Traveling With Your Pet?

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Requirements you need to be aware of before your trip


Our pets are an important part of our family, so what do we do when we are finally able to take that vacation of a lifetime? Do we leave them with grandma, the vet, or a pet hotel? Why not take your beloved pet with you? 

If you are considering taking your pet with you on vacation, please consider  some  general requirements the airlines may ask you meet in order to bring your four-legged family member to join in the adventure.

General requirements

  • Health Certificate: must be less than three months old; indicate name, breed, distinguishing marks, age, sex and owner's name. 
  • Complete Vaccination Record: All vaccinations must have the date on which they were administered and the date on which they expire, as well as veterinarian information.
  • Zoosanitary Certificate: when preparing for your vacation, double check if your destination requires this certificate (Central America and South America, for example do).
  • Therapeutic Certificate: this document is needed in case your pet is a support animal; this document must have the doctor's ID, telephone number and signature, in addition, the reason why the person needs the animal. 

Take the original and a copy of all the documents mentioned above, as well as any particular requirements of the specific destination you are going to visit.  Please note that puppies under 4 months or pregnant females cannot travel. It is also recommended not to travel with older or overweight pets as they can be more sensitive to changes in pressure and suffer from stress. 

There are some restrictions concerning the breeds of your pet, generally, most airlines will not allow you to travel with dogs and cats of the "brachiocephalic" type of breed, this means, all pets with a snout that is "flat or short" for example: Bulldog, Pug, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Persian or Himalayan Cats. This due to the fact that they may experience breathing problems and suffer a respiratory attack during the trip due pressure, stress or temperature changes. 

Similar to the brachiocephalic restriction, some airlines or destinations have restrictions on breeds they consider "dangerous", on occasion they will only be able to travel if they have special documentation or may they may not be able to travel at all. Pitbulls and the Akita are among those breeds.

Once you have confirmed your pet meets the minimum requirements you will need the following: 

  • Pay the airline fee for a pet traveler which may be paid the day of the flight.
  • If you are traveling with more than one pet, each must be transported separately. 
  • The pet crate should be made of a firm material, approved for leakage at the bottom, with vents on all four sides, must have been sprayed with an odor neutralizer, must have adequate "anti-leak" protections and weigh no more than 88 pounds with your pet inside. 
  • The pet crate must be perfectly labeled with all the contact details of its owner.
  • The pet crate should also be of an appropriate size to allow the pet to rotate completely and stand comfortably. 
  • Spill-proof food containers may be placed inside, as well as toys or clothing that will allow the animal to be comfortable. 

Please keep in mind that requirements may vary and change depending on the airline so always confirm the current airline requirements when you book your travel. If you will be staying in a hotel or renting a house at your destination, make sure the location is pet friendly to avoid any issues when you arrive. Always ensure your pet is wearing a collar with identifying information including your contact information.

Do not forget to ask your vet for special recommendations or if you should bring any medication or food from home in case your usual brand is not available at the final destination.  

Try to get your pet used to being inside its pet crate. You can practice by going on car trips to make sure they are calm and comfortable within the crate to minimize their stress. 

Traveling with your pet is possible! Be adventurous with all the members of your family! At AXA, we offer trip protection plans which include travel insurance and assistance services to support you before, during and after your trip so that nothing stops your trip. So what are you waiting for, get  your trip protection quote now?

Disclaimer: Welcome to the AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance Blog! The Travel on Blog is intended to provide you with entertaining and educational information of a general nature. The articles are for editorial purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. Please contact AXA Assistance USA if you have any questions.

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