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Our Flight Home: Flying a Dog on International Flights

Although I was excited to fly home from Buenos Aires to North Carolina, I was extremely nervous for Domino.  Since Domino is a pitbull mix that is 55 pounds, he was required to travel underneath the plane as cargo with the cabin’s luggage.  We bought a crate that followed the airlines’ regulations, acquired proper documentation from the Argentine government, and provided Domino with blankets and comforting items for his journey.  Below is a quick guide to flying your pooch to the United States from Buenos Aires, as well as tips to make the flight a bit easier:

1.) See a veterinarian, who will inspect your pet and give you the necessary paperwork to bring to the Ministerio de Economia y Produccion.  The ministry requires:

  • A certificate that notes the breed, sex, age, color, and name, address, and passport number of the owner.
  • A document stating it is free of miasis, gusanera or bichera.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • A rabies certificate that proves its rabies vaccinations are valid.

At the vet I saw in San Telmo, I received 4 hand-written prescription slips after she inspected Domino.  The appointment, which also included flea medicine and de-worming pills, was $80 AR (about $20 USD).

2.) Take your documents to the SENASA office in Lazareto, which is on the corner of Calabria and Rawson de Dellepiane. The paperwork costs about $76 AR and must be filled out within five days of flying out.

SENASA OFFICE phone: 4362-5755 or 4362-5757

3.) Check your airlines’ website to find information about regulations concerning your pet’s crate, food, and water provisions.

If you will be traveling in cold weather, put a soft blanket in the crate.  In addition to a cushy blanket, include items that have your scent – a dirty shirt, socks, or pillow case can calm a pet when in stressful situations.

I wrote a note in permanent marker on our crate that notified the baggage handlers that it was Domino’s first time flying, and also that he would appreciate positive attention.

During our layover from Buenos Aires in Miami, we had to retrieve all of our luggage, including Domino, for U.S. customs procedures.  Since officials needed to look inside of Domino’s crate, I asked if I could take him out to the bathroom, and was allowed some time outside with him.  It never hurts to ask, so always ask to take your pet out if you feel it will aid their trip.

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