As you prepare for the holiday season, it is fairly easy to remember the list of things you need to do to get yourself ready for travel. But have you thought about preparing your pet for your big trip? If you are leaving your pet behind, it may be as simple as finding a reputable, safe boarding facility or pet sitter and booking a spot for your four-legged friend well in advance. However, if you are traveling with your pet, there are a few more considerations that will need to come into play before traveling with your pet.
Depending on your destination and mode of transportation, you may be required to provide a health certificate to your airline, or if traveling outside the United States, before you enter another country. Guidelines for health certificates are airline and destination specific. For a list of destination-specific guidelines, click here. Always remember to check with your airline (if you are flying) to ensure they don’t have any other specifications with which you will need to comply. Keep in mind that health certificates usually need to be completed within a short period before your travel, and if you are staying at your destination for a long time, you may need to have a new health certificate completed before traveling back home. Research reputable veterinarians in your destination city to find a great match for your pet should you need a new health certificate or in the event of an emergency.
Packing for Your Four-Legged Friend
Depending on the size of your pet, you may not need to carry any additional luggage for his necessary items. Large items such as dog beds and large bags of food can often be bought or borrowed at your destination, so there’s no need to bring these along unless you have extra luggage space and feel it is necessary to the health and wellbeing of your pet.
If your pet is on a special diet, be sure to bring enough food to last him until you reach your destination, and make arrangements for reinforcements. Delivery services such as chewy.com, RxPETFOOD.com, and our own VetSource online store are great options to have your pet’s food delivered straight to your destination. Be sure to have some treats sent as well, as your buddy loves to be rewarded! Keep in mind that some pets experience anxiety when traveling, and your pet may be hesitant to eat before and after your day(s) of travel. Do your best to encourage him to eat and comfort him.
Don’t forget any prescription or over-the-counter medications your pet may be taking, his collar and tag with your information clearly marked, and a blanket or toy that smells like home.
Many pet owners worry about their pets being anxious as they travel and search for helpful remedies to help make their pets more comfortable. ALWAYS ask your veterinarian about any products, oils, or medications you may be considering using to help calm your pet. While some companies promise the safety and validity of their products, that is not always the case. However, there are some safe products on the market that we often recommend depending on your pet’s specific needs. Whether you are boarding your pet or taking him with you, it is important for him to feel safe and comfortable. Talk to your veterinarian about which options are best for you and your pet.
If you are traveling via airplane, always make sure your pet carrier is TSA approved. Different airlines have different specifications for whether or not your pet can travel with you in the cabin. Always check with the airline pet policy before purchasing a ticket. If your pet is of the size and weight to travel as cargo, know that there are potential risks of injury (whether self-inflicted or from shifting luggage) and in rare cases, even death that can come with flying in the cargo bay. If you opt for traveling with your pet as cargo, be sure to give him food and water within 4 hours of the check-in time. TSA does not allow food or water to be given within 4 hours of the flight, so make sure to plan accordingly. Make sure to arrange for someone to greet your pet as he arrives at your destination should he arrive before you.
If you are driving, be sure your pet is either secured in a safe, veterinarian-approved crate, carrier, or pet seat belt. While your pet can seem confident roaming about the cabin of your car, it can be equally as dangerous for them to not have a safety belt or container as it is for you to not wear your seatbelt.
Take frequent potty breaks and make sure your pet has plenty of water.
Regardless of your mode of transportation, your pet may be prone to motion-sickness. Talk to your veterinarian about ways to combat nausea to help keep your pet comfortable.
Our team here at Rock Road Animal Hospital wishes you a safe and happy holiday season and is happy to help schedule an appointment to get your pet ready for travel. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.