Health Certificates For Traveling Pets
Travel With Your Pet
Are you planning an upcoming trip? If your pet is coming with you, it's time to start preparing so your journey goes as smoothly as possible.
Your pet's health certificate certifies that your pet meets the health requirements — ranging from booster shots to microchipping — of the location you are traveling to.
Our vets at Colonial Park Animal Clinic understand all the requirements you and your pet will have to meet to obtain a health certificate, and the deadlines involved. We are also able to issue pet health certificates.
Before Your Appointment
When preparing for your cat or dog's health certificate appointment, please follow this list:
- Review the requirements for pet travel to your destination
The requirements can be found through the USDA Pet Travel website.
It's your responsibility to understand the requirements of the health certificate your pet needs for travel. It is our responsibility at Colonial Park Animal Clinic to work with you to schedule required vaccines and booster shots and to write out the certificate at the end of the process.
Note: You will need to get your pet vaccinated and start researching the required tests your cat or dog needs for travel as soon as possible. The USDA-APHIS office states that veterinarian-issued health certificates have to be completed within the exact time frame based on the state or country of destination's requirements.
Also, remember that while some health certificates are valid for longer, most are only good for 10 days. And often, certificates require vaccinations or boosters having been administered as early as 6 months before the travel date. Keep all of this in mind when selecting a date to schedule your initial appointment since slots fill up quickly
- Contact your airlines
It is your responsibility to inquire with the airline you will be using about whether they have any travel requirements, including specific vaccines or forms that require completion.
- Call the hospital to make an appointment.
The actual appointment for writing up an international health certificate is 1 hour per pet. If you are traveling within the United States, appointments will be 30 minutes (excluding Hawaii, which is also an hour).
The majority of health certificates are valid for 10 days after creation and will take anywhere between 1 and 3 business days for endorsement with the USDA. Make sure you plan your appointment and your travel dates accordingly.
- What to bring to the appointment
- Your full name, current address, and phone number
- The name of your travel destination (person, hotel, etc.), address, and phone number
- The date your pet will be traveling, method of transportation, and port of entry
- All previous records from other veterinary clinics
- Many health certificates need an original signed rabies certificate and the exact date of microchip implantation. If these were not performed at Colonial Park Animal Clinic and are needed for your pet's travel, you have to bring these forms and dates with you to your pet's appointment.
During Your Appointment
In the days leading up to your Travel Certification appointment, confirm that you have met all of the requirements for the state or country to which you are traveling.
When you visit the veterinarian with your pet for your appointment, your pet will have a comprehensive physical exam and the vet will review their medical history to ensure that they meet all of the criteria.
For pet owners in Pennsylvania, the completed health certificate must be submitted by mail to the USDA office in Harrisburg. Processing time usually takes 1 to 3 business days.
When the certificate is finalized, you can either pick it up in person or it can be mailed to your address overnight.
Our Harrisburg veterinarians are here to help facilitate the pet travel process and to fill out the required forms. It is your responsibility to make sure your pet meets all the travel requirements.
It's imperative that you come to your appointment with us fully prepared!