Traveling with a pet may not be the arduous task it once was, but owners can still face problems if unprepared.

More and more hotels are pet friendly these days. Airlines are better prepared than in the past to welcome pets. In many cases, small animals may even be allowed inside the airplane cabin. It is not unusual at all to see bus or rail passengers with a dog or cat in a carry-on basket.     

Yet, this improved climate should not lead owners into forgetting that they may need to acquire appropriate certification before embarking on journeys with their animal friends. Just contacting the hotel or transportation company is not enough. Visiting an animal hospital to find out just what state and national regulations exist comes highly recommended.

For anyone planning to travel with a furry friend, here are some common preliminary guidelines to get them started.

International Travelers

You first have to the check with the health office or embassy of the destination country. All governments have their own specific regulations regarding animal travel. Most importantly, find out just how recent the certification must be. In many cases, countries want the veterinary inspection done within the two weeks before departure. It is very important to coordinate the tests with a veterinarian at a local or regional animal hospital ahead of time.

Acquire all the appropriate paperwork, then proceed to the animal hospital at the appointed time.

State-to-State Travelers

Unbeknownst to many American pet owners, they usually have to obtain a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) before taking an animal across state lines. At times, companion animals, such as dogs and cats, do not require certification, especially if in the state for a brief period. Nevertheless, it is best to check with a veterinarian who can point owners in the right direction, so they stay within the law. 

Here are some exceptions to the general CVI requirements:

No CVI needed for dogs or cats

  • California

No CVI needed for cats

  • Illinois

  • Michigan

  • Pennsylvania

No CVI needed at all unless animal involved in adoption or commercial transaction

  • Georgia

  • Maine

  • Montana

  • Washington

Get Started With the Process Now

Anyone planning a trip with a companion animal needs to begin getting in compliance with state, national and international regulations as soon as possible. Taking a pet in for a health inspection is required in some cases but always recommended.

If the law does not require a certificate, a veterinarian (such as one from Deep Creek Veterinary Hospital) can still help by ensuring that the pet is in acceptable condition to handle the voyage. They will also be able to set up a pet grooming appointment so that the animal looks their best.