When Can Dogs Travel Abroad?

what age can dogs travel abroad

There are many factors to consider when deciding to take your dog abroad. Firstly, you must consider the age of your dog. Puppies younger than 15 weeks should not travel on international flights as they are not yet vaccinated, and their respiratory systems are not developed enough to handle long-haul flights. It is also important to note that different countries have different regulations regarding the minimum age of dogs entering the country. For example, the UK and other EU countries do not permit unvaccinated puppies younger than 12 weeks to enter. Additionally, airlines have their own rules regarding the minimum age of dogs on flights, with most setting the minimum age at 8 weeks.

Other factors to consider include the health of your dog, ensuring they have received the necessary vaccinations, and whether your dog can handle the stress and discomfort of travelling. It is always best to consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog is healthy enough to travel and meets the requirements of your destination country.

Characteristics Values
Minimum age requirement 15 weeks
Youngest age accepted by airlines 8 weeks
Youngest age accepted by the UK and EU 12 weeks
Age at which dogs can be vaccinated against rabies 12 weeks
Age recommended by PetRelocation 16 weeks


Vaccination requirements

In general, it is recommended that dogs are vaccinated against rabies before travelling internationally. This is because rabies is a significant concern for many countries, and proof of rabies vaccination may be required for entry. It is worth noting that the rabies vaccine must be valid and not expired on the date of travel. Additionally, some countries may require a rabies titer test, which must be conducted by a certified laboratory.

Another important consideration is the timing of vaccinations. Dogs should be of a certain age before receiving their initial rabies vaccination, typically around 12 weeks (84 days) old. After the initial vaccination, there is usually a waiting period before the dog can travel, often around 28 days. It is crucial to plan ahead and start the vaccination process early to ensure the dog has valid vaccination documentation for travel.

Furthermore, some countries may require additional vaccinations beyond rabies, such as the distemper vaccine or other core vaccines. These requirements can vary depending on the country of origin and the destination country. It is essential to research the specific requirements for the countries being visited and transited through.

It is also worth noting that some countries may have restrictions on the import of certain dog breeds, so it is important to check this before travelling. Additionally, there may be specific requirements for service dogs or dogs intended for resale or adoption.

In summary, when travelling abroad with dogs, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian early in the planning process to ensure all necessary vaccinations and documentation are in order. Requirements can vary by country and airline, so thorough research is essential to ensure a smooth travel experience with your dog.

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When it comes to taking your dog abroad, there are a few important things to consider regarding their age and microchipping. Firstly, it is recommended that dogs be at least 16 weeks old before flying, as this is when they are better able to withstand the travel experience and can be vaccinated against rabies.

Now, let's talk about microchipping in more detail. Microchipping is essential for international pet travel. It is a requirement for any international pet move because immigration officers use it to compare the scanned pet to the presented veterinary documents. This ensures that the pet has met the destination country's requirements. Here are some key points about microchipping:

  • Microchips are small, electronic devices, about the size of a grain of rice, that store your pet's unique identification number and medical information.
  • In the United States, microchips are commonly AVID with 9 or 10 numbers, but these are not ISO-compatible. For international travel, your pet will need a 15-digit ISO-compatible microchip, which is the world standard.
  • You can have multiple microchips for your pet if they already have a non-ISO-compatible one. Both chips will function normally and can be read separately.
  • Microchipping should be done before or at the same time as the rabies vaccination. If not, your pet will need to be vaccinated again.
  • Make sure the microchip number is included in your animal health certificate, with the date before your pet's vaccinations.
  • If your microchip cannot be read, you will need to revaccinate your pet and issue a new animal health certificate, resulting in potential travel delays.
  • Some countries that require microchips for pet travel include the British Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and France Polynesia, among others.
  • Microchipping provides peace of mind and increases the likelihood of being reunited with your pet if they get lost, both at home and abroad.


Health certificates

To obtain a health certificate, you must take your dog to a veterinarian for an examination. In the United States, it is recommended that you work with a USDA-accredited veterinarian, who has completed formal training from the National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) in the state(s) they are licensed to practice medicine. This accreditation is voluntary, so not all veterinarians hold it.

The health certificate will need to be signed by an 'official veterinarian' (OV). If your vet cannot issue the certificate, they should be able to help you find an OV. It is important to inform your vet ahead of time that you will need an animal health certificate, as this will give them time to prepare the necessary documentation.

The health certificate will be valid for a specific period, which varies depending on the region. For example, in Great Britain, the certificate is valid for 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland, 4 months for onward travel within the EU, and 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain. It is important to plan accordingly and ensure that your dog's health certificate is valid for the duration of your trip.

In addition to the health certificate, there may be other requirements for your dog to travel, such as microchips for identification and specific vaccinations, such as rabies. It is important to research the requirements of your destination country and consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog meets all the necessary criteria for safe and compliant travel.


Travel crates

When travelling abroad with a dog, it's important to choose the right travel crate. Travel crates differ from a dog's home crate in several ways, including ways to secure them during travel, handles, straps, or detachable wheels for transport, and a crash-safety rating.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a travel crate for your dog. Firstly, the size of your dog is important. Make sure to choose a crate that is appropriately sized for your dog, with enough room for them to stand, sit, turn around, and lie down in a natural position. Some crates are designed specifically for small, medium, or large dogs, so check the size specifications before purchasing.

Another factor to consider is the type of crate. There are several types of travel crates available, including hard-sided plastic crates, soft-sided fabric crates, and collapsible or foldable crates. Hard-sided plastic crates, such as the SportPet Designs Rolling Wire Door Travel Dog Crate, are durable and easy to clean. They are a good option for air travel, as they provide security and safety for your dog during cargo transport. Soft-sided fabric crates, like the EliteField Three-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, are lightweight and collapsible, making them convenient for travel. However, they may not be suitable for dogs prone to chewing or accidents. Collapsible or foldable crates, such as the Diggs Revol Collapsible Crate, are also a convenient option, as they break down to a compact size and are easy to transport.

In addition to the size and type of crate, there are other features to consider. For example, some crates have multiple doors, providing easy access and ventilation. Others have handles or wheels, making them easier to transport. If you plan to travel by air, look for a crate that is airline-approved, such as the Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier, which is designed to fit underneath most front cabin seats. For car travel, choose a crate with a crash-safety rating, like the Gunner Kennels Dog Crate, which has a five-star rating for crash safety.

Finally, consider your dog's specific needs. If your dog is anxious or reluctant to travel, a soft-sided crate may be a better option, as it provides a cozier and quieter environment. If your dog is prone to accidents, look for a crate with absorbent materials or a removable tray, such as the Diggs Revol Collapsible Crate, which makes cleanup easier. For older dogs, choose a crate with features that accommodate their needs, such as a portable ramp for easy entry and exit.

By considering the size of your dog, the type of crate, additional features, and your dog's specific needs, you can choose the best travel crate for your furry friend, ensuring their comfort and safety during your travels.


Travel by ship

When it comes to travelling abroad with your dog, there are a variety of factors to consider, including their age, health, and the specific requirements of your chosen mode of transportation. While there is no standard age limit for dogs travelling abroad, puppies should be at least 16 weeks old to ensure they can be vaccinated against rabies and better withstand the travel experience.

If you're considering travelling by ship with your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, different cruise lines and maritime vessels have varying policies regarding pet travel. It's crucial to do your research and confirm the specific requirements and restrictions of your chosen cruise line well in advance.

One popular option for travelling with pets is the Queen Mary 2, which offers a "Pets on Deck" program. This program includes a range of pet-friendly services and amenities, such as kennels supervised by a full-time pet attendant, an adjacent exercise area, fresh-baked biscuits, a choice of beds and blankets, and a complimentary gift pack with items like a QM2-logoed coat and Frisbee. However, reservations for this route usually need to be made over a year in advance due to high demand.

When travelling by ship with your dog, it's important to remember that pets are typically restricted to specific areas of the ship. Additionally, you will need to ensure your dog complies with the entry regulations of your destination country, as well as any transit countries along the way. For example, if you're travelling to the UK, you must follow the rules of the Pet Scheme, which may include microchipping and specific vaccination requirements.

Another option for travel by ship is to consider ferries, which are often more flexible and affordable. Several ferry companies in Europe and the United States allow pets on board, with rates ranging from free to around $100. These companies may have different policies regarding whether pets can stay with their owners or need to stay in a vehicle or kennel during the journey.

Finally, if you're looking for the most comfortable and stress-free option, you could consider arranging a private boat charter. While this option is more expensive, it can provide a calmer and more personalised travel experience for both you and your furry companion.

Frequently asked questions

The minimum age requirement is generally 15 weeks for international flights, but it is recommended that dogs are at least 16 weeks old before they fly. This is because at 16 weeks old, your puppy will be able to withstand the travel experience and can be vaccinated against rabies.

Most countries require your puppy to be vaccinated for rabies before travelling. Given that the rabies vaccine is administered to a dog at around 12 weeks, it is likely that your puppy cannot travel before it is 16 weeks old. Your puppy will also need other mandatory vaccines such as the DHLPP vaccine, the parainfluenza vaccine, and the measles vaccines.

Puppies need to eat small amounts of food at short intervals, so it is not advisable to travel with very young puppies on long-haul flights. Make sure your puppy is fed no later than four hours before the flight and is well hydrated.

Line the crate with absorbent puppy pads and place a soft blanket on top. You can also keep an old t-shirt or sock with your smell on it in the crate, as this will make your puppy feel secure and comfortable.

Young puppies do not have fully developed lungs and could suffer from respiratory distress during the flight. Extreme temperatures can also be dangerous as very young animals cannot regulate their body temperature effectively.

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