Travel with Your Pet
A health certificate shows that your pet meets all the health requirements of the place to which you are traveling.
You will need to get your pet vaccinated and start researching the required tests your cat or dog needs for travel as soon as possible. The USDA-APHIS office states that veterinarian-issued health certificates have to be completed within an exact time frame based on the state’s or country’s destination requirements. Please remember that Hawaii’s health certificate requirements are very similar to an international health certificate.
You should also note that the majority of health certificates are only valid for up to 10 days. Be sure to keep this in mind when you are selecting the date for which you schedule your appointment, and remember that appointment slots often fill up days or even weeks in advance.
Before Your Appointment
Please follow the list below when preparing for your cat or dog's health certificate appointment:
- Review the requirements for pet travel to your destination
The requirements can be found through the USDA Pet Travel website. Diablo View Veterinary Hospital's role is to complete the certificate and provide the vaccines and shots required; however, it's your responsibility to understand the requirements and make sure they are met within the required time frame.
- Contact your airline(s)
You have to inquire if the airline(s) you're flying have any more travel requirements, including specific vaccines or forms that need to be completed.
- Call the hospital to make an appointment.
International health certificate appointments will take 1 hour per pet. National health certificate appointments will be 30 minutes (except for Hawaii, which is also 1 hour). Most health certificates are valid for 10 days and take 1 to 3 business days to be processed by USDA, so make sure to plan your health certificate appointment and travel date accordingly.
- What to bring to the appointment
- Your full name, current address and phone number
- The name of your travel destination (person, hotel, etc.), address and phone number
- The date your pet will be traveling, method of transportation and port of entry
- All previous records from other veterinary clinics
- Many health certificates need an original, signed rabies certificate and the exact date of microchip implantation. If these were not performed at Diablo View Veterinary Hospital and are needed for your pet's travel, you have to bring these forms and dates with you to your pet's appointment.
During Your Appointment
At the appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive exam to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and fill out the Health Certificate.
You must then submit the completed certificates to the USDA office in Sacramento and El Segundo, CA. Processing time usually takes 1 to 3 business days.
When the certificate is finalized, you can either pick it up in person or it can be mailed to your address overnight. If you would like to have the health certificate mailed, you can purchase a pre-paid self-addressed overnight shipping label from FedEx.
Our veterinarians are here to help facilitate the pet travel process and to fill out the required forms; however, it is your responsibility to make sure all the travel requirements are met — so we ask that you come to your appointment prepared!