International Pet Travel: 7 Common Mistakes

Are you a pet lover? And do you love to travel? Does your pet travel? If you’ve said “yes” to any questions, you might’ve thought of bringing your pet with you on your next vacation.

Now, traveling with pets is nothing new. In the United States, over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year. As a result, more is spent on travel to accommodate your pet. In 2018, the American Pet Products Association reported that $62 billion was spent on pets, with $6.2 billion on pet accommodations and grooming services. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see people traveling with their pets, especially abroad.


However, it’s important to note that the world isn’t 100% pet-friendly. As you plan your trip, you’ll need to create a laundry list of things you’ll need for your pet if you’re planning to take them with you. Here are some things to consider when it comes to traveling with your pet:

  • Your pet’s health and wellness
  • Their documentation
  • Their packing essentials (e.g., food, water, medications, etc.)
  • Something to carry your pet in (e.g., crate), etc.

So, if you plan to travel internationally with your pet, listen! Rather than leave anything to chance, you’ll need to know what mistakes to avoid before booking your next vacation.

Here Are 7 Common Mistakes People Make With International Pet Travel And How You Can Prevent Them.

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1. Stressing About International Pet Travel

First, stress is often a pet peeve for people. Conde Nast Traveler suggests that 25% of Americans often feel anxious about traveling. So, when bringing along a pet, it’s not surprising for someone to feel just as nervous.

While it’s common to stress about pet travel, you don’t have to feel that way. Like regular travel, traveling internationally with a pet can be just as daunting, especially since you’ll bring along a family member who needs your attention nonstop. Like children, pets require so much attention.

Therefore, it’s crucial to think about your mental health in advance. That means making sure that you stay optimistic about your travel. Otherwise, your pet will sense something wrong and then become stressed themselves. However, whenever you feel positive, your pet will follow suit.

Contact an accredited pet travel agency for further assistance in international pet travel. These agencies are responsible for making your and your pet’s journey a great experience.

2. Not Booking In Advance

Trips take time and planning for your vacation to go smoothly. You’ll need to book your pet’s travel in advance like any trip. Everything needs to be prepared ahead of time, from transportation to hotel accommodations, especially when bringing your pet.

In addition, consider the process of making your pet travel-ready. The process is time-consuming, depending on your desired destination. Some countries will have you wait 30 days after your pet gets a rabies vaccine. Or, in some cases, places will have you wait 180 days after that test.

So, when booking in advance, ensure that your pet has anything and everything that’s considered documentation (which we’ll discuss later in this article). Doing so allows you to plan accordingly during the booking process.

3. Not Reading Up On Pet Travel Policies

Airlines and other forms of transportation (i.e., buses, trains, etc.) have specific policies regarding pet travel. Therefore, reading up on these policies before planning and booking your trip is essential. The last thing you want is to be turned away on the first day of travel because transportation (say, an airline) doesn’t allow pets onboard.

Typically, pet policies may revolve around:

  • For example, having documentation, an emotional support letter, is often required for the USA.
  • She has the proper equipment (e.g., crates, leashes, etc.).
  • Further approvals from the vet, the government (of the country you want to go to), etc.

Now, remember that you have a right to dispute any policies you might have a problem with. If you have any other questions and concerns about the established policies, or if you see a policy that isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to contact the airline, train station, bus station, or any transportation service you plan on using. You can call or email in advance so that a representative can get in touch with you as soon as possible. You’ll prevent any embarrassment from being misinformed and turned away by voicing any concerns ahead of time.

International Pet Travel

4. Not Choosing A Pet-Friendly Destination

The good news is that many places in the world are pet-friendly. The bad news? If you don’t read up on just how pet-friendly a business is or show up to a place where pets aren’t allowed, you’ll be turned away and stressed about the whole situation.

Plus, think about the weather of the place you’d like to travel to. Many pet parents don’t consider what the weather will be like at their destination. Rain or shine, heat or snow, it’s essential to take note of the weather. Why? Because, like humans, pets react to the weather as well. For example, your pet will feel the same if you’re boiling in the sun. If you’re feeling cold, then so will your pet.

In addition, if you have relatives living in a different country, you’ll need to check with them before bringing your pet to their place. Your family members won’t mind your pet being there, but their government and authorities might tell you otherwise.

To prevent such embarrassment, do your research ahead of time. In other words, look into places that allow pets in their establishments. You’ll be surprised to see how many pet-friendly areas (e.g., dog patios, dog parks, etc.). Also, look at the weather reports on your travel destination, and ensure that you prep your pet for the rain, snow, heat, etc.

5. Not Securing The Right Documentation

Just as humans need a passport when traveling internationally. Similarly, pets also need documentation should you take them abroad.

Be sure to have the following documentation for your pet when traveling internationally:

  • A pet passport
  • Proof of vaccinations (i.e., rabies)
  • Endorsement from government veterinarian
  • Pet health certificate and insurance
  • Rabies titer test (for some countries)
  • Import permit, AND
  • Parasite treatment

Note: You may need an emotional support letter when traveling through America.

And, don’t forget to have your pet microchipped – an essential requirement for many countries. It’s also necessary to ensure that their microchip is up-to-date. The last thing you want is your pet to get lost while on vacation and the microchip to be out-of-date when filing a missing pet report. So, ensure that you update your pet’s microchip so that the inevitable can be tackled immediately.

6. Not Bringing Pet Food And Meds

Like people, pets need food and medications, especially when traveling. The last thing you want is to find your pet not eating because you can’t find food they like or have to find medical assistance while on vacation. Therefore, pack food, water, and any treats. As for medications, pack those as well, along with a first aid kit, if there’s a medical emergency.

Also, remember that eating, drinking, and taking medications can cause your pet to want to go to the bathroom. Therefore, make sure that they get regular bathroom breaks. Just as you would excuse yourself for a bathroom break during travel, you should do the same for your pet. When having your pet relieve themselves, ensure that they’re properly secured. Dogs need to be on a leash. You’ll need to bring a special cat litter box you can set up while traveling.

International Pet Travel (2)

7. Not Thinking About Your Pet’s Stress

Finally, keep in mind that pets can get stressed as well. Even when they’re being pulled from their routine at home, pets might experience the shock of going to a different place. This can lead to stress and unintended illness, and erratic behaviors.

Now, stress is especially a problem for dogs. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, these are tell-tale signs of dogs feeling stressed:

  • Pacing and shaking
  • Barking and whining
  • Yawning
  • Licking and drooling
  • Eyes or ears changing
  • Improper body posture
  • Panting
  • Shedding
  • Erratic bodily behaviors
  • Feeling displaced or avoiding things
  • Hiding, OR
  • Trying to escape

Notice how many of these symptoms are similar to how stress can take its toll on a human. Again, stress is no stranger to pets.

That’s why it’s essential to take things slow when introducing your pet to international travel or any travel whatsoever. First, start small. You can take them on short trips in the car. Eventually, you can take them on a day trip. Once your pet gets used to day trips, you can move them to week-long trips. After a while, you can take your pet with you aboard, and they’ll be comfortable with it.

Ultimately, it takes time and patience for your pet to be okay with international travel. So, there’s no need to rush!

BONUS: Have You Taken Your Pet To The Vet?

You may want to if you haven’t considered taking your pet to the vet before traveling.

Suppose your pet is sick before traveling; it’s a sign that they’re not ready for travel. If your pet appears ill, travel authorities will either quarantine your pet or turn you away. Don’t let this be you and your pet!

That’s why your pet needs to be checked out before international travel. It’s important to let your vet know about your traveling abroad so that if anything happens, you have someone to call. Plus, your vet will help you with obtaining the correct documentation. And, your vet will tell you about any underlying health issues (e.g., parasites, fleas, stress, etc.) that your pet might have.

Closing Thoughts

So, there you have it!

While there are many mistakes to be made, these seven are the most significant in international pet travel. The good news is that such errors can be avoided with common sense and love for your pet.

To recap, here are some things to consider when preparing your pet for international travel:

  • Don’t sweat it when preparing for the trip.
  • Book your travel in advance.
  • Read up on pet policies ahead of time.
  • Choose the right destination for you and your pet.
  • Provide the proper travel documentation for your pet.
  • Bring your pet’s food, water, and any medications.
  • Know when your pet is feeling stressed out.
  • Visit your vet before planning to travel anywhere with your pet.

So, before you travel aboard, avoid these mistakes, and have the best vacation with your pet. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your vet and your travel agency for more information about pet travel.

If you are looking for more travel hacks, start here.

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Author Bio

Sara Sparrow is a writer and editor at OX Essays and a Personal statement writer. She is also a contributing writer for Paper Fellows. She writes articles about traveling, lifestyle trends, and up-and-coming restaurants and recreational establishments as a content writer.

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