Ready to travel with an animal?

If you do any type of travel with your pets, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate documentation for intrastate, interstate or international travel.  But paperwork is only one piece of ensuring you are prepared.  You need to understand the rules and laws around how to secure the animals.  Let’s break this down for you.

First, we highly recommend checking out the awesome resources on for import requirements by each U.S. state (State Resources Map).  This is a great place to start to see what is required to transport animals into each state in the U.S.

Next, understanding what the various documents are is important to making sure you have the right paperwork.  One of the most critical is the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI).  The CVI is the required document for traveling interstate (between states) and sometimes is required to transport even within the state.  You’ll often hear this referred to as a Health Certificate or Health Cert but always make sure that the legal document is the one that you obtain to ensure you are covered.  Certificates of Veterinary Inspection are government documents that are filed with the State Vets and are highly regulated to ensure the import of animals is traceable in the event of an outbreak of disease.  The signing veterinarian on a CVI is attesting that they have inspected the animal in person and that in their professional opinion the animal does not have any contagious or communicable diseases.  They are good for 30 days from the signature and are required by the airlines and volunteer rescuers alike.  You can get a CVI from your local vet from around $25 and up and you’ll need to keep your copy to prove that it was completed if requested.

Some states also require proof of rabies or other vaccinations so be sure to check which states you’re going to and THROUGH to make sure you have the right documentation and that you allow yourself enough time to have the animal checked out.  Some states do not require specific forms if you are transiting through and not adopting the animal out in their state, while others require quarantine of the animals at approved facilities.  About the only thing you can be sure of is that you need a CVI but there might be more requirements for that particular state so do your research.  We strongly recommend that you do your research and not rely on what “someone told you” in order to ensure you are doing things the right way.

Many people think that if they have a CVI that they’re good to go.  But there are other regulations and rules that must be adhered to for animal transport.  The United States Department of Agriculture produces the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations Blue Book which explains this in much more detail.  The Blue Book covers things like the size of the enclosure as compared to the size of the animal.  How often food and water must be be given to the animals and how to measure the airflow of your crates.  Sometimes people do not realize that these are laws regarding how long you can go without getting the animals out of their enclosure (8 hours) to get a chance to stretch their legs so make sure you read up on these to stay in the know.

Safe transport for pets and people is important.  And nowadays animal rescue relay transport is becoming more popular than ever before so making sure you follow the rules and standards will help make the journey safe for both of you.