Travelling internationally with your Assistance Dog
Most people when travelling internationally, never have to think about anything beyond human requirements.
However, travelling with an Assistance Dog means we have extra obligations to consider – some bureaucracy before, during and after we travel. This bureaucracy can take months so leave plenty of planning time for your trip.
Leaving our dogs behind – because the process is too hard, long or unclear – is like leaving our eyes, legs, ears, safety or security behind.
Not OK! We hope TravelPaws simplifies the experience.
Have the conversation
It's not enough to just read your travel obligations on official websites. You need to have a dialogue with all Quarantine Authorities, as your requirements depend on your unique circumstances and because it's bloomin' complicated! Email or phone them.
We don’t want to put our pups at risk, so understanding any travel obligations is critical.
If you are one of those countries that does not have strict quarantine laws -lucky you!
However, the country you are travelling to may be different, so read on…
What's on this page
Below you will find:
an explanation of terms that we use on TravelPaws
why the "Quarantine Process" is important
who to contact before your trip
paperwork that you need to take with you
further reading on TravelPaws
A small child sits with his precious teddy (phew! ! don't have to go without teddy!)
Breaking through the jargon
First, establish your eligibility to travel with an Assistance Dog as both defined by your own country and your destination’s quarantine process. Most countries require that institutions for Assistance Dog training are members of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) or Assistance Dogs International (ADI). Alternatively, your dog may need to be accredited under a law that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability. Regardless, you will be asked to provide evidence of this.
There is no agreed upon name that describes the entire bureaucratic ordeal involved with travelling with your Assistance Dog internationally. Countries have different terms and requirements. For simplicity, we refer to all of this as that country's “Quarantine Process", which may involve:
Vaccinations and testing
Permit checks and;
Here at TravelPaws we try to minimise the clinical language that Government departments use. For example, Governments may refer to travelling with your Assistance Dog as “importing and exporting a live animal”. Really?
Why is the Quarantine Process important?
Only once you have a dialogue with a Quarantine Authority can you be sure of your particular Quarantine requirements. The country's regulations can change (eg: disease outbreaks).
When travelling overseas, dogs can encounter diseases for which they have no immunity, so we need to protect them.
The quarantine requirements are designed to protect human health also.
The process can change from time to time (due to disease outbreaks for example) so make sure you refer to the latest information from all relevant Quarantine Authorities.
Who do I need to contact BEFORE booking my trip?
Check home first
You may need to follow your own country's quarantine requirements first (not just your destination's) which could involve obligations before, during your travel, and after you've returned home.
Establish all these obligations BEFORE you travel.
Check with home quarantine first!
It’s easy to launch into trip planning with the destination first in mind – People without an Assistance Dog do it all time. However, if your own country has strict quarantine controls, you may have to fulfil their requirements first in order to return.
If this is the case, your Quarantine Process will vary depending on the country you are visiting. The process may involve obligations before and during your travel, and after you’ve returned home.
Home Quarantine and Destination Quarantine Authorities
You may need to communicate with both your home Quarantine Authority and your destinations’ before your trip. If both are necessary, one Authority will not manage the entire process for you. It is not a one stop shop unfortunately. Again it is better to email or phone and check.
Don't forget to confirm that all Quarantine authorities can meet your arrival and departure time BEFORE you book. Then email and confirm just before you fly.
You may be required to complete some quarantine processes before you even travel, and they could be out of the order you expect.
As an example, you may need to complete your quarantine process in the following order:
Process for Returning home (your own country's Quarantine Authority)
Process for Arriving into your destination (destination's Authority)
Process for Leaving home (your own country's Quarantine Authority)
Process for Leaving your destination (destination's Quarantine Authority)
If you have multiple countries in your itinerary, you will need to discuss your requirements with every country's Quarantine Authority. Be mindful every time you cross a border it will have Quarantine implications, even if you met those requirements earlier in your trip.
For example, if you are visiting the UK, and Continental Europe is part of your itinerary, the UK will require a quarantine process both from your home country AND from Continental Europe if your return trip home is via UK. If however, you started and ended your trip in France, you would only need to go through the UK quarantine process once. This will save time and money.
Finally, you must also check with your airline or cruise ship before booking anything, as they may have additional requirements. These usually have a lead time of several days/weeks and relentless paperwork so anticipate this. Until we campaign for change!
There is a lot of paperwork involved in quarantine; a lot of repetition. But it just goes with the territory I'm afraid! Hints:
Take copies of everything with you
Double check everything your vet writes on certificates and permits (both at home and overseas) as mistakes aren't tolerated. This goes for treatments given as well.
On your travels, make sure you keep the paperwork required to bring your dog home
Have paperwork handy to show at any point but only surrender paperwork when you are sure you won't need it again (otherwise insist on a copy)
More on TravelPaws
A-Z Country Directory
Contains information and links we have brought together from Government and other official websites, to help plan your trip with your Assistance Dog.