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Health Certificates


Health Certificates 

What are your summer vacation plans? If you are planning on traveling with your pet you will likely need a pet health certificate. Never heard of a health certificate for your pet before? Not sure if you need one? We will go over in detail what you need to know about pet health certificates. 

What is a pet health certificate? 

A pet health certificate is an official document that your veterinarian fills out after performing a thorough exam on your pet. The document certifies that your pet is disease free and lists all the vaccines your pet is up to date on. It also includes detailed information about your pet such as age, breed, and microchip information. You can only obtain a pet health certificate from a licensed, USDA accredited veterinarian. If you need a Health Certificate for travel, be sure that your veterinarian is also USDA accredited. All our veterinarians are USDA accredited. You can go to the APHIS website to search for an accredited veterinarian in your area  

Do I need a health certificate to fly with my pet? 

Yes, just about every commercial airline will require a pet health certificate (one for each pet) that is to be on a flight. Airlines will vary with the time frame in which a health certificate needs to be obtained for your pet. While you are in the planning stages of your trip, contact your airline to see if you will need any other paperwork completed in addition to a health certificate. Some airlines have their own forms that will need to be filled out in addition to a health certificate. 

What about driving from state to state? 

Even if you are taking your own car on a road trip from Arkansas to another state, you may need a health certificate for your pets. The requirements vary from state to state. For example, all pets entering Arkansas must be accompanied by a health certificate. However, in other states, pets are not required to have a valid health certificate to cross state lines but need proof of vaccination. Without a current health certificate, owners could be fined hundreds of dollars. To check to see whether or not a specific state requires a pet health certificate for entry, use the United States Department of Agriculture website to see what will be needed for traveling from state to state. 

Do I need a health certificate for traveling within my state? 

If you are staying within your state and you are driving, you do not need a health certificate issued for travel. However, it is recommended that you have proof of current vaccination for your pet as a precaution. If your pet has medical conditions, it is also important that you inform your veterinarian of your plans to travel so that they can discuss any issues or precautions you may need to take. 

What about my service animal? Does he need a pet health certificate too? 

Yes, even service animals are required to have a health certificate for travel. States do not make exceptions for service animals. 

What about for traveling with my pet to another country? 

Traveling with pets to another country also requires a health certificate. Some countries require additional forms to be filled out by your veterinarian. There are countries with very strict requirements for animals to enter (like specific vaccines and blood tests). Traveling to another country may take months of detailed planning. Luckily, the United States Department of Agriculture website is an excellent resource to find out specifically what you may need in addition to a pet health certificate in order for your pet to reach his destination. 

What do I do if I’m not sure if I need a pet health certificate? 

If you’re not sure you will need a health certificate, call us today to discuss your travel plans with one of our staff members. We will be happy to help determine whether or not you will need a health certificate for your four-legged travel companion. Also, if you are still in the planning phase of your travel plans it is a good idea to look at the USDA website to see if there are additional requirements for your pet to travel.