Adopting and Transporting Pets Internationally

Humane Society International

  • Thank you for wanting to help an animal. Kathy Milani/The HSUS

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flights and space on flights may be limited. Please check with individual airlines regarding their current policies.

In response to requests for information on transporting a companion animal between countries, we provide the following information:

Please be aware that costs for transport of a dog or cat can range from USD $150 to $2000 or more, based on accommodation and airline. In addition, some countries have strict quarantine policies.

To do

To learn about quarantine policies, paperwork, vaccinations and other requirements, check with the appropriate agency (typically the Department of Agriculture) in your country.

  • For the United States. Effective July 14, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has temporarily suspended the importation of dogs from countries classified by the CDC as high risk for dog rabies AND countries that are NOT at high risk if the dog has been in a high-risk country during the previous 6 months. Dogs meeting either of these conditions may only be imported with advance written approval from the CDC. Visit the CDC website to learn more and how to request advance written approval.For cases in which this suspension does not apply: “commercial” transport, i.e., animals who will be sold or re-homed, visit the USDA -APHIS website. For animals who will not be sold or re-homed, for example, family pets or animals who will be received by the owner, then only Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements apply. Visit the CDC website. Note: Individual states may also have additional regulations. Search your state’s website for information on bringing animals into your state.
  • For Canada
  • For the United Kingdom
  • For Australia

Be sure to visit a local, licensed veterinarian to obtain a health exam along with the needed health certificates and vaccinations for your animal’s air travel and importation. Local veterinarians will also know where kennels can be purchased. Kennels make take some time to acquire, depending on the country. Specifically approved airline travel pet kennels are often required as well.

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Contact your airline ahead of time to ensure that it permits the transport of dogs/cats (and reserve a spot) and what requirements are for boarding. Reservations are often needed for your dog/cat’s travel.

Please check with your airline for the details of their specific policies. Keep in mind that there may be partner carriers (not just the airline with which you booked your ticket) and different airlines for different legs of your journey, so make sure you check with each of them. In some cases, there may be breed restrictions.

Things to consider before transporting a dog or cat

HSI hears from many individuals who, on their travels, encounter dogs and cats in poor physical condition, for example, with skin diseases or untreated injuries. Concerned individuals should be mindful that these animals may, in fact,have someone who looks after them. Veterinary services are often not affordable or accessible, and animals continue to reproduce without solution. Those wishing to help an individual animal in need of veterinary care are encouraged to contact a local animal welfare/protection organization (you can search for organizations by location here) or a local veterinarian.

The costs associated with international adoption and bringing a dog or cat out of a country are often cost prohibitive and logistically challenging. HSI recommends that individuals wishing to bring an companion animal into their home do so in their own country, and seek alternative means of helping animals in a foreign country. In many parts of the world, the cost of international transport for one animal could instead be used to provide spay/neuter services for a number of animals and/or offer humane education to help foster a culture of compassion. In the U.S., millions of animals are put down each year for lack of homes. If you live in the U.S., please visit Adopt a Pet and Petfinder to adopt an animal closer to where you live.

HSI has been developing culturally sensitive approaches to manage companion animal populations humanely and effectively, partnering with governments and local organizations so that our programs will be sustainable in the long term. These programs include veterinary training in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgery; mass sterilization; vaccination; and strong public engagement to change human behavior in relation to community and family animals. HSI also partners with veterinarians who understand the need for low-cost services. Our goal is to help as many animals as possible and see that lasting change is made. Please visit our Dog and Cat Welfare page to learn about our approach and programs.

Help further

Please support our life-saving efforts to help animals around the world.

  • Join our online community to receive news about animals and how to help them.
  • Donate to support our Street Dog Welfare initiative.
  • Learn more about our groundbreaking programs to improve the welfare of dogs and cats globally.

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