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International Travel Service Dog Regulations

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Service Dog Regulations & Traveling Internationally

Are you planning a trip with your Service Dog to another part of the world? Before you show up at the airport, or even before you book your flight, there are some important regulations and rules you will need to know when traveling with a Service Dog.

Service Dog Health Requirements

Of course, you will want your Service Dog to be at optimal health before traveling. But aside from that, every country has specific regulations when it comes to entering with a foreign animal.

Due to the risk of rabies, It is advisable to start preparing your Service Dog six months before your date of departure to avoid having your dog quarantined.

During this prep time, your dog should have an ISO microchip (this International Standards Organization is a 15 digit number that is accepted worldwide). If your pet does not have an ISO microchip, you can opt to have one implanted or to carry your own scanner.

Your dog may also be required to have two rabies titers before departure. This is essentially a test done to gauge your dog’s immune response to rabies (either through exposure to the virus or through vaccinations). Other blood work may also be necessary depending on the individual area’s regulations.

Service Dog Documentation Requirements

Even though your canine companion is a Service Dog, you will need to carry some important documentation with you when you travel out-of-state. This may include:

  • Health/rabies records, and microchip documentation from your veterinarian. These documents should also be notarized then certified by the U.S Department of Agriculture.
  • A “good health” letter from your veterinarian stating your dog is healthy. This must be written on your vet’s own letterhead to be accepted.
  • A letter from your health care professional stating that you require the assistance of the Service Dog.
  • Outfitting your Service Dog with the proper identification gear like a vest or special harness.

It is also recommended that you contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to find out if they have any bans on particular breeds of dogs. Also, you should call the Department of Ministry of Agriculture in the country you are planning to visit to ask about quarantine policies of incoming animals.

Lastly, have all your documents translated into the native language of the country you are planning on visiting. This helps cut down on the confusion if you are dealing with a non-English speaking individual.

Service Dog Requirements for Common International Destinations

Labrador Retriever in Paris

Although each country and region of the world have their own policies when it comes to Service Dogs, we’ve gathered the information you will need to know for some popular vacation spots.

  1. Mexico Service Dog Travel Laws

To enter into Mexico with your Service Dog, you must have;

  • Proof of rabies vaccination at least 15 days prior to entry. Will accept a 3-year rabies vaccination entering from the US or Canada.
  • Proof of treatment for internal and external parasites within the last 6 months
  • Health certificate from your veterinarian. This can be a template printed on their own letterhead. The second option is a USDA-accredited vet can issue the APHIS form 7001 or if traveling from Canada, the Canada Export Tri-Lingual Veterinary certificate can be used.

Mexico does not require your Service Dog to be microchipped; however, it is strongly recommended.

Costa Rica Service Dog Travel Laws

To enter into Costa Rica with your Service Dog, you must have;

  • Rabies vaccination must have been given between 21 days to one year of entering Costa Rica. They will also accept a 3-year rabies vaccination. The dog must enter into the area at least 30 days prior to the vaccination’s expiration date.
  • The Veterinary Certificate for Costa Rica must be filled out within 14 days of entry. An alternate copy translated into Spanish is also required. The certificate must then be endorsed by the State USDA office (United States) or the CFIA office (Canada).
  • If you are traveling from the United States, you must also obtain a USDA health certificate for your Service Dog which has been endorsed by the USDA office.
  • An import permit from your flight
  • Internal and external parasite treatment within the last 15 days

Your Service Dog does not need to be microchipped to enter into Costa Rica.

  1. Japan Service Dog Travel Laws

When traveling to Japan, be sure your Service Dog has these requirements;

  • ISO microchip or bring your own scanner
  • Advanced Notification Form must be filed at least 40 days in advance of import with the Animal Quarantine Service (AQS)
  • Rabies Blood Titer Test
  • Must have two rabies vaccinations (inactivated or recombinant) within one year of entry
  • A Japan Health Certificate filled out by an accredited veterinarian within two days of entry.
  • Recently treated for both internal and external parasites

Note that Japan does require a quarantine period for all animals entering the country.

  1. Hong Kong Service Dog Travel Laws

Before you travel to Hong Kong, the following requirements must be met for your Service Dog;

  • Microchipped with either a 9 or 15 digit code (you may also bring your own scanner)
  • Import permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
  • Rabies vaccination dependant on which country you are traveling from
  • Certificate stating where the animal has resided (length of time dependant on country you are traveling from)
  • Veterinary Certificate for Hong Kong issued by an accredited veterinarian within 14 days of entry
  • Captain’s Affidavit stating your Service Dog did not leave or come in contact with any other animal during the flight.
  1. Philippines Service Dog Travel Laws

If you are thinking about traveling to the Philippines, these requirements must be met when concerning your Service Dog;

  • Import Permit/Veterinary Quarantine Clearance (good for two months)
  • Rabies vaccination within the last 30 days and no longer than one year
  • Additional vaccinations against canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, and canine parvovirus
  • Health/Veterinary Certificate
  • Treated for external and internal parasites within the last 48 hours
  1. France Service Dog Travel Laws

Do you want to travel to France with your service dog? Here’s what your Service Dog will need;

  • ISO microchip (or bring your own scanner)
  • Proof of current rabies vaccination
  • Rabies titer test
  • Health Certificate (dependant on country of departure)

Service Dog Regulations When Traveling Internationally – Do Your Homework!

When you are planning a trip outside of your country, it’s important to do your homework in regards to a Service Dog. Remember to start the process at least 6 months in advance so you will have the time it takes to obtain the needed documents. In addition, be sure to follow all the requirements to the letter to ensure you and your Service Dog will be allowed into the region.

Service dog rules also change from time to time, so it is important to research what the latest rules are well in advance so you can prepare.

Happy Travels!

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  1. Sheila Wallace says: August 30, 2022
  2. Gary West says: April 4, 2020
    • Amy B says: October 3, 2019
  3. Jesse Tate says: August 14, 2019
    • Dahlia says: June 20, 2020
  4. Fayrine Culpepper-Caesar says: June 16, 2019
    • Amy B says: October 3, 2019

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