health and identification requirements for moving pets

Moving with Pets: Health and Identification Requirements for Moving Pets

The documents pertaining to your pet's health are important. You may be asked to show them at any time, especially when traveling, so it's advisable to keep them handy. Any or all of the following may be required.

Health Certificate
Interstate health certificates must accompany dogs and horses entering nearly all states. About half have the same requirements for cats, birds and other pets. In some cases, advance receipt of the health certificate by the destination state's regulatory agency is a prerequisite to entry of the pet. The health certificate must include a complete description of the pet, list of inoculations it has had and state that it is free from infectious diseases.

Have your pet examined by your veterinarian well in advance of departure so there will be time for any treatment or inoculations recommended. If your pet is excitable, or prone to motion sickness when traveling, ask the vet to prescribe medication. Also ask if he will recommend a colleague in your new area.

There are some pets that must have entry permits issued by the destination state's regulatory agency. Either you or your veterinarian may apply for the permit at a charge. Receipt of an interstate health certificate from the state of origin may be required for issuance of the permit.

It’s important to know that the validity of health certificates and permits is strictly limited in several states. If you are moving to one of these states, be sure your pet arrives within the valid period.

Rabies Tag
The majority of states require that dogs have a rabies inoculation, and most have the same regulation for cats. State and local laws usually stipulate that the rabies tag must be securely attached to the pet's collar.

In addition to permanent identity and rabies tags, both dogs and cats should be provided with special travel identification tags. A luggage-type tag with space on both sides for writing is excellent for this particular purpose. The tag should include the pet's name, your name and destination address, and the name and address of an alternate person to contact in case you can't be located.

Birds are sometimes identified by leg bands, while brands, tattoos, color photos and/or health registration papers are used for ponies. The pet's health certificate may also be used for identification purposes.

For more information, read about state and local regulations for moving pets or return to the pet moving guide.