Veterinarian-Issued Health Certificates for Traveling
Traveling with Cats and Dogs
When traveling within and beyond the United States with your pet, you'll need a pet health certificate to verify your pet meets all the health requirements of your destination
The majority of health certificates are valid for up to 10 days--though some are valid for longer--be sure to keep this in mind when you are selecting the date you schedule your appointment for, and schedule it as far in advance as possible to make sure we will be able to see your pet within a time frame that works for your travel needs.
Your pet will need to be fully vaccinated to travel, and there may be additional requirements for their health that your vet will discuss with you during your health certification appointment. It's important to make sure you know the requirements of where you're traveling specifically so that we can help you most efficiently get your ducks in a row.
Before Your Appointment
Please follow the list below when preparing for your cat or dog's health certificate appointment:
- Review the requirements for pet travel to your destination
The requirements can be found through the USDA Pet Travel website. Companion Animal Hospital's role is to complete the certificate and provide the vaccines and shots required but, it's your responsibility to understand the requirements and make sure they are met in the correct time frame for traveling.
- Contact your airlines
You have to inquire if the airlines have any more travel requirements, including specific vaccines or forms that need to be completed.
- Call the hospital to make an appointment.
International health certificate appointments will take 1 hour per pet. National health certificate appointments will be 30 minutes (except for Hawaii, which is also 1 hour). Most health certificates are valid for 10 days and take 1-3 business days to be processed by USDA, so make sure to plan your health certificate appointment and travel date accordingly.
Please also complete and return this questionnaire before your appointment to help your pet’s medical team better prepare for your visit.
- 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
- Health Certificate Form
- 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 Companion Animal Hospital 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
At the appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive exam to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and fill out the Health Certificate.
You must then submit the completed certificates to the USDA office in Albany, NY. Processing time usually takes 1-3 business days.
When the certificate is finalized, you can either pick it up in person or it can be mailed to your address overnight. If you would like to have the health certificate overnight mailed to you, you can purchase a pre-paid self-addressed overnight shipping label from FedEx.
Our Groton veterinarians are here to help facilitate the pet travel process and to fill out the required forms; however, it is your responsibility to make sure all the travel requirements are met- so we ask that you come to your appointment prepared!