Traveling with your pet can be fun if you plan ahead and take the appropriate steps to ensure the trip is a success. Our team at Sale Creek Veterinary Services wants to help by offering do’s and don’ts when traveling with your pet.
DO ensure your pet is healthy enough to travel
Traveling can be stressful for pets, and you want to ensure they are healthy enough for the experience. Bringing your pet in for a routine wellness exam is the best way to know if they are up to the trip. Older pets, obese pets, and brachycephalic breeds are at increased risk for veterinary emergencies while traveling, but any pet should have a clean bill of health before going on a trip. In addition, you will need a health certificate dated within 30 days of your departure if you are crossing state lines. If you are flying, your airline may require a health certificate dated within 10 days of your departure. Check with your carrier in advance to ensure you have the appropriate paperwork.
DON’T neglect your pet’s preventive care when traveling
Ensure your pet is up to date on their vaccines to protect them from preventable diseases, and don’t allow their parasite prevention medication to lapse while traveling. Your pet will continue to need protection against fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites regardless of where they are. Ensure you have a supply of these prevention medications if you are going to be away for an extended period.
DO ensure your pet is identified appropriately
Your pet should have a sturdy leash and collar, and wear the collar at all times while traveling. Identification tags with your current contact information should be attached to your pet’s collar. In addition, you should consider having your pet microchipped, which is the best way to have them returned to you if they go missing. Bringing along a current picture of your pet is also a good idea in case they get lost.
DON’T let your pet remain loose in the car
Pets should always be restrained in a moving vehicle. Allowing them to move around in your car can lead to accidents if they distract you or physically interfere with your driving. A crate is the safest option and should be placed on the floor in the back seat or secured in the rear cargo area. Harness-style seat belts are also available to restrain your pet, but ensure the product is fitted appropriately for them.
DO practice traveling with your pet
When going on a trip, your departure date shouldn’t be the first time your pet experiences a car ride. You should allow them to become accustomed to their carrier or crate, and take them on increasingly longer car rides to ensure they will be comfortable during your trip. These practice rides also will let you know if your pet is prone to car sickness so you can be prepared.
DON’T leave your pet alone in the car
The temperature in an unattended vehicle can skyrocket, putting your pet in danger of heat stroke. Never leave your pet alone in a parked car, and don’t make the mistake of thinking parking in the shade or cracking the windows will mitigate the problem. If you can’t take your pet inside an establishment, keep driving until you find a pet-friendly location.
DO pack a bag for your pet
When packing for your trip, don’t forget your pet’s supplies. You should bring food and water for your pet, food and water bowls, an extra leash, toys, treats, plastic bags to remove waste material, medications your pet needs, a pet first aid kit, and cleaning supplies.
DON’T sedate your pet when traveling
Sedating or tranquilizing your pet is not a good idea when traveling because the medications may cause them to have breathing problems, blood pressure problems, or problems regulating their body temperature. If your pet has anxiety issues or nausea when traveling, ask your veterinary professional about alternative ways to address these concerns.
DO research your travel route and destination for pet-friendly accommodations
Many hotels and motels don’t allow pets, so research in advance which establishments will welcome your pet. In addition, research emergency veterinary practices along your travel route and at your final destination to ensure you know where to take your pet for veterinary care in case of an emergency.
DON’T fly if your pet must travel in the plane’s cargo area
Your pet may be left in extreme temperatures while waiting to be loaded onto the plane, and may experience extreme temperatures and drastic pressure changes during the flight. In addition, your pet’s crate may shift during the flight, resulting in injury or a broken cage that could allow them to escape. The cargo area is not a safe area for pets, and you should only fly with them if they can accompany you in the plane’s cabin.
Traveling with your pet can be successful if you follow these do’s and don’ts. If you are planning a trip with your pet, contact our team at Sale Creek Veterinary Services so we can ensure they are travel ready.
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