How to Get an International Health Certificate for Your Dog

In our Woof Woof Travels episode on Finland, we were’t kidding when we said it took several visits to the vet before Woof Woof qualified to travel to Finland – or nearly any European country.

But you can drop your number of visits to with these tips:

1. Speed up International Health Certificate Approval by microchipping your pet now.

For European countries, any vaccines that were done before microchipping don’t count. Woof Woof had to wait 21 days after micro chipping to leave the country. If you’re not traveling for awhile ask your vet to microchip your dog on your next visit. Then any vaccines given during your vet visit.

2. Learn the rules now.

Every country may have a different rule on what shots and tests you may need and when they need to be performed. For instance, Woof Woof needed a dewormer within 10 days of his trip for Finland, but he didn’t need this test for Denmark. If he had not had this test, he wouldn’t have gotten to meet Santa in the Arctic Circle. Should any dog be denied that priviledge? Look up the rules for rules for pet travel for the country you are travel to on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, you can find the link and other helpful resources for pet travel on our resources page.

2. Fill out the international health certificate form slowly.

The problem with a form that has to be filled out so close to the travel date is that a mistake on the form can cost you valuable time, possibly the whole trip. So you don’t have to postpone your travels, fill out the form carefully and double check that you’ve filled out everything that was asked of you. Preferably, fill out the form before you leave the office, so you can have your veterinarian or an assistant help you insure it’s filled out. You will have to mail the form into a state department that may be in another city.

3. Send the form FedEx (or other overnight service recommended and don’t forget the return envelop.

The international health certificate generally has to be filled out pretty close to the travel date. If you decide to wait to send the form regular mail, you’re taking chances. Always both send it overnight and provide the prepaid envelop to send it back via the same method. Remember to always have a solid place for the certificate to arrive back to you. I was in canada when Woof Woof’s form was returned. I selected for the certificate to be sent to a FedEx pick up location for when I returned home.

Revisit your veterinarian if needed, and always check guidelines as soon as soon possible. The good news about the complications is that it’s because countries in the European Union are rabies free. Your dog will be safe, and they’ll be more traceable to get back to you if lost when microchipped.

Pet Friendly Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Express Tucson Airport

Whether it’s the first day or the last day of your vacation, sometimes you just need a hotel that’s close to the airport and offers everything you need for a restful stay from a shuttle to the airport to a great breakfast and a gym to workout afterwards. And of course, the warm welcome your dog or cat needs and deserves. That’s exactly where we’d place the Holiday Inn Tucson Airport.

It’s not a place to spend a whole vacation, but it’s a great place if you’re working at nearby offices or passing through Tucson for a day or two. For humans, there’s a pool and hot tub. The pet fee is reasonable at $25 per pet and works for the whole stay. All pets are accepted, so you can bring your dog, cat, ferret, parakeet, etc.

Woof Woof loved the free breakfast offered to all guests, and it was pretty healthy for him. He ate an egg white omelet and half a bagel. The room was comfy, but it was the staff that made his stay. He couldn’t walk the lobby without a staff member stopping to pet him

Pet Friendly Hotel Review: Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth

Portsmouth, NH is pure beauty with all the New England charm and colonial homes you’d expect. It’s situated directly on the water. Woof Woof loved smelling the sea air and walking across the bridge that within a mile or two led to Maine. It’s just an hour drive away from Boston and the same from Portland, Maine.

The Sheraton Harbourside hotel was just as charming as Portsmouth itself. Woof Woof had an array of room choices available to him from standard rooms to suites that are dog friendly. He was given a homemade dog treat made by the pastry chef, Lea. She offers them to all the canines staying in the hotel.

When Woof Woof entered the suite he stayed in, he barely sniffed it. He didn’t look at the view. He just gave an approving this-is-home-for-a-few-days look. He alternated his room time between the bed and a comfy couch while I watched TV.

With the exception of when we ordered room service, the lobby was much more interesting to him. The restaurant area is in enveloped by two curved staircases with pillars separating seating from the lobby. He loved climbing up and down the staircase. Marcia, who works in both the hotel and room service, brought Woof Woof extra slices of bacon.

When he retired to bed, he was grateful for the dog bowls the hotel provides for a few sips of water. Definitely a warm place for any canine visitor.