6 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful! Many people travel with their pets every year, and there are lots of ways to make the process of traveling with a dog or cat much easier for everyone involved. You will find that many airlines will allow your pet to come with you in the main cabin, and you can also plan road trips that involve your pet that are a ton of fun.
Traveling with your pet the smart way will ensure that you and your pet have a great time on your trip. These tips will help you avoid common pitfalls that can lead to a bad time when your pet is with you on vacation. Once you have these tips in mind, you will be able to plan a trip that is fun and rewarding, and stress-free!
1. Bring a Travel Kit
Always make sure that you have a travel kit that includes a water bowl, some pet food, a leash or harness, and something like a toy or a blanket from home. Pets thrive on familiarity, and your pet will be thrilled that they can feel like they are safe and at home as they travel with you. Always make sure that you add any medications that your pet needs to the travel kit, including anti-anxiety medications and medications for nausea if you are driving with your pet.
2. Consider Documentation That You Might Need
If you are going to be crossing state or country borders with your pet, you will need to have the right documentation with you to allow your pet to cross the border. There are various kinds of pet documentation that might be necessary to travel with a pet, whether you are flying or driving. Make sure that you check out the rules, regulations, and requirements for each location that you are planning to visit to be sure that you have the right travel documents for your pet on hand when you are away from home. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time because some countries have very specific requirements that may require sending tests off to reference labs.
Often a veterinarian will need to see your pet to create the health certifications that are needed for travel, so make sure that you do not forget to allow time to get in to see your vet before you leave on a vacation with your pet.
3. Have a Carrier or Crate
Most travel situations will require that your pet has a crate or travel carrier of some kind to be contained in. This goes for the airplane and for the car in most cases, and it can be a big help if you stay in a hotel or in a new place that is not a house when you are away from home. A carrier or crate can make your pet feel safe and can help to ensure that you have control over your pet’s situation, even when you might not be able to control the other aspects of the place where you are staying.
4. Practice Before You Travel
While you can’t practice flying with your pet, you can practice driving. Taking your pet with you on trips to a few places before you commit to a long vacation with your pet in tow can be a good idea. You should also work on crate training and some of the other skills that your pet will need when they are on the road. The better you both prepare for the trip, the more likely it will be that you will both have fun while you are traveling.
5. Don’t Leave Pets in Parked Cars When It’s Hot
Many people know this, but it cannot be said enough. It can be much hotter in a parked car than you think, and leaving your pet in the hot car while you are getting fuel, or a snack is not a good idea. Many pets die each year due to getting too hot in parked cars. A pet must never be left in a car on a hot day with the windows up. You will want to avoid this problem for you and your pet while you are on the road.
If you can’t be sure that you can bring your pet into the places that you will stop at on the way during your road trip, you should be sure that you bring food and snacks as needed to eliminate times when your pet will be kept in the car when it is not safe for them to be there.
6. Make Sure Your Pet Has a Collar and ID Tag
While no one wants to think about what might happen if their pet got away from them on a trip, you do need to prepare for the worst. If your pet has a collar and ID tag, the people who find your pet can contact you and get them returned to you. This is the best way to protect your pet from getting lost and not being able to find you again. Make sure that both dogs and cats have this kind of protection in place when you travel, even if they don’t wear collars and tags at home. You should have a microchip implanted in your pet and be sure to ask your veterinarian to scan the chip on a regular basis, so in the event your pet escapes or loses the ID tag, you can be reunited.
Traveling With Your Pet Can be Fun
Having your pets along with you on vacation can be a lot of fun. This is one of the things that you can enjoy with your pet so long as you plan for the experience. Having a good travel plan in place for you and your pet can help save both of you frustration and worry as you are traveling. Packing your pet their own travel kit and making sure to practice before you leave for a bigger adventure are both key aspects of traveling successfully with pets.
Make sure that you look for pet-friendly accommodations along your trip route and ensure that you have thought about food and snacks for everyone in the car, as well as the pet. Check out the requirements and rules for documentation along the route of your trip and for air travel as well. Planning ahead can make sure that you and your pet both have a great time on your trip together.
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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