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Interstate Health Certificate For Pets

Please note that preparing for travel to some states can take months.

Pet travel to certain states can be time-consuming especially if your pet(s) do not meet the requirements. Before we start the process, you will need to read this information and then fill out the Interstate Health Certificate Questionnaire.

Interstate Health Certificate Form

Steps To Obtain An Interstate Health Certificate For Pets

  1. Determine when the pet(s) will be traveling and what the state of destination will be.
  1. Work with the Technician to determine the requirements for the destination state. Some states may require:
  • Timeframes that must be met for vaccinations, tests, and/or treatments
  • Import permits or other pre-travel approval
  • Extensive pre-travel waiting periods
  1. The health certificate must be signed by an accredited veterinarian after examining your pet(s) and determining that it is free of infectious diseases and satisfies all import requirements of the receiving state.
  1. Have the veterinarian issue the health certificate within the validity period set by the destination state.
  • The certificate validity period (the time frame a certificate can be used for your pet(s) to travel) will be stated on the health certificate.
  • To ensure there is time to complete the entire pre-travel process, APHIS recommends having the health certificate issued as soon as allowed per the destination state.
  1. Once the health certificate has been issued and signed by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian, finish any outstanding requirements.
  • Some states require special testing/blood work, tapeworm treatment, and flea/tick treatment. For example, special testing/lab work is required for traveling to Hawaii.
  1. Your pet(s) may travel!
  • Airlines may have separate and additional requirements. Check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have, if any.

Traveling With Your Pet FAQ

What should I think about when deciding to travel with my pet?

1. Make sure your pet is comfortable with travel. Some pets cannot handle travel because of illness, injury, age, or temperament. If your pet is not good with travel, you should consider a reliable pet sitter or talk to your veterinarian about boarding facilities in your area.


2. Make sure your pet has identification tags with up-to-date information.


3. Having your pet implanted with a microchip can improve your chances of getting your pet back if it becomes lost. The microchip must be registered with your current contact information, including a cell phone number. A tag is included when you have a microchip that has the microchip number and the mobile contact of the owner, so if the pet is found, they can use the tag to determine ownership without having to contact a veterinarian. Contact the microchip company for a replacement tag if you’ve lost yours, and for information on how to update your personal information when traveling.


4. If you are taking your pet across state or international borders, a health certificate as well as other documentation may be required. The health certificate must be signed by an accredited veterinarian after examining your pet and determining that it is free of infectious diseases and satisfies all import requirements of the receiving state, territory, or country.  International travel often requires USDA endorsement of the certificate.

5. Make sure that your pet is allowed where you are staying. Some accommodations will allow pets and some will not, so check in advance. Also, when traveling, you should bring a portable kennel with you if you have to leave your pet unattended.

Staying with Friends or Family: Inform your host that your pet will be coming along and make sure that your pet is a welcomed guest as well.

Staying in Hotel or Motel: Stay at a pet-friendly place. Some hotels and motels only accept small pets or pets under a certain weight; when making a reservation, make sure you inquire about the terms of their pet policy. Try to minimize the amount of time your pet will be alone in the room. When leaving your pet alone in the room, inform the front desk that your pet is being left alone in the room and place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Make sure the hotel/motel knows how they can contact you if there are any problems.

Staying at a Park, Campground, or Marina: Make sure these places are pet friendly, clean up after your pet, and always keep your pet on a leash.

Whom should I contact as I am considering travel arrangements?

  1. Your veterinarian
  2. Your airline or travel company
  3. The accommodations: hotel, motel, park, camping ground, or marina
  4. United States Department of Agriculture

What should I bring with me on my trip?

  1. Your veterinarian’s contact information.


  1. List of veterinarians and 24 hour Emergency Hospitals along the way and close to your destination.

To find a listing of Veterinarians & Pet Emergency Hospitals in the United States, contact:

  • American Animal Hospital Association Search
  • American College of Veterinarian Emergency & Critical Care


  1. National Animal Poison Control (ASPCA Website) 888-426-4435


  1. Identification
  • Current color photo of your pet
  • The ID tag should include the owner’s name, current home address, and phone number
  • Travel ID tag should include the owner’s local contact phone number, address, and contact information for your accommodations (hotel, campground, etc.)
  • The microchip registration should be updated with your current contact information including a cell phone number


  1. Medical Records. The microchip registration should be updated with your current contact information including a cell phone number


  1. Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate)
  • Proof of vaccinations (Proof of rabies vaccination required) and other illnesses
  • Requires an examination by a licensed and accredited veterinarian to make sure the animal is not showing signs of disease.


  1. Acclimation certificate for air travel. This is only required by some airlines, so check to see if your airline requires this.


  1. Items for your pet
  • Prescribed medications (adequate supply for the entire duration of the trip and several days’ surplus supply, just in case)
  • Collar, leash, and harness
  • Crate, bed, and blankets
  • Toys
  • Food, cool fresh water, and food/water dishes

Where do I get a certificate of veterinary inspection (health certificate) and acclimation certificate, if needed?

Many states require an up-to-date Certificate of Veterinary Inspection from a licensed, accredited veterinarian when traveling. Your pet must be examined by a veterinarian in order for a health certificate to be issued. This certificate basically indicates your pet is healthy to travel and is not showing signs of a disease that could be passed to other animals or to people. Certain vaccinations must be up to date for a health certificate to be issued.

You will need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection to travel and some airlines require an acclimation certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by a federally accredited veterinarian. If your veterinarian is not federally accredited, you will need to find an accredited veterinarian in your area.

Can I bring my pet out of the country with me?

Yes, but keep in mind that you have to follow both the United States regulations as well as the regulations in the other country to which you are traveling. Knowing the requirements before you travel helps you decide if you are going to take your pet or leave it at home, and prepares you for what to expect if you do take your pet with you. Talk to your veterinarian about the risks of disease to your pet and have your pet vaccinated appropriately based on the risks.

Can I bring my pet camping?

The same rules apply when taking your pet camping. Talk to your veterinarian about flea, tick and heartworm prevention as well as specific risks associated with camping outdoors, such as leptospirosis and other diseases. Keep your pet on a leash and in your sight; and be considerate of other campers. Clean up after your pet. Being outside, your pet can be exposed to many different wild animals like skunks, raccoons, snakes and other animals that can injure your pet or expose them to disease. Do not let your pet chase or come into contact with wildlife—it can be dangerous for both your pet and the wild animal.

Important Websites