We recently received a question via email asking how to bring a service dog to Australia, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to go over a few basic rules and best practices for traveling internationally with an assistance animal.
Traveling with service dogs means following different airline procedures for the most part, as airlines often allow pets in the cabin in these instances. Here are the instructions for traveling with a service animal via United and via Lufthansa, for example.
Here is an overview of the rules for service dogs for Australia; owners must fill out an application to be approved before they can complete the import steps. Usually pets entering Australia must undergo a 10-day quarantine in an approved quarantine facility, but service dogs can fulfill the quarantine at home with their owners.
Be prepared to show official paperwork proving your support animal is legitimate (this will likely be a letter from your medical doctor or mental health professional).
Typically service animals need to fit on the floor in front of the passenger chair (and can't sit on the seat), and they travel free of charge.
Space can be limited in the cabin, so contact the airline well in advance to tell them you'll be traveling with a service animal.
Even though airlines probably won't require that service animals adhere to usual animal rules (traveling in the cargo area, etc.), countries still will. Find out what vaccinations and paperwork will be required for import and allow a few weeks to prepare.
Note that carriage can be denied if an animal is loud or acting in a way that disturbs other passengers -- properly trained service animals shouldn't be a problem, but people who bring a noisy Chihuahua along as an emotional support animal may not be accepted to fly.
In addition to verifying country import rules, whenever you're planning to travel by air with a service animal it's a good idea to contact the airline directly to find out about the procedures (information isn't always available online and it can sometimes change).
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Photo Credit: www.servicedogproducts.com