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Pet Travel

Your pet can fly on its own

Your pet can fly on its own

Q: I have relocated to Los Angeles from Turin, Italy and want to have my dog come out to join me. Can I just fly him out or do I have to accompany him?

A: No, way, Jose!  You DO NOT have to fly all the way back to Italy just to fly all the way back to get your dog. And if your pet is over 11 inches tall or 15 pounds in weight, you can’t bring him or her in the cabin anyway.

deluxe in cabin pups

deluxe in cabin pups

The only option left is for your pet to travel in the cargo hold. Despite all the fears about pet cargo travel, millions of pets are shipped every year with great success. And it can be as cheap as $200. There are things you can do to maximize your pet’s safety when traveling air cargo.


United States does not quarantine healthy pets who meet the following requirements:

Your pet must be vaccinated for rabies and various other diseases at least 1 month prior to travel. Then your veterinarian will complete the United States Veterinary Certificate.

rbies vac

rabies vac

All domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry.

SCREWWORM: If the pet is arriving in the United States from a country that is infested with screwworm then not more than five days prior to entry the veterinarian in the country of origin must endorse that the pet has been inspected for screwworm and the results are negative. If this is not done then the pet will be quarantined in the US.

HAWAII & GUAM: Dogs and Cats arriving in Hawaii or Guam, both of which are free of rabies, are subject to that state’s/ territory’s quarantine requirements, and the following information does NOT apply.

Dogs Cats & Ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entering the United States. This requirement does not apply, however, to puppies less than three months of age or to dogs originating or located for at least six months in areas designated by the U.S. Public Health Service as being rabies-free.

rabies vaccination cert

rabies vaccination cert

A valid Rabies Vaccination Certificate should accompany the animal. This certificate should be in English or be accompanied by a translation in to English. It should identify the animal, the dates of vaccination, the expiration date of the rabies vaccine, and be signed by a licensed veterinarian. The rabies vaccination must be given at least 30 days prior to entering the US.

Pets taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. This means that U.S. residents returning to the U.S. might need to get a Certificate of Health from an international vet if you stay in the foreign country for more than 10 days.

Vet check

Vet check

Failure to comply with these regulations will mean that your pet may be refused entry and the relevant authority in consultation with an authorized veterinarian can decide to return the pet home, or place the pet in quarantine at the expense of the owner or natural person responsible for pet.

All other pets (birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits) are not subject to the regulations in respect of the anti-rabies vaccination but may have to meet other requirements as to a limit on the number of animals and a certificate to accompany them in respect of other diseases. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information.

All countries have a unique veterinary certificates. This form differs from the International Veterinary Certificate issued by veterinarians in the United States.

Find Veterinary Certificates for countries worldwide.

Although United States does not require an ISO pet microchip, we strongly suggest microchipping your pet prior to traveling. Many airlines insist upon it.

What You Can Do To Make It The Best Experience:



Choose your route carefully: If possible, select an airline that offers a non-stop route to your destination. It is always more stressful for a pet to be transferred to another plane. But if you have to, airlines like Lufthansa are great about making certain your pet gets where he needs to be. Another reason microchipping is so important.

Purchase a good pet crate: IATA regulations require a sturdy pet crate with adequate ventilation, waterproof bottom, spring locked door, disabled wheels, and no handles, except for smaller crates.



Size the crate generously: The airline rules for pet air travel require that your pet be able to stand up erect and turn around in the carrier. Give them room to stretch.

Use metal hardware! More and more airlines are requiring metal hardware instead of plastic fasteners to secure both halves of the crate. We strongly suggest that you take that extra step whether your airline requires it or not.

Cable tie the door: Adding cable ties to the door will add an extra level of protection for your pet. Although spring locks are hard to get open, it has happened, and the results can be serious.

Identification must be present and visible: Live Animal and Directional Stickers are mandatory. In addition, you should attach the following information to your crate in a plastic sleeve: name of pet, your name and cell phone number, any medical issues and a picture of your pet. You can also include your pet’s veterinary information.

Adequate Hydration: Your pet should be offered hydration prior to going to the airport. Your pet’s crate bowl [link to crate crock] should be filled and frozen prior to attaching it to the crate.

No tranquilizing: Tranquilizing a pet prior to pet cargo travel is very dangerous. Many airlines will not accept a pet who has been tranquilized. It is important that a pet’s breathing is not affected during flight and this is a common side effect in tranquilizers.

Your pet will not be stacked on top of suitcases. Airlines have special places for pets so that they will be protected from cargo and luggage. It is temperature controlled and pressurized just like the cabin.

airline pets

airline pets

Many of the stories that we hear about incidents during pet air travel could have been prevented had the pet owner had taken the necessary precautions for their pet’s safety. Give your pet the best chance to arrive safely by taking these steps in advance of traveling in the cargo hold.

we're ready!!!

we're ready!!!

Go to www.bt-store.com if you have any more questions about booking your pet’s  flight!

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