Traveling with Pets

So you’re thinking about traveling and taking your pet along. Before you plan your trip, it is important to first determine that your pet is healthy, of even temperament, and that you will be able to spend enough time with him/her during the trip. If those things are not true, it might be better to keep your pet at home. If you do decide to take your furry friend on your trip with you, here are some important things to keep in mind.

General tips:

  1. Make sure your pet has a collar with contact information and that their microchip is up to date.
  2. Keep a familiar blanket or toy with your pet so they can feel more comfortable during the trip.
  3. Check http://www.gopetfriendly.com/Road-Trip-Planner.aspx and https://www.tripswithpets.com/ to find pet-friendly hotels. You might be surprised how many you find!
  4. Carry your pet’s health certificate and list of immunizations as they might be required at certain points or helpful if something goes wrong.
  5. Give your pet some time to get used to traveling before your big trip. Whether it’s a few short drives or getting them used to being a carrier, it will be a better experience for you and your pet if they are prepared.

Traveling by car:

1) As recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association, take a stop every two to three hours to allow your pet to walk around and use the bathroom.

2) Be sure to bring enough water to keep your pet hydrated, typically about a gallon.

3) Never leave your pet alone in the car.  On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes. Since dogs cannot sweat, it is extremely dangerous. (Meanwhile, if you see a dog alone in a car alert someone immediately).

4) While driving, keep your pet inside the vehicle. Cats should be kept in a carrier with a seatbelt around it for their safety, and dogs should be in the backseat and with their heads inside the windows as they could otherwise be injured by debris.  

Traveling by plane:

Air travel can be dangerous for pets so it is important before your trip to confirm with your vet that it is safe for your pet to travel. Air travel is particularly dangerous for animals with “pushed in” faces such as bulldogs, pugs, and Persian cats as they are vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.  More things to keep in mind:

  1. Check your airline’s pet policies so you know how to prepare for the flight.
  2. For an extra fee, see if you can take your pet in the cabin with you. It is unfortunately not uncommon on commercial flights for some animals to be killed, injured, or lost if they are kept in cargo.
  3. Speak up. If you think your pet is being mishandled or if you just want to alert the captain that your pet is being kept in cargo, it is better to say something than to keep silent when it comes to the health of your pet.
  4. Fly direct. It will lessen the stress on your pet and on you.
  5. Do not feed your pet for four to six hours before the flight. Before you board, play with or walk your pet so they are more likely to sleep during the trip. Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless approved by your veterinarian.

More than half of U.S. pet owners take their dogs and cats with them when they travel, and we can tell why (just check this Instagram account called Camping with Dogs). As long as you follow these tips to keep your pet healthy and happy, you will have an amazing trip!

FullSizeRender (2)Article by Elana Frank

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