i always knew i was destined for an international, jet setting lifestyle. after a year of getting comfortable with flying, having traveled to miami, san francisco, los angeles and even texas, we decided it was time to bring the bean overseas. the first step to my overseas journey was a trip to the vet (i know, ew).
we got tons of questions in italy and at home on how i traveled and what was required, so i thought i'd do a quick explainer.
my vet started our appointment by accessing the USDA department official international travel requirements on their computer to discuss the specific needs for our trip. we were planning our trip to italy and found out the requirements were an up-to-date rabies vaccine, a microchip and a health certificate issued & signed off by your vet AND the USDA within 10 days of travel. (note that the rabies vaccine not only must be current, but if you are out of date, must be administered 30+ days before you travel.)
our vet was kind enough to overnight the docs to the USDA who promptly returned them via overnight shipping.
we also rented our own microchip scanner. i'm a little older then some other dogs and my microchip is an older version that is not ISO compliant. it's 9 digits vs. the required 15 digits, which basically means not all EU scanners can read it. the point of the microchip is to ensure that the dog you say you are bringing into the country is the same as the one registered in the papers. having our own scanner was a preventative measure in case someone's scanner didn't work at customs.
we made a decision to fly on a us based airline and ensure the airplane itself was a us carrier. this is because we've flown this way so many times domestically and knew it would not be an issue. plenty of people fly international air carriers and bring pets without any issue, just make sure you review all of their guidelines and speak to customer service well in advance.
we also made the choice to not do any layovers and to fly direct. we didn't make this choice because dogs can't fly on international carriers, but more since it was our first time going international, we wanted to keep it simple.
for the many people who asked, i'm totally unphased by flying. i particularly love a red eye bc i just go to sleep and ignore it. i feel safe and secure in my carrier and even hang out in it at home sometimes. if your dog is not good at flying, i don't recommend overseas travel.
we called to pre-register me for the flight in advance of traveling. note: your human will NOT be able to check in online if traveling with a pet. they require you check in at the airport to review your papers, so allow extra time.
customs & papers
upon checking in for our flight, we arrived in italy and got to passport control, where the immigration officers stamped the human's passport and looked through my papers. they quickly waved us through without any incident or question. in our case, no one asked to see papers again until we were flying home and checking in at the airport. we declared that lady human was traveling with an animal upon arriving at customs in new york and the customs officers checked my papers again. and that was it! in and out of italy with no issues.