Whether you still need help getting your dog registered or you’ve had your companion for years, going on a journey isn’t out of reach. A bit more planning is needed, but you shouldn’t limit yourself. All airlines are required to allow service animals on board.
Unfortunately, once you land, the requirements to keep your animal with you vary by country and region. You’ll have to do some research, depending on the specific place where you want to go. Some locations are very lax, while others have strict standards to follow before you can bring your service dog.
Though this list isn’t exhaustive, here are the top five tips for traveling with your canine.
1. Microchip Your Dog
Some countries, such as France, require your service dog to be microchipped before entering the country. That chip should be ISO compliant, or you’ll need to bring a compatible microchip reader.
You can also contact the EU veterinarian at your destination to see whether or not they have an appropriate reader. If you have not had your animal chipped yet, make an appointment with a USDA accredited vet to implant the ISO compliant microchip.
2. Get Your Dog an Updated Rabies Shot
Without a rabies shot, your service animal cannot enter most countries. After microchipping your dog, make sure you schedule an appointment to either get a rabies shot or have it updated. Vaccinations are valid for three years and cannot expire while you are in the country.
If your canine had a non-ISO compliant chip implanted before or during their most recent vaccination, you don’t need to revaccinate your dog. The circumstances are the same in all cases, even if you get your pet re-microchipped to be compliant with the EU.
In most cases, you’ll have to wait before you can enter the country if you get your dog vaccinated. The waiting period could be more or less than 21 days. If you get the shot after the previous rabies shot expires or you get the microchip implanted, your case will be considered primary.
3. Get Your Paperwork in Order
Even though airplanes do not require paperwork for you to take your service animal, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Some countries are not as familiar with the service dog rules and regulations. If you have the vest and appropriate paperwork, you avoid unnecessary questions and potential harassment when bringing your dog places.
Some places require additional paperwork, such as countries in the European Union. An accredited vet must issue, complete, and sign an EU Health Certificate at least ten days before your service dog is allowed to travel. The document is valid for four months from the date it is issued. If your rabies vaccine expires before the certificate, then the latter paper is considered null and void.
4. Have Your Paperwork Endorsed
The APHIS or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will approve your completed paperwork. Schedule your appointment for a few weeks in advance. If any trouble arises during the initial visit, you have time to reschedule. Before getting your documents officially endorsed, the office will go over the process and fees associated with approval.
Be prepared because the fees are not cheap to have your animal’s paperwork confirmed. You can expect to pay about $121 for one service dog with an additional $7 per animal. For more specific information, since this is a general blog, head to your local APHIS office.
Have a Fun Trip!
Needing a service dog doesn’t have to hinder your travel lifestyle. Having an animal by your side makes the experience better.