What is a Domestic Pet Travel Certificate?
After receiving a satisfactory pet examination for travel, a pet travel certificate may be issued by your veterinarian. This document certifies that your cat or dog is medically cleared to travel and free of transmissible conditions. Requirements may vary, depending on which state you are planning to travel to, but may include:
- Up-to-date vaccines and boosters
- A rabies test
- Other lab tests
When to Get Your Cat or Dog’s Domestic Travel Certificate
If you are traveling domestically to a state that requires it, you will need to have a cat or dog’s health certificate, which may include vaccination records and lab test results, signed by your veterinarian. Make sure to get pet-travel ready as early as possible, as states like Hawaii require rabies vaccination and testing. You will want to start the process at least three months in advance. To find out the pet requirements for each state, please refer to the USDA-APHIS website.
Even if the state you are visiting does not mandate it, most airlines will require that a pet health certificate be issued within 10 days of travel. Federal regulations also state that any pet traveling on a domestic airline needs to be at least 8 weeks old and have been weaned from their mother at least 5 days before flying. For more information about flying with your pet, please refer to the Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines.
It is recommended by our veterinarians to leave plenty of time before traveling to schedule your vet appointment and satisfy all the requirements for the state you are traveling to. Sometimes pets will need to be examined and certified within a very specific window of time before traveling. For instance, most airlines require a domestic health certificate for pets traveling within 10 days of your travel date.
Unlike international travel, the USDA does not need to endorse your pet’s health certificate. Once you’re ready to schedule your vet appointment for domestic travel, we will send you a quick pet travel form to complete before the appointment. This form is extremely important and will help guide our conversation and the services required during your appointment.
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