Ready for a vacation? As a pet owner, consider the well-being of your furry friend prior to making plans. You can elect to board your pet, leave her with a trusted friend or family member, hire a pet sitter, or bring your furry sidekick with you. Base your decision on her specific needs. Here are a few tips to consider before traveling with your pet:
- Have your pet fully vaccinated and microchipped.
- Interstate travel requires a health certificate, which must be completed and signed by a licensed veterinarian.
- Some locations require an animal to be quarantined upon arrival. Research quarantine requirements for your final destination before booking your travel arrangements. Based on quarantine time and length of your stay, bringing your pet may be more trouble than it’s
- Bring your pet’s medication, food, leash, and collar with identification. Depending on the means of travel, you may include her bedding, bowls, treats, and toys. Pack a current photo of your pet to use as identification should she become lost.
- Familiarize yourself with veterinary hospitals in the area should an emergency arise.
- Research your accommodations prior to booking. Are pets allowed? Is there an extra fee or size limitations? Would your pet be permitted to stay while you are not there with her?
- Understand regulations when flying with a pet. Most airlines require larger animals to fly in a secure kennel in the cargo area of the plane. Smaller dogs and cats may be permitted to fly in the main cabin while kept in an approved carrier under the seat in front of you. Service animals are generally an exception to this rule.
- Cats and dogs under 12 weeks of age and geriatric animals are not ideal candidates for traveling via plane.
- Brachycephalic (short-nose) breeds, like pugs and Persian cats, have increased health risks associated with air travel. Their shortened airways and lower oxygen levels may result in difficulty breathing at high altitudes.
- When selecting a kennel, check your airline’s requirements. Pets traveling in cargo will need a sturdy, hard-sided kennel. The kennel must be labeled with a “Live Animal” sticker, flight information, and your contact information. For a pet traveling in the main cabin, the carrier must meet dimension requirements, ensuring it fits under the seat in front of you.
- Time of year and location of your destination should be taken into consideration when bringing your pet. Pets are often not permitted to travel in the cargo area of planes during periods of extreme temperatures. South Florida in the summer months would prove too hot, while Alaska in the winter months would be too cold for pets to travel in cargo.
- Select direct flights whenever possible to decrease chances of missed or incorrect connections. Try to travel on the same flights as your pet, too.
- The temperament of your pet should be considered when traveling by air. If she is high-strung, suffers from separation anxiety, or doesn’t like loud noises, flying may be detrimental to her health. Flying can be stressful enough on its own; avoid adding more stress to pets who you know will not tolerate the air travel well.
- Desensitize your pet to traveling in cars by going on mini adventures, in various lengths, prior to your trip. Shorter periods of time in the vehicle can help her become accustomed to this mode of transportation.
- Properly secure your pet while driving. Safety and a sense of security is provided to cats and dogs traveling in a carrier. For pets not in a carrier, secure them in a harness with a seat belt attachment. Never allow a pet to sit on your lap while you are driving, and do not let your pet roam around the vehicle while it’s in motion. And, don’t allow your dog to stick her head out the window of a moving vehicle.
- Do not leave your pet in a parked vehicle. Temperatures can quickly become dangerously hot or cold.
- Allow time for frequent breaks, and stop in areas where your pet can easily get out of the vehicle, too. Bring bags to clean after a bowel movement, and, when traveling with cats for long distances, bring a litter box and litter.
Considering a pet-friendly vacation? Call us with questions.