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Are you prepared to move with your pet? Getting ready for that big move, whether it’s to a few states away or over an ocean, the Fort Belvoir Veterinary Clinic can help. Traveling with pets is not easy, but these suggestions may make the process smoother.

First and foremost, prepare early. This process can take a few weeks to many months to get the pets ready to travel. Once you know a move is coming, start researching your destination’s requirements for pet entry. Information about pet travel can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services website, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel.

There are different requirements for vaccination history and parasite treatment, depending on destination. Pets must be microchipped to ensure proper tracking, vaccination and treatments. Vaccines may need to be administered in a series, meaning multiple shots over a period of time. Pets may also be required to have a Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization test, to measure their response to the rabies vaccine, before traveling. Planning in advance can ensure all requirements are accomplished in the correct order and time, before travel.

Lastly, your pet will need to be examined close to travel date, but no more than 10 days ahead, to get a health certificate, verifying the animal is healthy. State-to-state travel requires a health certificate, sometimes also called a certificate of veterinary inspection. International travel requires a health certificate signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian and an APHIS veterinary medical officer.

If paperwork, vaccination or medical treatments aren’t finished in the required timeframe before the pet must travel, the animal must go through a quarantine process at the destination. Quarantine can last up to 6 months in a state boarding facility, with costs covered by the owner. Some country’s regulations require a home quarantine.