Make the Best of Traveling With Your Pets
Do your upcoming travel plans include pets? Whether you’re flying to an exciting destination or hitting the road, these suggestions can make the journey easier for animals and humans alike.
• Prep your pet: Traveling can prove stressful to animals, so don’t catch your pet off-guard. Before leaving town, practice taking short rides in the car or spending time in a carrier. This will help your pet get used to the experience.
If you haven’t already microchipped your pet, this may be a good opportunity to do so. This is also the time to ensure your pet’s collar is up-to-date with your current contact information.
• Pack right: Pack plenty of food and fresh water and a sufficient supply of any medications your pet is taking, as getting refills away from home could be difficult. To alleviate anxiety, bring along pet blankets and toys as reminders of home. Also pack a pet-specific first aid kit, which should include non-stick bandages, adhesive bandages, towels, gauze and your veterinarian’s phone number.
• Follow rules: Do your research to ensure you’re following rules along the way and at your destination. Check airline policies, as well as hotel and campsite restrictions and accommodations. Travel across state or international borders requires a health certificate. Some locations require more information and documentation.
Give yourself plenty of time to handle these details. Your veterinarian can be a good resource in learning what to expect. To that end, a check-up is also a good idea before a trip, as vaccinations or preventive medications may be needed before traveling.
• Safety first: While seatbelts alone can keep a dog from moving about the cabin of the car, they are not your safest option. To help protect pets in a crash, anchor a crate using a seatbelt or other secure means. When flying, opt to keep your pet in the cabin of the plane if possible. Temperatures and air quality in cargo can put a strain on pets. If your animal is too large to fly in the cabin, speak to your veterinarian about what you can do to keep your pet safe and relaxed in-flight.
• Prepare for anything: Even the best laid plans can hit snags. Be prepared for the possibility that your pet will become accidentally injured or develop an unexpected illness while traveling, prompting an unplanned trip to the vet.