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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

Our Process

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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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a domestic pet health certificate for domestic travel cost?
Whereas international travel requires that the USDA endorse your pet’s travel certificate, this is not necessary for domestic travel with your pet. Your veterinarian will charge a fee for an appointment, as well as any necessary vaccines or lab tests. The cost of a pet health exam and certificate from one of our mobile veterinarians will vary based on the BetterVet location where you book your appointment. To determine the exact cost of your exam, you can book an appointment on our website or mobile app.
Why do I need a domestic pet travel health certificate for my pet?
Some states require documentation to ensure that visiting pets are healthy and meet their standards for vaccines and other criteria. Airline companies also require health certificates to make sure your dog or cat does not have any illnesses or diseases that could be transmitted to passengers or other animals, such as fleas and ticks, or rabies.
How do I obtain a domestic pet travel health certificate?
To obtain a domestic pet health certificate, make sure to schedule an appointment with a USDA-certified veterinarian before you are scheduled to travel. We have same-day and next-day appointments in most locations to accommodate your travel plans.
Are there any specific vaccinations or health requirements that my pet must meet to obtain a domestic pet travel health certificate?
To learn more about the requirements for specific states, please visit the USDA-APHIS interstate pet travel page. While not required, you may also want to consider having your pet microchipped before traveling, which can also be taken care of during your home vet visit. As stated above certain states may require specific vaccinations and lab tests.
What is the difference between a domestic pet health certificate and an international pet health certificate?
A domestic pet health certificate may be issued for interstate travel within the US (usually by air). Not all states require a pet health certificate, but most airlines do. An international pet certificate is necessary to obtain before traveling out of the country with your pet. Both types have specific requirements that need to be met before traveling with your pet.

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