Our hospital will remain opend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More or Call Us: 617-527-2222 Get Directions After-Hour Emergency Hospitals

Traveling with a Pet?

We want everything to go as smoothly as possible when traveling, especially with our pets! It is important to know that there is a great deal of paperwork and a multitude of regulations to navigate when choosing to travel with a pet. Please make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to research and plan prior to traveling since many requirements are time sensitive and require extensive paperwork and documentation. We cannot stress the importance of thorough planning enough.

Several veterinarians at Newton Animal Hospital are accredited by the USDA to sign Health Certificates for your pets as you prepare them for domestic and international travel.

What Is a Pet Health Certificate and How Do I Get One?

If you are taking your pet across state or international borders, a health certificate is required. The health certificate, or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, is an official document stating that your pet has been examined by a licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian and has been found free of communicable diseases or parasites, as of the day the certificate is issued. If a veterinarian is concerned that your pet has a communicable disease he/she will NOT issue a health certificate. Also, the certificate lists the current vaccine types and dates of administration. Different state and countries require different vaccines for travel. Some also require microchip identification which is also listed on the health certificate, blood testing, quarantine, or other specialized forms.

You will need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection specific to the country of destination, and some airlines also require an Acclimation Certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by a federally-accredited veterinarian. When you return home, your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that your pet did not pick up any diseases or parasites while traveling.

NAH’s Health Certificate Policy

Are valid for the same day of domestic travel health certificate appointments may be available, but you must schedule in advance to ensure you are able to see a doctor on the day of your choosing. Refer to our helpful checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and the other states. It is helpful to review this checklist PRIOR to making travel arrangements.

International travel health certificates are VERY complicated and time sensitive. We have created a checklist to help you prepare for international travel. There are two ways to prepare for an international health certificate examination:

As a pet owner, you are responsible for researching everything that you will need in order to travel with your pet. A veterinarian will examine your pet during your Health Certificate Appointment and will complete the forms that you provide. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide all proper and necessary paperwork and present a complete list of requirements for the country you are traveling to so that the veterinarian is able to complete the appropriate tests during the exam. Any misinformation provided to the veterinarian (such as the wrong destination address or not having proof of rabies certification) can cause a delay or prevent you from traveling with your pet.

Some documents are required to be overnighted to the USDA APHIS New York Office for endorsement prior to your departure. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and consider how office hours during the week as well as weekends will affect these strict time constraints. Some countries require quarantines or special tests prior to travel and these processes can take time.

As you can see, the procedure to complete a Health Certificate and all the related documents while meeting USDA requirements is very detailed, time sensitive, and specific so we ask for your cooperation, preparation, and patience so that we can do our part to ensure everything is completed before you travel.

Important Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Your Health Certificate Exam:

Make sure you provide us all appropriate paperwork at least 48 hours BEFORE your appointment.
Bring all the appropriate forms, records, and any pertinent documentation/information needed, otherwise you may have to reschedule the exam (which may not be possible if you are about to travel!). If your pet’s most recent Rabies vaccine was not administered at our facility you must bring your rabies certificate with you to your appointment.
Know your airline-specific requirements and standards.

Checklist for IN-Country Travel – DOMESTIC

  • Health Certificates for travel within the United States of America do not need to be endorsed by the USDA (except Hawaii).
  • Legally, all interstate travel requires a health certificate - this is especially important for flying.
  • Call the airline to find out their requirements:
    • Travel carrier requirements
    • Location of pet in plane
    • Sedation policy
    • Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
  • Demonstrate appropriate documentation of current rabies vaccination (some rabies vaccines are good for 1 year or 3 years).
  • Domestic health certificate examinations can be scheduled same day as travel with a USDA accredited veterinarian - but must be scheduled in advance.Keep a copy of your domestic health certificate with you while traveling.
  • Domestic health certificates are typically valid for 10 days when flying and 30 days if traveling by land.
  • If traveling to Hawaii, please see the USDA’s website for that state’s unique requirements.

Checklist for OUT of Country Travel – INTERNATIONAL

  • Research country requirements on USDA website: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel. Choose your destination country from the drop down menu to view travel requirements.
  • Call the airline to find out their requirements:
    • Travel carrier requirements
    • Location of pet in plane
    • Sedation policy
    • Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
  • Have definitive travel plans with specific locations and dates.
  • Verify if your pet will automatically be quarantined-this is based on the destination country’s quarantine policy.
  • Determine if USDA endorsement is required and endorsement fees/schedule.
  • Check on microchip requirement (some countries have very specific requirements for placement and type of microchip as well as timing of the implantation.)
  • Some countries require testing (titers for vaccines, parasite testing, etc.) and/or treatment (such as parasite treatments etc. ) prior to travel (at owner’s expense).
  • Be sure to have pet’s complete medical records for the USDA-accredited examining veterinarian. Don't forget the rabies certificate.
  • Health certificate examinations typically need to be within 10 days of travel. (Keep in mind the logistics of mailing documents for endorsements, office hours, weekends, etc.)

Contact Us

Newton Animal Hospital


602 Washington Street Newton, MA 02458

Clinic Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:30am-5:30pm
Saturday: 9am-1pm, Sunday: Closed