Importing or Exporting A Dog To/From USA

Importing or Exporting a Dog The first thing you need to find out is what is required to ship a dog to a certain country. In the USA, we have the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) who  determines the requirements of bringing a dog into the USA. The USDA also will know what is required to ship a dog to a certain country. Each country requires different regulations so you must find out  the regulations before you intend to ship. Special forms must be filled out and these forms might change often so you must keep close contact with the Department of Agriculture in the country you are living in and shipping to.

Do not expect your veterinarian to know these laws and requirements. You must find this out for yourself then work with your veterinarian on filling out the proper forms and making sure the correct vaccinations and the time the vaccinations were given are correct. If the forms are not filled out properly and correctly, or the dates are not precise, then the forms will not be approved.

Some countries have minimum age limits of the dog you are shipping. Some countries also require the dog to be quarantined for a certain amount of time before he can go into his new home. This is a lot of stress on a puppy and could emotionally affect its personality permanently. So much thought should be taken if you want your puppy to go into this type of stress. Some countries who require quarantine also will allow two puppies to be together and for the new owner to visit them often. This is very helpful for the puppies and could alleviate the stress. There are some countries who require when you purchase an animal they must come in pairs and this is a very good idea so the puppies do not go through as much stress. Shipping a puppy is a lot of stress for him.

I recommend not shipping a puppy until he is at least 9 weeks old and older is best. At 8 weeks old, the puppy still depends on his littermates for security. At 9 weeks old, and even older, you will experience the puppy gains more inner security and can handle a trip alone. When I ship a puppy a long distance, I usually want two puppies to travel together. This will keep the puppies from getting so stressed. Stress can cause a break in the vaccines that a puppy receives and when the puppy arrives at its destination, the puppy can already be sick and possibly be ill from a virus. I have heard of puppies who came to USA from Europe who had parvo and who died a few days after they arrived in USA. This possibly could have been caused from the stress of travel just after the vaccine was given. But, the countries require these shots so what do you do? Have the puppy shipped at an older age; a few weeks makes a big difference.

There are procedures that you can do to prepare the crate and the dog for travel which will reduce the chances of mishaps during the trip. It is very important to listen to the recording of the airlines you will be using to get detailed information on the regulations of the correct kennel, size and what you will need to include in and on the crate.

The USA airline companies take extra precautions with pets on air travel to other countries. Because the USA airlines take extra care of pets, and treat them very special, it is usually quite safe to travel with a pet, or to ship a pet  within the USA. Some airlines do not ship pets at all since they went through too many accidents which resulted in lawsuits. Some airlines do not ship in the summer heat also. You must check all airlines and the options that you have. You want to ship the dog early in the morning or late at night to prevent the dog being on the tarmac during the hottest time of day. Even though the airlines take special care and transport the pets in special vehicles to the planes, you always want to ship during the coolest time of day.

Freeze the water buckets so the dog has cold water to drink during the flight. The airlines usually fill up the bucket during travel also. I did see a big difference in the airlines traveling back from Germany this year. When the dogs arrived to the USA, the buckets were full with very cold water. This did not occur in the past when we flew from Germany to USA.

If you are traveling to a location where you will be bringing a   puppy back home with you, there are options on some airlines that will allow you to travel with them on the plane with you. This is for only small puppies or adults of small breeds. You would carry them on a soft carry on crate almost like a soft piece of luggage  over  your shoulder.

There are always human and mechanical errors that could   happen no matter what precautions you take in shipping an animal. If you want to know all that happens in air travel with animals in USA, there is an “Aviation Consumer Protection Division” who keeps records of accidents in air travel. Importing and shipping a dog is always a risk. We personally have experienced one of our dogs getting poisoned traveling back from Germany.

Is it necessary for a quality puppy to be shipped from another country to USA? Over the past few years, Americans have purchased some of the best Rottweilers in the world. So finding a great quality puppy from USA is possible. USA is for sure breeding better puppies than some European countries, and some Americans breed only according to the Germany ADRK regulations. Do heavy research and check references on the breeders and their dogs you will be purchasing from. Do not believe everything the breeders tell you. Ask the breeder to show proof on information given and then research the   information they provide. Remember, there are more bad breeders in all countries compared to than good breeders. Do your own research and “Due Diligence” to find the best breeder for you and that the breeder and/or owner of the dog is telling you the truth.

Download the PDF: Importing or Exporting A Dog To/From USA

Article written by Evie Lynn
Published in Total Rottweiler Magazine, Issue 2 of 2013