Summer is a great time to expand your horizons through travel, and if your pet has an adventurous spirit, you may not want to leave them at home. Our team at Pioneer Animal Hospital wants to help by providing tips to ensure your next journey with your pet is safe and enjoyable.
#1: Ensure your pet has an adventuring spirit
Practice taking short trips with your pet before going on a long journey. Traveling can be stressful for pets, and they need time to adjust to the situation. Introduce them to your car, and allow them time to adapt to being inside before starting the vehicle. Once they are comfortable and calm sitting in the running vehicle, drive them around the block. Repeat this exercise, gradually increasing the length of each trip until your pet is used to riding in a car. Having another person with you to comfort your pet and provide praise and treats is a great way to help them enjoy the experience. If your pet remains stressed after several sessions in the car, you may need to consider boarding them when you travel.
#2: Ensure your adventuring pet is healthy for the trip
Many serious health conditions can go undetected until a stressful situation, like travel, exacerbates the problem. Let our veterinary professionals perform a wellness exam on your pet before you set out for parts far and wide. We will check your pet from head to tail, perform routine blood work, and check urinalysis and fecal tests to ensure they are travel ready.
#3: Ensure your adventuring pet has the paperwork they need
If you are traveling across state lines or flying, your pet will need a health certificate. This document is issued by an accredited veterinarian after they determine your pet is not showing any signs of an infectious disease. Certain vaccines also may be required. When driving, the health certificate should be dated within 30 days of your departure; when flying, most airlines require the certificate to be dated within 10 days of your flight.
#4: Ensure your adventuring pet is properly restrained
Your pet should be properly restrained in a moving vehicle to keep both of you safe. Cats and small dogs should be restrained in a carrier secured to the seat or placed on the floor. Larger dogs should be restrained using a specially fitted seat belt harness. Another option is to place your pet in a back compartment and put up a pet barrier to keep them confined. Restraining your pet appropriately will ensure they don’t distract you while you are driving, potentially causing an accident.
#5: Ensure your adventuring pet has proper identification
No one likes to think about losing their pet, but if the worst happens, you want to increase your pet’s chances of being returned to you. The best way to provide permanent identification for your pet is to have them microchipped. This simple, relatively painless procedure can be performed during your pet’s next wellness visit. After the chip is implanted, you can register your pet online, and your information can easily be found if they go missing. Ensure you keep your contact information up to date in the microchip’s registry so you can be reunited with your pet if they get lost. In addition, your pet should always wear a collar and tags labeled with your current contact information.
#6: Ensure your adventuring pet has a bag packed
Your pet will need supplies for the trip. Items you should pack include:
- Food — Ensure you have enough food for the duration of the trip since a change in your pet’s diet can cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Water — Bring water and offer your pet a drink frequently.
- Bowls — Don’t forget food and water bowls.
- Medications — Ensure you pack any medications your pet will need.
- Toys — Bring several toys to keep your pet entertained during the trip.
- Bedding — Bring your pet’s bedding to ensure they remain comfortable.
- Litter — Bring litter, a litter box, and a scoop to clean the box if your cat is traveling with you.
- Plastic bags — Ensure you have a supply of plastic bags to clean up after your pet.
- Cleaning supplies — Pack cleaning supplies in case your pet has an accident.
- Treats — Bring a healthy treat supply to reward your pet for being on their best behavior.
- Pet first aid kit — Include a pet first aid kit in your pet’s bag to help handle any emergencies.
#7: Ensure you are prepared in case your adventuring pet has an emergency
Research veterinarians along your route and at your final destination so you will know where to take your pet for care in case they become sick or are injured.
#8: Ensure your adventuring pet can fly in the cabin with you
The cargo hold of a plane is not a safe place for your pet. They may have to sit in extreme weather conditions while waiting to be loaded on the plane, and during the flight, they may be exposed to changes in pressure. In addition, their crate could shift, resulting in injury to your pet or damage to their crate, which could allow them to escape. Ensure your pet will be allowed to travel in the cabin with you before booking your flight.
Traveling with your pet can be a great experience if you prepare appropriately. Contact our American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited team at Pioneer Animal Hospital if you would like to schedule an appointment for a wellness exam or health certificate before you and your pet head out on your next adventure.