Travelling With Pets to and From Russia
Travelling with pets to Russia or back can be an overwhelming and confusing process. Here’s a timeline of things that you should follow.
Booking Your Flights
Be sure to book enough time in between flights so that you don’t have to run with your pet or worry about whether or not your pet will make it on the flight with the cargo. The fewer flights you have with your pet the better so try to pick as direct a route as possible. If you have layovers try to schedule 3-4 hours in between. Quite often there are delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances and you don’t want to add any additional stress by running to catch your flight. Flying is already stressful enough for them without having to add that to it! Kibby didn’t eat or drink anything the whole day we were flying or even 2 days after.
Contact Your Airline
Check their website and see what the requirements are for flying with a pet then call and notify them that you’ll be flying with your pet either on board with you or in cargo. Note that there are specific rules for carrier size and dimensions whether it’s going under your seat or in cargo. When I flew over with Kibby, she could fly with me on board as long as she weighed 13 lbs or less including her carrier which had to be able to fit under my seat. Flying with a pet from the USA is not cheap in cargo or on board! I advise you to make sure that if you’re going to put your pet through that kind of stress and spend that kind of money that it is worth it. Flying from and around Europe with a pet is much more manageable price-wise.
Requirements for Pets Entering Russia
Requirements for Pets Entering Russia
Not only does each airline have their own rules for pet travel, but also each country has rules for travelling with pets. Russia requires pets to be microchipped, have vaccinations and a health certificate from a vet. A pet passport wasn’t necessary for us, but the laws change all the time so be sure to verify. When we flew to Russia, we found that the USA heavily checked all of our documents but we were not stopped at the airport in Russia. Maybe her carrier looked more like a bag than a pet taxi and it was an exception to the rule – who knows!
Travelling is very hard on pets and is a scary experience for them. If your pets are going in the cargo, you might want to start training them for the trip in advance by gradually getting them used to their crate and sleeping inside. More familiarity with the crate will help ease their stress, so it’s a good idea to put soft bedding and their favorite toy inside if it’ll fit. For pets flying on board: If it’s their first time flying or they have unpredictable behavior (like Kibby), I recommend keeping your pet in a harness with a leash on in case you want to let it out to walk, eat and drink so you know it can’t make a run for it.
At the Airport
You may need to go through veterinary inspection at departure, so arrive early. Whether your animal is travelling with you or alone in the baggage hold, you will need to check it in at the counter with your hold luggage. If your pet is travelling in the cargo, a member of the airline will pick it up no later than an hour before the flight.
Arriving in Russia
There is no quarantine for pets coming from the EU. However, if your pet doesn’t meet the health requirements or is listed as a prohibited species, it will likely be quarantined for a period of 30 days.
You will need the same documents to leave Russia as those you needed to enter except that they need to be issued by a licensed and registered vet from a state vet clinic ONLY. In Moscow and St Petersburg, there is one state clinic per district.
Be sure to check the timeframe which all of these documents (health certificates and other necessary shots, etc) must be dated before going to the clinic. You do not need an appointment to go to the clinic. Take your pet, its passport (or passports if it has several), flea and tick treatment medicine (which you can purchase at the clinic’s pharmacy), and your own passport (a notarised and translated copy of your passport is recommended to help the vets but not obligatory). The vet will administer the flea and tick treatment, and give you a health certificate.
It’s recommended to arrive about three hours before flight in order to check your pet in at the airport vet station before checking in your luggage. The inspector should take your health certificate and hand you an authorization paper with approval to leave Russia with your pet.