How To Take Your Pets from India to USA – A Complete Guide

Have you ever had to go on a holiday and wondered why you couldn’t just take your darling dog with you? Imagine the situation if you were relocating from India to America, having landed your dream job, and you don’t know how you could possibly give away the little furry baby you had been bringing up with so much love.

If you are wondering whether it is a good idea to bring your pet along, you are not alone. Dog ownership in India has been on the rise, with data published by India International Pet Trade Fair stating that between 2006 and 2011, an average 600,000 pets were adopted each year.

Well, India is a country that has traditionally been close to nature, and this love of animals and the need for companionship comes as no surprise. The problem only arises when you have to relocate and are in a dilemma about whether to bring along their faithful companions.

Seeing this dilemma being faced by some close friends, I realized it was time I did my research and gathered information about the process of bringing animals (sorry, I didn’t mean to call your babies animals) into the US.

Which Flights allow pets?

Thankfully, there a large number of airlines, including Air India, that accept pets on their flights. This doesn’t mean that the seat next to you will be occupied by your dog. All pets need to be properly crated and accompanied by valid health and rabies vaccination certificates, entry permits and other documents, to be allowed on international flights. However, the documents required can vary from airline to airline.

Do know that there are rules about allowing certain types of pets on board. For instance, under no circumstances can pets such as African rodents, bats, nonhuman primates and civets be imported as pets. Even if they are, they will be stopped at the customs check point and excluded from entry into the United States. They will need to be sent back to their country of origin.

Impact on Pets during travel

As a responsible pet parent, you should know that a flight can be extremely stressful for them. There is evidence of pets falling ill due to the stress of a prolonged international journey. Pets need to be trained for months in advance of the relocation. This helps them get familiarized with their crate. This can be achieved by keeping food, toys and water in the crate, and making them move in and out of the crate as they wish.

If you feel that it will not be convenient to take your pet on a flight, you can seek the help of a pet relocation service, although their charges might be prohibitive.

Paperwork for bringing pets to USA

America is extremely strict regarding the importation of cats and dogs. Entry of these pets is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country would not want any animals, including puppies and service animals, that are infected with rabies to enter their territory.

This is why the regulators ensure that all pets entering the country are healthy and vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before arrival, by making sure that dogs that travel to the United States have a current and valid rabies certificate.

The certificate should include details like the breed, sex, age, and color of the dog, name and address of the owner, date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information, expiration date of vaccination, etc.

In the US, dogs are also inspected for certain screwworms, a parasitic fly known to infect dogs between one and five days prior to entering the United States, verified by the veterinarian’s certificate. Do take care of that as well.

All the best!

About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC's to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I've learned in life. This blog is read today, by more than 200K people world over! I'm basically from Kochi, Kerala and spend my time between Los Angeles and India. Here's my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). :)

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