Many of us have one goal in mind this summer….traveling with our family and pets on vacation! Whether it be a weekend getaway or a week at your favorite beach – taking our furry children calls for proper preparation. Regardless of how you are traveling to your desired destination, the first thing is to be sure that your pet has had a recent wellness exam, is up to date on all vaccinations and is current on all preventives for fleas, ticks, parasites and heartworms. If your pet is currently on medication, make sure that you have enough to get you through the trip and extra in case your trip gets extended. Proper identification is also very important when traveling with your pet. Fido should have a collar with identification tags with your dog’s name, your name, and your home phone number as well as a rabies tag. Microchipping is very beneficial in providing an extra “insurance policy” for your pet in case they get lost. Since cats don’t usually wear collars, microchipping is your best bet.
Room at the Inn
Some people are fortunate and have family and friends to visit who welcome pets to stay. For those of us that need to find a place to call home that is pet friendly, the internet has some great websites. Check out http://takeyourpet.com/ and research all the pet friendly accommodations. Make sure you call and double-check the pet policies as well as all restrictions and fees that may apply.
On the Road Again
Some pets have been traveling by car since they were puppies and have no problem going on short or long trips. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones! Some pets get car sick just like some people. If you are planning on driving to your destination and you’re not sure how your pet will do in the car here are a few recommendations. Dogs and cats should be in a crate or carrier. This will prevent the driver from being distracted by the pet and will protect the pet during sudden stops or accidents. Most pets that are familiar with crates feel safe while in them which can also help reduce anxiety while traveling.
To get your pet acclimated to the car begin by taking them for short car rides and gradually increase the distance each time. This will give you an idea of how they will do and if they are prone to getting sick. If you find your pet does get car sick contact your veterinarian and discuss a plan of action.
Provide water for your pet throughout the entire trip and keep the car well ventilated at all times. Be sure there is fresh air flow in the crate. Letting your pet stick his/her head out of a car window can be harmful to their eyes and therefore never recommended. Never let your pet ride in the back of an open truck in or out of a crate. It is extremely dangerous for the pet as well as for other cars on the road. While on a long road trip it may seem like no big deal to leave your pet in the car while stopping for food or to pick up a quick snack at a gas station, but this is never a good idea. Designate a family member or friend that you are traveling with to stay with your pet. And if you are ever in a situation where you see a pet alone in a vehicle contact authorities immediately.
Flying High in the Sky
Each airline has a different set of rules and regulations regarding traveling with pets. Be sure to research the airline before booking a flight. Most airlines will require a health certificate, which needs to be completed by a veterinarian within a certain time frame prior to travel. It consists of an exam as well as a copy of the rabies certificate. The size of your pet will determine if they are able to be in the cabin with you or if they must travel with the cargo. If traveling in the cabin make sure the carrier you are going to use is approved by the airline. If your pet will be with the cargo be sure the carrier is large enough for the pet to sit, stand and turn around easily as well as lay comfortably. If your pet is not used to being in a crate you may want to purchase the crate he/she will be traveling in and get them acclimated to it at home. Have a safe and happy summer traveling with your pets!!