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How to Relocate Your Dog from the U.S. to Colombia: A Complete Guide

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Traveling with a pet can be a great experience, but it can also be very stressful and nerve wracking, especially when the journey involves moving internationally. If you’re planning to bring your dog from the United States to Colombia, understanding the requirements and preparing adequately is crucial for a smooth transition. I never truly understood the want to bring your pet with you until my furry companion worked her way into my heart. I have made a checklist of things to do for you to enjoy Colombia with your dog.

Understand the Regulations

Before you start packing your dog’s favorite toy, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements imposed by Colombian authorities. The Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) is the body responsible for the importation of animals into Colombia, and they enforce strict regulations to prevent the spread of diseases.

Required Documentation:

Health Certificate: This document certifies that your dog is healthy and fit to travel. It must be issued by a licensed veterinarian in the U.S. within 10 days prior to travel. Make sure that you indicate to your veterinarian that you’re traveling internationally and need the correct form.

Vaccination Record: Your dog must be up to date with all vaccinations. Key vaccines include rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. The rabies vaccine is particularly crucial and should be administered at least 30 days before travel but not more than 12 months.

Microchip: While not mandatory, it is highly recommended that your dog has a microchip for identification purposes. The microchip should comply with ISO 11784/11785 standards.

Visit Your Veterinarian

Approximately a month before your departure, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. Confirm that all vaccinations are up to date and discuss any health concerns that might affect travel. This is also the time to get the health certificate and ensure it includes all the necessary details like your dog’s breed, age, and health status. Ask your vet to check if the microchip is working correctly and ensure it matches the details in the vaccination record and health certificate.

Prepare for Travel

Choosing a Carrier:

When traveling by air, it’s vital to choose an IATA-approved carrier that is spacious enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Ensure the carrier is secure and has ample ventilation.

Booking Flights:

Contact airlines that operate between the U.S. and Colombia and inquire about their pet policies. Some airlines allow pets in the cabin, while others may require pets to travel as cargo. It’s essential to book a direct flight if possible to minimize stress for your dog.

Acclimatize Your Dog:

Spend some time getting your dog accustomed to the travel carrier. Encourage them to spend time in it by placing their favorite blanket or toys inside. This familiarity can help reduce stress during the journey.

Check Country-Specific Requirements

Before departure, double-check any updates or changes in Colombia’s pet import requirements. Recently, the regulations changed, and staying informed is crucial. You can check the latest requirements through the ICA’s website or by contacting the Colombian consulate.

Day of Departure

On the day of departure, follow these tips to ensure a smooth experience:

Feed your dog: Give your dog a light meal about four hours before departure. Avoid feeding right before the flight to prevent nausea.

Exercise: Allow your dog to get some exercise before heading to the airport to help them relax during the flight.

Arrive early: Get to the airport early to deal with any paperwork and ensure a stress-free check-in process.

Arrival in Colombia

Upon arriving in Colombia, you’ll need to clear your dog through customs. Present all the documents to the ICA officials at the airport. They may conduct a brief health examination of your pet to ensure that they are not bringing any diseases into the country.

If everything is in order, your dog will be allowed to enter Colombia without quarantine. However, if there are any issues with the paperwork or if your dog appears ill, there may be a delay, and your dog could be placed in quarantine.

Settling In

Once you have completed all formalities, it’s time to help your dog adjust to their new environment. Keep routines as consistent as possible and gradually introduce your dog to new sights, sounds, and experiences in Colombia. Ensure they are comfortable and secure in their new home, and continue to monitor their health closely during the first few weeks after arrival.

Final Thoughts

Moving your dog from the U.S. to Colombia requires careful planning and preparation. By following these detailed steps and preparing all necessary documentation ahead of time, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for both you and your pet. Remember, the key to successful pet relocation is meticulous preparation and patience. Now go and enjoy your time here with your dog, and make sure to check out our article (link) with the best dog-friendly places in the city.

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