So you want to bring your pet abroad?
Here are the steps I took for getting my dog from the United States (Florida) all the way to France!
I’m writing this post about my experience bringing my dog Bentley (but he’s more like my baby) abroad from the US to France.. BUT this could very well be similar to any other foreign countries as well.
I would suggest that if you are traveling to somewhere other than France and want to bring your pet, please make sure you double check the guidelines for that specific country as every country has different rules and guidelines to follow for bringing your pet into the country.
Before I get into it my BIGGEST advice is to start early and plan ahead way ahead, you always want to make sure you give yourself room and time for error and/or time to meet specific timing requirements on when vaccinations need to be done and so on depending on which country you are traveling to. I started this process about 6 months before departure, I recommend giving yourself at least 3 months.
Here we go!
The following instructions apply to dogs, cats, and ferrets traveling from the United States to the EU.
Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old in order to travel into the EU.
What does my pet need from the vet before departure?
You will need to set up an appointment with your vet to get all of the necessary vaccinations for your pet. I called my vet and let them know I was intending on bringing Bentley to France and they were helpful with letting me know what he would need in order to enter the country.
- Your pet must have a microchip with an ISO compliant 15 digit pet microchip, or have a tattoo. If your pet does have a tattoo it must be clearly readable and applied before July 2011.
- Rabies Vaccination: Every pet must have this vaccination, this must be done at least 21 days before your departure date. Any rabies vaccination done before the microchip was inserted is not valid. The rabies vaccination must be completed AFTER the microchip.
- Blood test? Nope! A blood test is not required for pets coming from the United States into France.
Once your pet has all the necessary vaccinations, I do recommend giving a call to the department of agriculture of your country of destination. You want to make sure you don’t miss anything and are complying with the most current and up to date laws.
By the end of the vet visit I was given the official health certificate from the vet which needed to be endorsed by the USDA. In order to get the health certificate endorsed I had to mail the health certificate with a money order of $38 to the USDA offices in Gainesville Florida (here is a list of the other USDA offices throughout the US). Within two days I received the health certificate back, endorsed and ready to go! Know that this certificate is only valid for 10 days so make sure you get this done by the appropriate time before departure.
Does my pet need a pet passport?
No, an EU passport cannot be obtained in the US. A pet passport is used to travel within the EU.
Airlines can really be a piece of work, we all know that. Every airline is different when it comes to traveling with animals. Do your research before booking your ticket to make this process is as easy as can be for you and your pet.
The first thing I recommend for traveling is if you can.. and I mean really try because it just makes EVERYTHING easier.. Is to book a direct flight to your destination, doing this will prevent you from having to comply with the laws in the country you are passing through..which will just add to your never-ending to do list.
IF you have a flight with a layover make sure you go through the details with your airline of choice before your ticket is purchased and triple check that you are aware and following all the rules and guidelines of the country you will be passing through as well as your country of destination.
How much will it cost to add my pet to my flight?
This will depend on your airline. I flew United and the cost was $125 for one way.
What do I do when I get to the airport?
Arrive to the airport at least 3 hours before your departure.
When you arrive at the airport, the airline should be expecting that you are traveling with a pet due to your reservation.
Make sure that you have at least two copies of all your paperwork and bring EVERYTHING (Pet identification and proof of vaccination/microchip). When traveling to another country you always want to make sure you have all your necessary paperwork with you at all times especially concerning a pet.
Where will my pet be during travel?
I traveled on a direct flight to Paris with United airlines. Bentley was able to travel in his carrier (he is about 13lbs) underneath the seat and I even brought him up onto my lap a few times. He was calm and slept most of the time!
Depending on which airline you are flying with rules will be different. Some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin at all.
Whether your dog is traveling with you and will be in a carrier or in a crate down in the hold make sure you get them comfortable with what they will be traveling in way ahead of time so it won’t be such a big shock for them, you want to make sure they have a good experience and feel safe.
I hope that this was helpful for anyone hoping to bring their little one abroad and I would be happy to answer any questions, you can do that by leaving me a comment below!
The website below could also be helpful for additional info!
How’s Bentley doing in France?
Bentley seems to be getting adjusted here in France just fine. He enjoys walking around our new city Orleans and making friends with other french pups, if making friends means barking uncontrollably at every dog that walks by…… Maybe its the language barrier..ugh Bentley. He’s spent his entire life in Florida with most of his days spent sun bathing on the porch, So I’m interested to see how he will handle the cold winter. Im already searching amazon for those cute little doggy boots and winter coats.. Pics to come!
Good luck for all of you traveling with your animals!