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How To Travel Abroad With Your Dog

The process can be very overwhelming for first timers, but this step-by-step guide has everything you need to know.

Step 1: Do your research

First off, head over to your airline's “Pet Policy” section of their website and learn the Terms and Conditions regarding pet travel. From my personal experience, I would recommend flying  American Airlines. 

American Airlines is the best option for international pet travel. First off, you are allowed to take your dog in cabin (medium and small dog-size only.)


Step 2: Call your airline to make a reservation for your pet



Once you book your flight, make sure you give them a call to reserve a spot for your pet. Many airlines have a maximum of 7 pets per cabin/flight policy. 



Step 3: Make an appointment with your vet


Let your vet know that you are traveling outside of the United States and that you need a official health certificate for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to review and approve. Also, make sure all vaccines and records are up to date.


Step 4: Get the official certification to travel at the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

Once you have your vet’s approval and proper documentation certifying that your pet is in good to travel, head over to the USDA for the goverment official pet certificate.


Give them a call to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also an option, just be mindful that you might have to wait a long time. If you choose to walk-in, I recommend showing up very early in the morning to avoid long lines. Things to know: 


  • Do not bring your pet to the USDA office. Pets are not allowed to enter. 
  • Bring cash with you! You’ll need to make a payment in the USDA and, like most government offices, they do not take credit cards. $100 is good!


Once you submit your documentation to the USDA agent, they will let you know the date and time your official travel certification will be ready for pick up. (Usually, it takes one to two business days.)  For this reason, make sure you start the process at least one week prior to your departure date!

Step 5: All set to go!


Now that the USDA has given your pet  the OK to travel.  Make sure you have all the pet travel essentials!

Arrive early three hours early to the airport to check in for your international flight. Self check-in machines are not an option for passengers traveling with a pet. 

The airline’s agent needs to review the pet’s documentation. When at the airport, make sure to head over to your airline's counter to check-in. An agent will revise all your pet's documentation. Also, be ready to make a payment! Most airlines charge a pet travel fee. The costs varies within airlines, so make sure you do your research. (The fee is approx. $125 per in-cabin pet in American Airlines.)


For more helpful tips on how to travel with your carry-on pet, visit or read my "How to successfully travel with your carry -on pet"  blog entry.


Safe travels, 

About The Author


The art of saying "Yes!" can take you far away. Many people pass on opportunities for many reasons, one of them being fear. Through my life I've encounter many people that forget to live the present for something that might not even happen in the future. If you are constantly waiting for the right time to finally do something, like fulfill your life dream, you are going to spend most of your life waiting.

My name is Mariella and I created this blog as a source of inspiration for others to believe they can live the life they always pictured. The secret? Believe you can and take action. The world awaits!


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