Hurrah! A vacation!Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house you go… or on vacation, to visit an old friend, or to move cross country. At some time or another most pet owners will encounter the challenge of traveling with pets.

Take the stress and worry out of this event by following a few important pet travel tips.

Traveling with Pets by Car

Packing Fido and Fluffy in the Volkswagen for a cross country tour? Traveling with pets by automobile has certain advantages, but there are also sometimes challenges you need to take into consideration. Before going on a car trip with your pets be sure to:

Schedule a test run – Unless your pooch or puss is a seasoned traveler, it can be difficult to predict how he or she may do on a long car ride. Before hitting the road, take a short spin to see how things go. If your pet needs medication to prevent motion sickness or a light sedative to ease anxiety, you want to know before you hit the road. Likewise, be sure to try out any sedation at home well before the trip so you know how the drug affects your pet. Sometimes a dose may need to be increased or decreased.

Provide a safe travel spot – Just as you need to buckle up in the car, so should your pet. Loose pets can be a distraction, a dangerous projectile in the case of an accident, and are more likely to be injured or lost if you are in a wreck. A secure, familiar carrier or tether device is safest for everyone in the car. There are all sorts of car safety devices for pets on the market so you are sure to find a choice that works for you (and ask us if you are unsure).

Come prepared – Take the time to make a list of things you may need for your pet during your trip. Pack a travel bag that includes your pet’s food, water, bowls, a leash, and any required medications. You may wish to pack a small pet first-aid kit as well. Prudent pet owners will also pack a copy of their pet’s vaccine and medical records as well as the number of a veterinarian or two in the area of their destination. Don’t forget to find pet friendly places to stay if you are traveling more than a day.

Traveling with Pets by Airplane

Traveling with pets by air can be a little nerve-wracking, but with a little preparation you can fly through the situation. Before flying the friendly skies, make sure that:

Your pet is used to his or her travel vessel – If you are flying with your pet, he or she will be spending a lot of time in a crate or carrier of some kind. The day of your trip shouldn’t be the first time your pet is learning of this. Use the weeks leading up to your trip to make shorter outings with your pet in his or her carrier.

You are compliant for flight – Before flying your pet will need a veterinarian issued health certificate (usually within 10 days of the flight). Individual airlines may also have special requirements. Check well ahead of time to be sure you meet these criteria so that you are not turned away at the gate.

You are prepared – When booking a flight, try to find a direct one to minimize pet stress. On the day of your flight, arrive a little early. Don’t let your pet eat for a few hours before the flight. Be sure to bring your pet’s health certificate as well as veterinary contact information and your pet’s food, water, and mediations. Don’t forget a leash and supplies to clean up after your pet as well. Be sure that your pet is also sporting some kind of current identification both on his or herself as well as on the carrier.

Overseas Travel with Pets

Traveling out of the country with a pet can be a whole different ball game. Each individual country has its own sets of requirements and rules including vaccination status, microchip status, vaccine titers, and quarantines. Be sure to check well ahead of time so that you are prepared. Don’t forget to take into account different disease and parasite risks that may be present in other countries so that you can prevent them if at all possible.

Traveling with pets can be challenging, but with some thought and planning it can be an enjoyable experience. Be sure to ask if you need any help or advice. We wish you and all of our pet patients safe travels and amazing experiences.