Depending on your destination, traveling abroad with your pet can be a little tricky. Typically, there are specific protocols for vaccination, blood monitoring, parasite control and identification that must be adhered to before travel. These can vary widely depending on your destination and, importantly, can include vaccines not commonly required here in the United States. For example, while helping some clients of mine with a move to Singapore, it came to light that a vaccine for Chlamydia psittaci was required. Because this is not a routine vaccine for most cats in the U.S., the vaccine had to be ordered, adding further time to the process.
International travel usually requires pets to be identified by a microchip. Unfortunately, some microchips here in the US do not conform to international standards. Depending on your destination, you may need to have another 15-digit microchip implanted, or purchase a scanner of your own to accompany your pet. There are a lot of helpful online resources that detail travel and entry requirements, country by country. Our favorite is www.pettravel.com.
One thing to note is that it is practically never too early to start planning. The certification process for entry into rabies-free countries, understandably, tends to be more rigorous than in other countries.
For instance, travel to the (rabies-free) UK under the Pet Passport scheme helps four-legged travelers avoid an extended stay in quarantine, but preparations for travel need to be started at least six months in advance.
My top advice for international pet travel? Just like the Boy Scouts: be prepared (handkerchief, however, is not required).