Moving to Puerto Rico with pets takes some advance preparation. The legwork involved takes some time, but it’s worth the effort to keep your four-legged family members by your side. If you’re moving to Puerto Rico with pets, proper planning can make the transition easier on both you and your animals.

Although not a U.S. state, Puerto Rico is a United States territory and so it is similar to any domestic relocation. Most healthy pets are permitted into the country without quarantine provided the appropriate measures have been taken and valid paperwork is in place.

Like most states, Puerto Rico requires rabies vaccinations prior to your pets’ entrance. Rabies vaccinations must be current (administered within the last twelve months). For animals not up to date on rabies shots, entry will most likely be denied. In these instances, a vet is involved and animals are most often quarantined for a specific amount of time.

When moving within the U.S., most pet owners transport pets in their vehicles, safely secured in the back seat or on the floor. Puerto Rico, however, is primarily accessible by air. Numerous airlines in the U.S. provide air travel for pets, including Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines. Most tickets purchased for pets must be done several months in advance and require fees, advance arrangements and additional information, including health certificates from your veterinarian and vaccination documentation. Prior to flying, take your pet to see a vet to ensure good health and preparedness.

Puerto Rico doesn’t require micro chipping, but having your animal chipped can increase his safety and is generally recommended. An identification microchip inserted just under your pet’s skin can be scanned for your new address and contact information should he or she get lost.

Prior to booking a flight for your pet, review all requirements for flying, including breed restrictions. Most international airlines permit cats, dogs, birds, and rabbits, but certain brachycephalic breeds like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats may require extra precautions. These animals are prone to hereditary respiratory issues that can be exacerbated during air travel. Review all information prior to making travel arrangements to ensure proper safety and care for your pet.

Pets can fly two different ways: in the cabin and in the baggage hold. Small pets should be taken in the cabin as a carry-on item whenever possible. This option is safer for the animal and more comfortable for owners. Travelers may need to buy a soft-sided travel kennel with attached food and water bowls. Larger breeds may need to be checked as cargo. Animals traveling in the cargo hold should be kept in a large, hard-bodied kennel that facilitates easy and natural movement. The baggage area of a plane is pressurized and temperature controlled, providing the highest level of comfort for your furry friend.

If you’re moving to Puerto Rico with pets, there’s no reason why your new home shouldn’t belong to your four-legged family members, too. By planning ahead, arranging air travel well in advance, and ensuring your animals are healthy, you and your family can make your move as simple as possible.