sure to bring a fresh stool sample when you come to the clinic.

Overall Health Assessment

The veterinarian will then evaluate your pet’s overall health, looking for signs of illness, injury, or any underlying medical conditions that may affect their ability to travel safely. Assuming all is well and all requirements are met, your veterinarian will provide you with the certificate that clears your pet for travel. Let the adventures begin!

Getting a Health Certificate for Your Pet

Now that you know the importance of a health certificate, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty of obtaining one for your beloved four-legged friend. One of the best places to go for a hassle-free experience is PetWellClinic®! Known for our exceptional pet care services, PetWellClinic® offers a unique walk-in model, with no appointments necessary. This means you can swing by whenever it’s convenient for you and your pet.

Dog traveling and looking out the car window
Walk into your nearest PetWellClinic® today!

Though not all PetWellClinic® locations offer domestic health certificates or international health certificates, all locations offer vaccination, lab testing, parasite control, physical examinations, and many other services that are required to obtain a health certificate. Reach out to your local PetWellClinic® team to inquire about health certification for your pet’s travel needs. 

If your local PetWellClinic® offers health certifications, our team of experienced veterinarians will perform a thorough examination of your pet to ensure they are in good health and meet all the necessary requirements for travel. We’ll check vital signs, review vaccination records, and provide any additional tests or treatments that may be required for travel. Be sure to check your pet’s travel requirements and come prepared with previous and current medical records and vaccination history so that your PetWellClinic® team can best assist you. 

So, pack those bags, grab the leash, and get ready for a journey filled with wagging tails and paw-some memories!

Find your nearest PetWellClinic® location!

PetWellClinic® provides high-quality walk-in veterinary care for pet owners across the U.S. PetWellClinic® has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet anytime! No appointment necessary.

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