Travelling abroad with your dog

Travelling with a dog is sometimes a necessity. Although it has become much more commonplace to see dogs in most public spaces, and many more places are making accommodations for dogs, it is still stressful to think about the idea of taking them everywhere. Other factors must also be taken into account, for example, the dog’s demeanour, flight length, etc.

Depending on which country you are travelling to, your dog may require a sort of travel authorisation or visa, and possibly a passport for your dog. Although it is common to have passports throughout the UK and Europe for dogs, it is not necessary in the USA or Canada, or Australia, however, they do have a certain set of rules for dogs to enter the country.

Travelling to the USA
According to the a rules at the CDC, the base requirement for your dog to travel to the USA is simply that it is over 6 months old and healthy. There will be an inspection by border patrol on your dog or dogs to make sure they look good, are healthy, have not suffered any injuries during the travel, and do not seem to pose a risk to other people or pets in the USA. Any documents you have for your dog must be shown, for UK and Irish travellers it is not a problem, but if you are from a non-English speaking country, you must provide certified translated documents.

High-Risk Countries
If your dog has been in a high-risk country in the last 6 months before the date of travel to the USA, then they cannot enter the USA. Most places in the UK and mainland Europe are considered safe and there is not much worry. However, countries that may not seem like actual high-risk countries might be considered high-risk by the CDC, such as Turkey.

If you have visited any of these places, or your dog is adopted from one of these places and is 6 months old, then you must make sure to arrive in one of the airports in the USA with a CDC quarantine station. If from a high-risk country, you will need to apply for and obtain a CDC Dog Import Permit. You should make sure to apply for this permit at least 6 weeks before travelling.

ESTA or visa for travellers
Most travellers headed to the USA definitely need either a visa or an ESTA. Which type of travel authorisation you need depends on your reason for travel. If you are moving to the USA for work, study, or living with your partner, then you will most likely need a visa. If you are travelling for a holiday with your dog, then an an ESTA is an easier option. You can apply for an ESTA online, whereas a visa will require trips to embassies or consulates, which can be time-consuming and quite costly.

Travelling to Canada
The rules for travelling to Canada are very similar to the USA. You must make sure your dog has been vaccinated and can provide the proper paperwork. Your dog must also appear healthy and must meet humane transportation requirements. When travelling with your pet, you must declare that it is your own dog and you do not intend to give them to someone else, foster them out, or breed or any other commercial purposes.

Inspection and fees
All dogs over 8 months old will have a document inspection just like in the USA. They will check the documents and the description of the dog to make sure they match. They will also check for injury or illness. The only difference is that Canada does not require that dogs or cats have microchip implants if they are personal pets. There are fees for these inspections. For a routine inspection with no complications, it will most likely cost under 100 Canadian dollars.

eTa Canada
If you are moving to Canada for business or personal reasons, you must obtain a visa for your travel. However, if you and your dog are simply travelling on holiday, then an eTA Canada is a perfect option. It is much easier to apply for an eTA Canada because it can be done online and only takes a few minutes to fill out the form. Luckily to travel to Canada your dog does not need any type of visa or travel documents for either the USA or Canada.

Travelling to Australia
Because of Australia’s ecosystem and already more complicated status as its own continent, travelling with your pet is decidedly a bit harder than travelling to the US or Canada. There are several biosecurity regulations that are rather strict. As for general rules, your dog must be at least 8 weeks old to travel, and cannot be pregnant or have recently given birth.

The UK and most of Europe are considered Category III countries. Dogs travelling from these countries need a valid rabies vaccination and microchip implantation. They also need a rabies test taken, will require mandatory vaccinations against hepatitis, distemper, and other diseases. Your dog must also have treatments administered against internal parasites at least twice before entering Australia.

Unlike the USA and Canada, Australia requires all dogs from Category III countries to undergo 10 days of quarantine in a special facility. The only airport that allowed animals from these countries is the Melbourne International Airport. From this airport the animals will be sent to a quarantine centre in Melbourne.

Australia visa
As for documentation, your dog will need an import permit and you will need an Australia visa. The import permit takes about 20 days to process and it is valid for 12 months after approval. Along with this permit, you must submit the rabies vaccination certificates, rabies test declarations and lab reports.

Obviously, because the rules for travelling to Australia are so rigid, taking your dog to Australia on holiday might not be your first choice, but things happen, and should you find yourself in this situation, you can simply use an eVisitor 651 type of visa for this. If you are moving to Australia for work, family, or a relationship, then you will have to choose the corresponding Australia visa necessary for travel.

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