If you have an emergency service dog due to an emotional or physical disability, such as depression or blindness, you'll want to have it with you whenever possible. While it's fairly easy to take your beloved companion on a road trip or even a plane trip across the United States, there are certain rules and regulations you'll need to follow if you want to take your dog overseas.
Even though it may take a little planning to get your service animal on-board and into a new country with you, the support that the animal provides is worth it. You don't want your trip, whether it be for business or pleasure, to be ruined because you don't have your companion pet with you, so start researching the requirements as soon as possible.
Here are some things to do and consider when taking your emergency service dog overseas:
1. Contact the foreign country's embassy to find out their emergency service animal policies before packing your dog's bag. The nation may have canine breed restrictions, and some types may be banned altogether. It's important to make sure your dog's breed is allowed in the country before you get there.
2. Have an official letter or other type of documentation ready to show the country's government officials and local business operators if asked. The paperwork should contain all important information about the dog, such as its breed and name. Also, make sure to include why its recommended that you have the dog in your presence at all times. If you can, have the paperwork translated into the country's main language to avoid any last-minute confusion.
3. Keep all of your pet's medical records, such as rabies vaccination information. The records should be notarized and stamped by the United States Department of Agriculture to make them official. Again, have the documentation translated if possible.
4. Put the dog in the appropriate gear, such as a bright vest stating "service animal," so that the reason that he is there is easily recognizable.
5. Pack all of your dog's essential items, such any medications that he's taking, in an easy-to-find location. Also, be sure to bring any special food the dog requires, as you may not be able to find it in your destination country. Specialized grooming items, such as toenail clippers and dog toothpaste, should come along as well. If you have room, pack a few of the dog's favorite toys, or his bed, to provide comfort when he's away from home.
For more information about vaccinations and how to prepare your service animal for a trip overseas, talk to a veterinarian like those at the Columbine Animal Hospital & Emergency Clinic.