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Traveling with Pets on International Flights

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Like most pet owners, I as well, happen to be one that would rather bring my pets with me on vacation, than leave them with a sitter or place them in boarding. For a while now, I have been planning to bring my Border collie mix, Sara and domestic cat, Alfred, to my childhood home on the countryside of Stockholm.  In addition to Stockholm, Sweden, we also went down to La Cala de Mijas, Spain for 10 days.  As our two rental properties needed some maintenance before the winter season. Here is the story of how we did it, paperwork to file, and things to look for.


Our pet travel research began with Google search about 6 month before our trip. I found a very nice web site that covers the basics when it comes to pet relocation from the USA to desired destination.   There is a lot of information out there, but http://petrelocation.com is a nice start.  Our destination was Arlanda, Sweden which is part of the European Union. When traveling to a country within the EU you need to satisfy that specific country’s pet entry requirement, not just the EU requirement.  Jordbruksverket is the Swedish agency that regulates import and export of animals into Sweden.  When traveling with two pet I was required to use form   E9-163, Non-commercial movement of five or less dogs, cats or ferrets, which I ordered for free on http://jordbruksverket.se.  This form needs to be filled out by your veterinarian no more than 5 days before and not less than 24 hours before the time of the scheduled entry.   As of 9/28/2012, Sweden requires that your cat and dog must have a current rabies vaccination, microchip before rabies vaccination (only if it’s the first one), and dewormed against Echinococcus multilocularis, no more than 5 days before and not less than 24 hours before the time of the scheduled entry. 

Both our dog and cat was already up-to-date on rabies and microchips. Make sure that you have the microchip before the rabies vaccination. I recommend contacting your veterinarian at least 6 months before travel outside the US to set-up appointments and double-check the requirements.   After checking the requirements of Sweden, I checked the US requirements.  The US doesn’t require any documents, but some airlines require Form 7001 that your veterinarian will provide, I got this when they fill-out form E9-163 before departure.  I called our airline to see what kind of crate they approved, since I read that airlines have different regulations regarding pet travel.  I used Petmate for our dog and bought a firm crate for our cat at Petsmart.  Most airlines will allow cats as a carry-on, but as we were flying via Iceland, even the cat had to fly in the cargo area, along with our dog. We could therefore not have the soft, carry-on version for our cat. Make sure that the pets are able to stand and that they have enough window space for airflow.

Two days before departure, I had my appointment with the Veterinarian. She filled out form 7001, E9-163 and dewormed both pets. After your local veterinarian has filled out Form E9-163 it has to be endorsed by a USDA approved veterinarian before departure.  In my case, I had to overnight Fedex form E9-163 to the USDA office in Olympia. You can find information for your local office at http://www.aphis.usda.gov .

On day before travel, we froze water in their travel water cups so that they have water accessible as long as possible.  I also went for a longer hike with our dog after given her the last meal before departure. 

On the day of travel, I double-checked that everything was in order once more. The airline recommended that we arrived at least 2 ½ hours before travel.  I made sure that we walked at least for an hour just before leaving for the airport. 

Overall, both our pets took the flight with ease, and I would not recommend sedating your pet. Arlanda airport was very quick and professional when they handed over the pets to us.  The Swedish customs checked that we had all paper work in order and that their microchip id matched the ones on file.

                The flight back from Sweden to the US was very easy. Washington State only requires current rabies vaccination. However, each state has different requirements so make sure that you check www.aphis.usda.gov for import requirements. SeaTac airport, however, was not very professional when handling the pets; it took them more than an hour from touchdown to transport the pets to us. Hopefully, they will have established a better routine before our next trip. 


Contact us if you have any questions about visiting La Cala de Mijas, Mijas Costa, or for staying in one of our beautiful homes.

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  • Guest
    Jasmine Friday, 24 May 2013

    Sophie, thank you so much for the info!!!!

  • Guest
    pettransport Thursday, 24 October 2013

    Wow really nice , i like this .

  • Guest
    Sandra Aldell Tuesday, 26 November 2013

    ... and how were you able to get the E9.163 and Form 7001 back from the USDA in time before you departed?

    Tack! :)

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Guest Sunday, 25 February 2018

Welcome to our Homes


Thank you for your interest in our Two Vacation Rentals in La Cala de Mijas, Spain. Both are in the same complex, have private Jacuzzis on the terrace, 28000 square meters of Sub-Tropical gardens, 2 saltwater Swimming Pools, and all within walking distance to the beach!

About Us

about us

Sophie and Einar are the proud owners of Spanish Vacation Rental's 2 holiday homes in La Cala de Mijas. They are born and raised in Scandinavia, but currently reside in the US. 

Where are we?

la cala de mijas1

Our 2 Vacation Rental homes are located in La Cala de Mijas on Costa del Sol in southern Spain. La Cala is an old fishing village, with tons of charm, cobblestone streets, Moore ruins, an excellent "Blue Flag"-rated Beach and Restaurants from around the world