Boarding a United Airlines flight with a service dog

When deciding to go on a trip, whether for work, tourism, or even moving to another country, you may have many doubts about how to travel with your dog on an airplane for the first time.

On second thought, the question can be really confusing, as there is no specific Brazilian legislation, each country has its own health requirements and each airline has its own rules which usually vary between domestic flights and international.

And, as laborious as it is, each measure is very important as a precaution to maintain the well-being of your animal throughout the trip.

With that in mind, in an age when wildlife tourism is all the rage, making sure your best friend is not left behind is our obligation.

Basic rules for traveling with a dog on an airplane

The first thing you should keep in mind is that the rules for traveling with a dog on an airplane are completely different from those for guide or emotional support dogs. In this article, for example, we will only focus on pets.

As we have seen previously, the rules vary from company to company, however some measures are permanent.

When deciding to travel by plane, it is very important to reserve your pet’s seat on the flight, as seats are often limited and can take a long time to be confirmed, depending on the airline.

To reserve a space, companies charge a fee per segment, which can vary from company to company such as:

– Place of transport (cabin or basement)

– Flight model (if national or international);

– Size of the animal (small, medium or large).

– In addition, your dog must stay inside the kennel (animal transport crates) throughout the trip, even if he is allowed to accompany you in the cabin.

The good news about traveling with dogs in the United States is that some companies like United allow two pets to travel per passenger, as long as they are in the same kennel and of the same species.

To travel in the cabin, there is no maximum weight, however your dog must be comfortably seated in a compatible kennel under the seat. The company does not allow pets to travel in the hold, but offers the option of shipping your pet with United Cargo.

What documents do you need to travel with a dog on an airplane?

After checking each company’s rules and verifying where you and your 4-legged child will be traveling, documents are needed.

This way, so that you do not have any doubts about how to travel with your dog by plane, write down the documents necessary for traveling inside and outside the country.

Documentation on domestic flights

Traveling within Brazil is much easier. You will need to provide a vaccination record and a health certificate:

– Vaccination card

Here, you will need to have proof of vaccination against rabies, with the name of the producing laboratory, the type of vaccine and the number of the ampoule used. To be in order with your documentation, the vaccine must be applied at the vet for more than 30 days and less than a year;

– Health certificate

This document must be issued by a veterinarian no later than 10 days before the flight. The certificate must indicate that the animal is fit for travel.

International Flight Documentation

Here, things get a bit more complicated. To get a feel for it, the whole process can take up to 8 months and be complete for the trip.

Your pet must have an International Animal Health Certificate (CZI). Here in Brazil, the CZI can only be issued by a federal agricultural inspector (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply – MAPA), trained in veterinary medicine, from the International Agricultural Surveillance.

If your destination is the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela), you can opt for the Passport for the transit of dogs and cats, which attests the same things as the documents required in Brazil.

However, this Passport does not replace the need for an electronic identification of the animal (chip), which can be carried out in the units of the International Agricultural Surveillance System located in airports and for the issuance of the CZI on each trip.

Documentation for the United States

– Have the chip and dewormer always up to date;

– It is recommended to apply the Microchip on your animal (in a recognized and reputable clinic or veterinary hospital – so that the chip is valid – ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards). The microchip must be applied before the vaccine;

– Have your pet vaccinated against rabies (30 days in advance);

– Obtain a Health Certificate from the veterinarian responsible for your animal (with a maximum date of 10 days before the trip);

– Obtain the CZI (International Certificate of Animal Health) from the Ministry of Agriculture (with a maximum travel date of 10 days).

Documentation for Europe

To ship to Europe with your pet, you must have all the documents requested by the United States and more:

– COMPULSORY application of the electronic chip;

– Perform the anti-rabies serology (anti-rabies) (blood sample 30 days after the application of the anti-rabies vaccine);

– Send the serology to a laboratory approved by the European Commission. The only Brazilian laboratory accredited since April 2020 is the Center for Rabies Research at the University of São Paulo (USP).

– Sending the material to one of the laboratories across America that are still doing the exam (Chile, Mexico or the United States), or even in Europe. See the laboratories approved by the European Union;

– Wait for the results of the serology and quarantine examination for 90 days (3 months) to be able to travel.

Do you have to arrive earlier at the airport?

To board any airline, you need to check in your friend up to 3 hours in advance at the airport.

It is even recommended to arrive 4 hours in advance and carry out all the necessary procedures.

Thus, you do the whole procedure calmly and do not convey anxiety to your dog.

This is also a great opportunity for you to water your pet before boarding and take them for a walk outside the airport so they can do basic necessities before entering the area. departure from the airport.

After all, companies do not allow your pet to attend to the needs inside the plane, and for this reason, bathing the dog is recommended as the pet’s entry with strong odors is prohibited.

So even if your pet does everything before boarding, one piece of advice we give is to cover the kennel with a hygienic mat in order to avoid accidents.

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