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Tips for international pet travel

Taking your pup on any kind of trip has its challenges—taking them to another country seems like a major task. While it does take research and planning, it’s not totally daunting to take your dog abroad, on what could be the trip of a lifetime. It’s important to know how to prep, what to bring, the best places to go and what to do when you’re there.

Before You Go

The CDC suggests getting a nice head start when lining up everything for your trip—so, here are some tips to keep in mind long before you have to pack your suitcases.

  • Pick your airline. Determine documents you’ll have to have for your pet before boarding. Use several comparisons for reference, as everyone is different. People Magazine reported that despite everchanging rules and regulations, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, TUI, Thomas Cook, Turkish Airlines, Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Europa and Vueling are the all-star lines to go with when flying with pets. EasyJet, Emirates, Flybe, Ryanair and Balkan Holidays got two paws down, and others don’t allow pets at all.
  • Gather destination information. Identify the requirements of the country you are going to—Costa Rica, France, Switzerland, Canada and Italy are a handful of destinations that welcome animals. Tip: The USDA has a convenient search tool, so you can easily find a country’s regulations when bringing a pet.
  • Head to the vet. Get all the vaccinations, blood tests and documentation you’ll need for the trip. They can also be very useful for identifying any other steps you should take. You’ll want to be sure your furry friend is in tip top shape for the journey.

Things to Bring

  • A comfy pet carrier. You’re likely going to need some kind of carrying device while on a plane or at certain hotels. Pick one that’s comfortable, and work to get your pet used to it far before it’s time to fly. You can find a list of airline approved pet carriers here—some are even soft and cozy.
  • A comfort item. Bring something with a familiar smell, like a small toy or blanket. This will give feelings of security in a strange place.
  • Documents. Maybe a bit redundant, but highly important.
  • Medications. Be certain you don’t leave detrimental meds behind!
  • Leash. We know, another given. But you’ll want a good leash that your baby is comfortable with.

While You’re There

Since at this point you’ve already researched what is expected of you and your four-legged baby, here are a few more things to consider.

  • Keep all documents on hand. Repetitive, but very important: You should always have documents ready to present at any given time. See how the Figo Pet Cloud can help you keep your important pet docs near.
  • Know where the nearest vet is located. Anything can happen, so know where the nearest animal clinic is at your chosen destination. Be sure they are qualified and that they would be a good choice if an emergency were to arise.
  • Ask hotel reps for advice. Managers and attendants at your chosen accommodation will likely be able to give you all the details on which restaurants are delicious, and if they accept pets or not.
  • Use the leash. A leash is not only typically a rule, it’s a safety precaution for your baby. Remember, this is a new place, and animals can get scared and run off, so by keeping them close via leash, you’re simply protecting them.

Okay, enough with all the technical stuff. Taking your pet abroad is a special thing, and you should both have fun! Once you’ve taken all the precautions, kick back, relax, and take some seriously awesome Instagram shots.

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to bring your pooch along on your travels, here are some pet friendly cities—worldwide—to consider. These cities are ready to welcome you and your fur baby!


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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