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What to expect during a vet visit before international pet travel

International pet travel can be a lengthy process depending on the country your pet is travelling to. There are several steps to the process, and each step has to be completed accurately for your pet to be able to travel.

One of the first steps in international pet travel is the vet visit. You will have to visit the vet multiple times during different stages of the process for vaccinations, health checks, documentation and more. If you are planning to travel abroad with your pet, make sure your vet is aware of your travel plans. An experienced vet will be able to help you through the process.

A vet visit is mandatory before travelling abroad; here’s what you can expect during a vet visit before international pet travel.

Overall health check

Before you begin your pet travel plans, visit the vet for a comprehensive health check. Let the vet assess your pet’s health to check if they are healthy enough to fly. Overweight pets and pets with underlying health issues can be vulnerable during the flight, especially if it is a long-distance flight. Work with your vet to address all health conditions before your pet travels abroad. The healthier your pet is, the more comfortable their travel will be. A healthy pet can withstand the stress of international travel with ease and will take less time to recover from the journey.


Your vet will check if all your pet’s vaccinations are current and up to date before travelling. Most countries worldwide require pet dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies and other common pet diseases before they travel.

The vaccination schedule for international pet travel is different for different countries based on the biosecurity rules and the rabies status of the destination country. Check the pet import regulations for mandatory vaccinations and discuss the immunisation course with your vet. Your vet will advise you on the best course of action and schedule the vaccinations according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Some countries require a rabies titre test or a rabies antibody test before travelling. This test checks your pet’s antibody response to the rabies vaccination and is usually administered 30 days after the vaccination.

Mandatory or core vaccines for dogs include Canine distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Rabies. Some countries like Malaysia require dogs to be vaccinated against Leptospirosis before travelling. Core vaccines for cats are Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Leukaemia Virus and Rabies.


One of the first steps of international pet travel is the microchip implantation. The microchip has to be implanted before the pet receives his or her vaccinations, and the vet should record the microchip number on all your pet’s documents correctly.

Most countries require a 15-digit ISO-compliant microchip. Your vet will be able to source the correct microchip and implant it in your pet. The microchip contains your pet’s details along with the pet parent’s contact information. When your pet is travelling, customs officials with a microchip reader can scan the microchip and retrieve the data. Make sure your contact details are updated on the chip manufacturer’s database.

The microchip is a tiny electronic chip; your vet will implant the chip under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. It does not cause any discomfort to your pet but is invaluable in tracing lost or stolen pets.

Treatment for external and internal parasites

One of the requirements for international pet travel is the treatment for external and internal parasites before travel. Most countries require the treatment to be administered within a few days of the date of journey, and some countries mandate multiple treatments before travelling. During your vet visit, your pet will receive treatments for both internal and external parasites according to the pet import regulations of the destination country.  

External and internal parasite treatments are essential before international pet travel. When your pet enters the country, officials will examine your pet for signs of ill health. In countries like New Zealand, even the presence of flea dirt on the pet warrants extra treatment and quarantine time, and therefore, it is best if your pet is completely healthy and free from parasites before travelling.

Health certificate and blood work

Before travelling abroad, your pet needs a health certificate with details of his or her vaccination, medical treatments and other information as required by the destination country. Some countries require blood work for diseases like heartworm and the rabies titre test. Your vet will draw blood from your pet according to the pet import schedule and send the sample for analysis.

Your vet will also draw up all the documentation required for the health certificate. Many airlines also require a health certificate from an authorised vet for the pet to be able to board the flight. The health certificate or the pet passport in Europe is your pet’s most important documentation, and your pet will not be able to travel internationally without the document.

General grooming

Your vet can help with general grooming before your pet cat or dog embarks on their pet travel journey. You can get their nails clipped, ears cleaned and give them a hair trim, if necessary, to keep them comfortable during the flight.

Contact the international pet travel experts

International pet travel is not as simple or straightforward as travel for people. The process is long, and every single criterion in the process is essential and has to be fulfilled accurately. An experienced pet travel agent can partner with you every step of the way and ensure a smooth and stress-free pet travel experience.

If you are planning to travel with your pet, get in touch with the experts at Petraveller for more information on international pet import regulations and a detailed pet travel itinerary.