Summertime is such a popular time of year for travel and, for many, the trip is just not as fun without our furry friend. Like any family member, we want them to enjoy the great adventures and have quality time with them. A trip with our furry friends can be highly stressful if you are not prepared ahead of time. There are some important tips to follow to help make the trip smooth, safe and comfortable.
- Proper identification– Having your pet properly identified with a registered microchip with a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. It would also be beneficial to have a temporary tag on the collar with your cell phone and destination information. Have a current photo of your pet.
- Safe containment- Use a USDA approved carrier, especially if traveling by plane. The carrier should be large enough for them to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Place some type of bedding in the carrier that is absorbent for comfort and in case of any accidents. If traveling by plane, mark the crate with your information as well. For a plane trip, secure a small pouch of dried food to the outsideTravel Safety Tips
- of the crate in case they need to be feed during a long trip. Freeze a bowl of water ahead of time for your pet to put in the crate. The crate will also need to be labeled with “Live Animal”. If traveling by car, secure the crate in the vehicle so it won’t shift in event of an abrupt stop. If you choose not to use a crate in the car, keep them harnessed to a seat buckle in the back seat. There are several pet seat belts that can be purchased. AS much as he might enjoy it, do not allow him to hang his head out the window. It is dangerous in event of an accident and he can be injured by any debris that may fly up into his face.
- Rest stops– Like you, your pet will need plenty of opportunity to go to the bathroom and get a little exercise. Make sure he has his identification on him at all times.
- Don’t ever leave your pet alone in the car– Even on mild warm days, the temperature in your car can skyrocket in minutes. As much as 10 degrees every ten minutes. In the cold, your car will act as a refrigerator and make the car frigidly cold.
- Prepare a pet friendly travel kit– Your pet will need his own items from home to help him feel more comfortable on the trip. Pack bowls, food, leash, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first aid and any travel documents. Bring a favorite toy, blanket or bed to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Bring plenty of water or use bottled water because drinking water from a different area could result in an upset stomach. Avoid feeding them in a moving vehicle for the same reason. Feed them a light meal 3-4 hours prior to departure to help prevent any stomach upset. Familiarize yourself with potential health risks associated with the location you are visiting.
- Prep your pet for a long trip-If your pet is not used to long travel, take him on a series of short drives gradually lengthening the time in the car. This will help him acclimate to being in a car for longer periods.
- Travel by plane– Travel by plane can be much more difficult than in your car. If your pet is small enough, have them travel under your seat on the plane. It is advised to book a direct flight when possible. If your pet is too large to travel at your seat, be vocal and inform every airline employee that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way they will be ready if any additional attention is needed. For travel outside the U.S., extra planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
- Veterinarian check-up– Prior to travel, bring your pet to the veterinarian to update any vaccinations. You will also need a health certificate dated within 10 days of departure. Carry with you your pet’s medical records and current rabies certificate. It is not recommended to tranquilize your pet as that can hinder their breathing, so check with your veterinarian on other ways to help minimize any anxiety or fear.
Hopefully these tips help you prepare for your next great trip so that both you and your furry friend can have a safe and fun adventure!
Donna Bragdon, C.V.T.
VCA All Caring Animal Hospital
Donna L. Bragdon, C.V.T.
VCA All Caring Animal Hospital, #664
Phone: (413)528-8020 Fax: (413)528-2449