Flying Internationally With Your Boston Terrier

Are you wondering if you can take your dog on an international vacation? The answer is YES! Your dog certainly can go on vacation with you. While travel has also become more popular and pets are now more like people’s children, pet travel has also become very popular.  

International travel with your pet can be a straightforward task if you just follow a few simple guidelines and make a plan 6-12 months ahead of your travel day. Depending on what country you travel to will dictate what requirements must be done.

Flying Internationally With Your Boston Terrier. Boston Terrier Society.
Bella being cool.

How to Travel Internationally with My Boston Terrier?

If you are planning on traveling with your pet internationally make sure you have all the necessary documents needed to travel. The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has a webpage strictly dedicated to the requirements of each country, check out the USDA website here.  

Since the requirements change all the time, it is best to check with this website and see what conditions are needed. This website has information on both traveling within the United States and abroad.

What are all requirements needed for my Boston Terrier to fly internationally?

There are a few requirements needed for you to take your Boston Terrier on vacation with you, and as stated before these requirements change regularly so always check ahead of time to make sure you are not stuck at the terminal. 

Health Certificate

You will need a health certificate filled out by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian stating that your pet has been fully vaccinated and is healthy and free of any disease. Sometimes you will have to take the health certificate to your state veterinary office for them to also sign off on.

The USDA website will let you know all the requirements, click here for USDA site.  Your pet will need to be in a kennel that can fit in the seat in front of you. Some airlines have weight restrictions of the dog that you bring on board the plane with you.

These limitations are different for every airline, but most guidelines can be found on the particular airline’s website. If you can not find the guidelines on the site, most airlines are happy to assist you if you call. 

Rabies Titer

Rabies titers are usually needed to travel to rabies-free countries.  There is only one lab in the United States that does rabies titer testing.  It can take up to 2-3 months for a veterinarian to receive your pet’s rabies titer results.  Depending on the country some pets must be quarantined. The length of time depends on what country you are traveling to. 

Parasite treatment

Most countries require both endoparasite (parasites inside the body) such as hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms and ectoparasite (parasites outside the body such as fleas, ticks, mites, and lice) prevention 24 to 48 hours before plane travel.

Some countries specify exactly what products they require you to use, and others allow the veterinarian to use any product they have available.  

If there is a specific product that is required, make sure that you have this product before going and getting your health certificate. The USDA website will show precisely what products are approved for that country.  

Notify The Country You Are Visiting

Some countries require that you notify them that you are bringing a pet with you. There may be a waiting period before you can travel and a specific time that you must arrive in the country.  This is because the country only has a veterinarian in customs during regular business hours.

When going through customs in the country your visiting or moving to there may be a fee that you must pay to bring your pet with you. This differs depending on the country and how long you are planning to stay there.

How do I travel by Air with my pet?

Smaller pets, such as Boston Terriers, can fit in a carrier and will fly under the seat in front of you.  Make sure that your dog can comfortably stand up, turn around and lay down in their carrier. Be sure to call the airline or visit their website to get the measurements that will fit under the seat in front of you.  

Soft-sided carriers can be a little bigger than the hard-plastic ones since the soft sided one will conform to the space needed. Large dogs must be stored in cargo with the baggage. This is not an advisable way for Boston Terriers to travel as they do not tolerate sudden extreme changes in ambient temperature which may occur in the cargo bay. 

Can Boston Terriers Fly in Cargo?

All airlines have a list of pets that are not allowed to fly as checked pets on their airplane. These dogs include the brachiocephalic breeds (flat faced).  Boston Terriers are considered a brachiocephalic breed of dog. Good news is that most Boston Terriers are small enough that they can be taken on the plan with you and they do not have to travel in cargo. 

Why are brachiocephalic dogs not allowed to fly in Cargo on the Airplane?

A brachiocephalic dog or cat means one who has a short nose such as Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Pugs, and French Bulldogs. Brachiocephalic syndrome means shorter smooshed noses, smaller nostrils, and a long soft pallet. This is why Boston Terriers have a snorting sound when they breathe.  

Many airlines do not allow these dogs as checked pets on the airplane because it can be hard for them to breath. These types of dogs can even die from the stress that plane travel puts on the dogs. The last thing an airline wants is bad publicity from your pet passing away from stress while on the airplane.  

How much does it cost for my Boston Terrier to fly in the airplane?

Depending on the airline, it can cost $100 to $250 each way for your pet to travel with you on the airplane. This does not include the price of the health certificate, the necessary vaccines, or other requirements that a country may require for your dog. This is just the fee the airline charges for your dog to fly on the plane.

Depending on what all requirements you must meet, you may spend a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars just meeting the requirements and getting the necessary documentation for your pet to fly.  

Do I have to Buy My Boston Terrier a Plane Seat?

You do not have to purchase a plane ticket for your dog since they will be going under the seat in front of you. But you must notify the airlines that your Boston Terrier is flying with you.

Most Airlines will only allow a certain number of pets on a flight at a time so calling as early as possible is best to make sure that your Boston Terrier can also fly on the same flight as you. 

Are there Certain Times of The Year My Boston Terrier Cannot travel?

Some airlines refuse to put pets in cargo during extreme weather (below 45 or over about 85). So, if you are traveling to the beach in the summertime or live in the South. Many airlines will not allow pets to travel in cargo on an airplane during these times because of the excessive heat that occurs.

Does My Boston Terrier need to be sedated to fly?

While many people ask their veterinarian for a sedative for their Boston Terrier to fly on an airplane, most do not need any medication. If you do not have to give your pet medication to ride in the car to the veterinary office, then they will not need any medication to fly on an airplane.

If you do end up getting medication for your pet, give your pet a dosage a few days before travel. It is best to have a not so pleasant side effect when you are on the ground and close to your veterinarian than thousands of feet up in the air. 

Where do you take your Boston Terrier to the bathroom when flying?

If you have multiple stops on your flight and a long layover, your pet may need a bathroom break. You can take them out of their carrier’s and to the bathroom. The bathroom is usually outside the checked area. Some of the bigger airports have started putting pet relief areas in the checked zone, usually one in each terminal. If you must go outside of the checked area, you will have to allow yourself enough time to get back through security and get to your next gate. 

Final thoughts…

For international pet travel, many requirements must be fulfilled to safely get your pet into a different country. It is best to start making plans well in advance of any international travel with your pet. International travel has many requirements that can take months to complete. Working with your veterinarian and the USDA APHIS website will help in your success and ease of traveling internationally with pets.

Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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