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Traveling Abroad With a Dog

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Have you considered taking your dog on vacation with you for your family break, but then thought “Pffft! Too much hassle!”

But it's your pet's holiday too, you know?

And it doesn't need to be too onerous a task, to dog your dog on holidays. But you do need to plan it out.

Traveling internationally with a pet, specifically a dog, is an exciting prospect but one that requires careful preparation and consideration. Many dog owners love the idea of exploring foreign countries and experiencing different cultures alongside their furry friends.


However, it’s crucial to understand the various aspects of dog travel abroad to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. From understanding airline policies to navigating country requirements and ensuring your dog’s comfort throughout the journey, there’s a lot to keep in mind.

Dog Travel Abroad

To begin, it is essential to remember that every destination country has its own set of regulations for dogs entering or being imported. High-risk countries or high-risk rabies countries, for example, may have more stringent requirements. You will certainly have to get them their rabies shot (dog rabies is a horrible thing!)

Pet Passport

In most European countries and within the European Union, a pet passport is required, showcasing your dog’s up-to-date health details, including a current rabies vaccination.


Other countries might require a rabies titer blood test or additional vaccinations. Be aware of the timing requirements for this; some countries insist on a 3 month delay before you can then fly internationally. A great resource to help understand specific country requirements is the Department of Agriculture’s website, where you can access information about various countries’ pet policies.


Health Certificate

To prepare for traveling with your dog, you should consult with your local veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy enough for overseas travel and flying internationally. They will be able to provide you with an international health certificate, also known as a veterinary health certificate, necessary for most countries and most international air transport association policies (that run the animal and plant health inspection service). This veterinary certificate will prove that your dog is up to date with vaccinations and is in good health, so you can travel with your dog internationally.


International Health Certificate

Be sure to double check the validity of these pet travel health certificates, as some countries require that they are issued within a specific timeframe before international travel.

Before you decide to take your dog internationally, it’s critical to research and understand airline policies regarding pet travel. Many airlines will require dogs to travel in the cargo hold, while others may permit them in the cabin if they meet certain size and weight restrictions.

The cargo area can potentially expose your pet to extreme temperatures and potential hazards. Therefore, ensuring your dog’s crate is secure, comfortable, and well-ventilated is crucial to reduce stress and avoid heat stroke during the flight.


Most airlines also demand specific requirements for the furry friend ‘s crate. It should comply with the International Air Transport Association’s standards, ensuring your pet feels secure and comfortable during the journey. The crate should also have a water bowl attached, and all relevant contact details should be clearly marked.

If you have a service animal, note that different rules apply, and most airlines would allow such dogs in the cabin. However, this would be on a case-by-case basis, so it’s best to check with the airline ahead of time.

Remember that your dog’s travel may not sync with your own, especially if they must be in the cargo hold or if a separate flight is needed due to specific airline restrictions. In such cases, you must ensure that all connecting flight details align for your dog to arrive safely at the final destination.

What Mode of Transport?

If you prefer to avoid air travel, consider options like a cruise line that has a pet policy. Some cruise lines do accommodate pets, making for a potentially less stressful travel experience for your pet compared to flying overseas.

For dogs imported into certain countries, a tapeworm treatment might be necessary, usually given by a vet before travel. Always ensure to double check these details as you plan your luxury dog-friendly holidays abroad.


Traveling internationally with your dog can be a rewarding experience if planned well. With careful preparation and by following the guidance of your vet, the Department of Agriculture, and the airline or cruise line, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for your four-legged companion.

Remember to consider all aspects of your travel, from ensuring your pet’s comfort during the journey to understanding the requirements of your destination country, to ensure a hassle-free travel experience.