Whether you’re hitting the open road or hopping on an airplane, traveling with your pet can be a great bonding experience. But, if you’re going to embark on a trip with your furry friend, do your research and plan properly to avoid potential problems. Here are our tips to make traveling with your pet as stress-free as possible.
Make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel
The last thing you want to worry about while traveling is a sick pet. If she has an undetected health condition, the stress of travel could suddenly exacerbate previously silent symptoms. Prior to traveling, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough evaluation of your pet’s health.
If your pet has become anxious during travel in the past, speak with us about ways to keep her calm during the trip. For some pets, prescription medications that provide mild sedation may be the best option. After examining her, your veterinarian can decide if sedation would be appropriate and safe for your pet.
Microchip your pet
If your pet were to slip out of her collar in a strange place, you would want her to have a permanent form of identification. A microchip is a tiny device that is implanted under the skin between a pet’s shoulder blades. When a lost pet ends up at a shelter, rescue, or veterinary hospital, a scanner is routinely used to search for a microchip. If one is present, the scanner will display a unique number that is linked to the owner’s contact information in a national recovery database. Statistics clearly show that microchips greatly increase a lost pet’s chance of being reunited with her owner. (Tip: Be sure to keep your contact information updated with the microchip database.)
Update your pet’s vaccines
During your pet’s pre-travel appointment, we’ll ensure her vaccines are up to date. While traveling, she could be exposed to new places, people, and animals that may pass along infectious diseases. If you plan on taking your inner-city pooch to the great outdoors, she may need protection from diseases she’s not typically exposed to. Vaccination is the best way to protect your pet from these potentially fatal illnesses.
If you are traveling across state lines or to another country, your final destination may require that your pet have specific vaccinations. Be sure to do your research ahead of time so you know well in advance what will be needed.
Obtain the required health documents
Interstate travel requires you to have a health certificate for your pet. This is a legal document verifying that she has been examined by a veterinarian and that she is free from signs of infectious disease. Once issued, a health certificate is only valid for a limited period of time, so this appointment will need to take place right before you travel and might need to be scheduled in addition to the wellness visit.
Familiarize yourself with regulations for travel outside the U.S.
Travel to other countries often requires more than just a basic health certificate. Each country has its own specific requirements and paperwork that must be completed prior to travel. In addition to specific vaccinations, some countries require lengthy testing or observation periods to prove that pets are free of infectious diseases. Thoroughly research the requirements of your travel destination so you aren’t caught unprepared. Some countries will require long isolation periods or may deny entry for animals that do not have the proper documentation completed.
Review airline travel policies
Taking to the skies with your pooch or feline friend? Be sure to research the policies of the airline you’ll be using, which can typically be found on the airline’s website. At a minimum, air travel will require proof of vaccination and a health certificate. In addition, airlines have specific size requirements for pet carriers. Pets are typically restricted to a small carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you, limiting in-cabin air travel to small dogs and cats.
Prepare travel supplies
When packing for your trip, don’t forget about your pet’s needs! Here is a list of the basic pet essentials to include:
- A collar with identification tag
- A leash or harness
- Food and water
- Toys and treats to keep her occupied
- A pet carrier or properly fitted car harness
- Litter box and litter
- Important medical records and health documents
Inspired to take your pet on a trip? Start your preparations by giving us a call at 203-748-8878.