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Safe Pet Travel Tips


Dog getting ready to take a trip


Most people consider pets to be members of the family and will include them in activities such as travel. When traveling with pets, it is important to plan ahead while keeping the best interests of your pet in mind. Traveling with pets can be a fun bonding experience, but can also turn unpleasant without proper planning. All pets are not necessarily suited for travel and owners should consider temperament, illness, and impairments when making the decision on whether to bring a pet along.

Flying With Pets

When flying, it is important to follow some basic guidelines to ensure the comfort and safety of your pet. You should always familiarize yourself with the pet policies of any airline you will be traveling with. Things to consider would be whether the airline allows small pets in the cabin, and whether there are any immunization or other health requirements.

In addition to becoming familiar with airline pet policies, you need to ensure that your pet is up for the trip. A visit to the vet should be scheduled to update any necessary vaccinations and get the doctor's opinion on how suitable your pet is for air travel. Airlines often require health certificates which should be acquired from vets within ten days of departure. Direct flights are also ideal as changing planes can cause undue stress. Booking a flight during non-peak times can also help reduce pet stress as flights are likely to be carrying less passengers. Temperature extremes should also be taken into consideration, especially for pets traveling below the cabin.

Most airlines require pets traveling in the cabin of the plane to be contained within an approved carrier. There are several different types of carriers available including both hard-sided and soft-sided options. Pets should be given at least one month to become familiar with the carrier in which they will be traveling. This can help to minimize stress during travel.

Tips for Flying With Pets

  • Make sure pets are wearing a proper collar with permanent identification information in addition to temporary travel information.
  • Avoid feeding pets for four to six hours prior to air travel, though small amounts of water can be given.
  • Bring a leash so you can walk your pet before check-in.
  • Always travel with a recent photo of your pet which can be helpful should you become separated.
  • Following air travel, examine your pet and see a veterinarian immediately if anything appears to be wrong.

 

Driving With Pets

It is much easier to travel with pets when driving than flying, though some planning and preparations can still be helpful. The most important thing to consider when driving with pets is their safety. You should take pets to get checked out by a vet before travel. If traveling across state lines, you may need to have a veterinarian issue a health certificate. When traveling in cars, pets need to be properly restrained. There are several options available including pet barriers, seat belts, travel crates, and even car seats.

When packing for travel with your pet, you should include pet food, an ample amount of water, travel food and water dishes, collar and tags, leash, toys, any necessary medications, and a pet first aid kit. If you are planning a long journey and will be staying in a hotel, it is important to do research beforehand to find pet friendly accommodations.

Tips for Driving With Pets

  • Never allow pets to stick their head out the window as they can be injured by flying debris.
  • Make sure to provide frequent bathroom breaks and allow some time for exercise as well.
  • Offer pets fresh water during pit stops.
  • Never, ever leave pets alone in vehicles as they can get very hot very quickly even if the window is open.

 

With a bit of planning and preparation, you can make traveling with your pet comfortable and stress free. The following pages feature additional information on traveling with pets.

 

by: Nick Braun

 

 
 
 

Common Pet Health Problems

 

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