Dog with metal chain holding newspaperHere’s a question for you. If your pooch or kitty escapes and ends up at the animal shelter, do you have the documents and photos to prove they’re your furball? Seriously—if you don’t have the correct paperwork you might not be able to bail out your pet.

This is just one scenario where having your pet’s documents up-to-date and handy could save their life – or at the very least, reduce the amount of stress you’d go through having to rush to get them. Other situations include:

  • If you plan on taking your pet on vacation with you. You’ll need their medical records, official documents, photos and contact info (see the lists below) in case of emergencies.
  • If you plan on boarding your pet. The facility will want to see their vaccination records, rabies certificate and note their microchip number.
  • If you plan on traveling overseas with your pet. To avoid having to put them in quarantine, you’ll need a pet passport (see your vet for details) and other documents, depending on the country you plan to visit.
  • If you live in an area at high risk for natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. Keep all their paperwork and photos together with yours, preferably in a fire-proof safe near the front door so you can grab them when you leave.
  • If you’re moving to a new area. Your new vet will want copies of your pet’s medical documents and microchip number.

So what exactly are the documents you need for your pet? We’ve put together a list to help get you started:

Medical Documents

  • Vaccination records.
  • Copies of medical records if your pet suffers from any illnesses or diseases, including allergies.
  • Rabies certificate.

Official Documents

  • Adoption records.
  • Microchip records.
  • AKC or CFA registration.
  • Dog or cat license.
  • Pet passport.


  • A recent photo of your pet.
  • A photo or photos showing any distinctive markings on your pet.
  • A recent photo showing you and your pet together.

It’s also a good idea to include a list of important phone numbers with your pet’s paperwork, including:

  • A relative or friend, or someone you trust, to take care of your pet in case you’re unable to.
  • Your vet.
  • The microchip company.
  • Local vets, pet-friendly hotels and boarding places you can leave your pet in emergency situations.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section below.