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Traveling to the United States with Pets

Bringing a pet along on an airline flight can be a hassle but it does not have to be if you know the rules and regulations, especially if you boarding an international flight. All animals coming into the United States are subject to specific wildlife, agricultural, quarantine, and health requirements and that includes all domesticated species. To make sure your trip goes smoothly you should learn about the various regulations that govern traveling with pets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has regulations in place for travelers bringing along pet cats and dogs. Travelers must present these animals for examination to ensure they are free of any diseases that are transmittable to humans. All dog owners must show proof of vaccination against rabies when arriving from countries where the disease is present. Some wildlife species of dogs and cats are on the endangered species list. Owners of these animals must obtain a special federal permit.

A dog arriving from a country where screwworm is present must have additional paperwork to prove it is disease free. In general, this paperwork is not necessary for service dogs but travelers should contact the specific airline as well as the Transportation Security Authority to inquire about any special requirements.

The import of most rodents is permissible. However, the CDC prohibits bringing in certain rodents from Africa due to a monkeypox outbreak in the United States. These include mice, porcupines, dormice, rats, and squirrels.

Certain species of animals are restricted, some based on their point of origin. Hedgehogs from New Zealand are prohibited but those from other countries are permissible if entering in specifically designated ports. Monkies of all types are banned under all circumstances, while certain restrictions apply to turtles.

There are no restrictions for flying to the US with a variety of other types of small pets. These include ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Owners should know that these animals must appear healthy upon arrival in the US. If the animal appears unhealthy, it will have to remain under quarantine at the expense of the owner.

Traveling with a pet can be a joy as long as you do your homework first. Be sure to check with the airline and the appropriate governmental agencies before flying with your pet to inquire about any special restrictions. Learning the rules ahead of time will ensure that you are prepared when you arrive for your flight.

More information at: Traveling with Pets