Are you on the move, and want to take your dog along? Whether you are travelling by air, road or rail, you will have to have a valid and up-to-date pet passport to take your pooch along. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates all transportation of pets and set out the guidelines for pet travel. Also, rules of entry and exit are defined at state level and vary from one state to another.
So let’s understand that:
The USDA set the national guidelines for pet transportation that must be upheld by law. And each state has the right to define additional internal rules for pet entry into, and exist out of the state that must also be adhered to.
What are Pet Passports?
A pet passport is an official document issued by a registered veterinarian that records prescribed information relating to a specific animal. The pet passport allows animals to travel between states and internationally.
The prescribed information is requirements specified by the USDA and different states. That is why it is very important for you to find out ahead of time what is required by the states that you will be travelling through by contacting the local authorities. Don’t expect your vet to know the exact state requirements, or just guess and hold thumbs. If your dog’s pet passport doesn’t comply with state rules, it will be denied entry or exit, and what will you do then?
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What are the national USDA Requirements?
The USDA advocate that your dog must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before travel. They have welfare regulations and health regulations that you must be adhered to before and during travel. Failure to adhere to welfare regulations can result in a hefty fine and even confiscation by authorities of any state you enter.
Welfare regulations include:
- Your dog must be fed and drink water about four hours before departure.
- In the event of long-distance travel, your dog must be given food and water while in transit (keep meals small and regular to prevent discomfort and possible vomiting).
- Your dog must be kept in a solid secured carrier that’s well ventilated during travel.
- Ventilation openings must make up at least 14% of the carrier wall space, and the carrier must have rims to prevent the ventilation openings from being blocked.
- No part of your dog is allowed to protrude from the carrier.
- The carrier must be big enough to allow your dog to stand, lie down and turn with ease.
- The carrier must be covered with a soft towel or other absorbent fabric during transit.
- You must bring two dishes, one for food and one for water, along as well as dog food.
- If you are travelling separately from your dog, you must include feeding instructions, dishes and dog food with the crate.
- You cannot put a leash or muzzle on your dog, inside or outside of the carrier, while in transit.
- The carrier must be marked with your dog’s name, as well as your details including your name, home address and contact number, and your address and contact number at your destination.
- Necessary precautions must be taken in extreme weather; it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog does not suffer unnecessarily due to extreme cold or heat while in transit.
Health regulations include:
- Your dog must be fitted with an electronic microchip or tattoo by a registered veterinarian. It must be recorded in the pet passport with a registration number that ties up to your dog only for life.
- Your dog must be vaccinated against rabies at least three weeks before your planned trip. (Proof to be recorded by a registered veterinarian.)
- Your dog must be treated for tapeworm between one and four days before your planned trip. (Proof to be recorded by a registered veterinarian.)
- Your dog must be treated for screwworm between one and five days before your planned trip. (Proof to be recorded by a registered veterinarian.)
- Your dog must have a recent certificate of good health issued by a registered veterinarian stating that it is healthy and free of communicable disease.
Not all of these treatments and vaccinations are required in all states. Treatment and vaccination requirements also depend on the regulations of the state you live in, and where your dog will be coming from. Rabies vaccinations and microchipping/tattooing are not negotiable across the USA.
How Many Times Must I get a Pet Passport?
You will only get one pet passport for your dog during its lifetime because the pet passport is linked to the registration number of the microchip or tattoo it carries. But the pet passport must be updated regularly. If you travel but fail to update an existing pet passport, it will also result in your dog being denied entry or exit from different states.
The microchip or tattoo is fitted once only, but vaccinations must be updated per your vet’s instructions, even if you don’t travel anytime again soon. Most vaccinations must be updated annually, but some states require rabies, in particular, to be updated more frequently. If you travel sometime after your dog’s pet passport was issued, but within the vaccination cycle, you will still have to get a new certificate of health issued, and deworming treatments must be updated.
In the USA a pet passport is the official documents and tags issued by a registered veterinarian. It is usually kept in the form of a booklet. There is no formal government pet passport document, but the documents must comply with USDA standards and regulations. There are no set standards for veterinary fees, and a consultation fee only can range from $50 to $110 depending on the practice. The cost of each vaccine ranges from$10 to $30, and a microchip or a tattoo will cost in the region of $45.
No house in a home without a dog, so if you’re relocating taking your dogs along is not negotiable. But no holiday house is a home without dogs either. How can you have a good time if your dogs are left behind? Here’s to safe travel, new homes and happy holidays!
- Serves as a Health Passport required by airlines for travel when signed by your Veterinarian
- Will serve as an accurate health record should your dog nedd medical care when traveling
- Perfect record for boarding or when a family member cares for your dog
- When planning a move this record smoothes your transition to a new Veteranarian
- Can aid in recovery if your pet is missing