Traveling is a taxing event. Everything from planning, packing, and navigating can take a mental toll on you. Traveling with your pet comes with its own set of stress-inducing factors. With the help of some great accredited organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and America Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), we bring it to you some travel safety tips for you and your pets to make this trip a carefree one!
Whether you are traveling by land, air or sea, make sure:
- Your pet has a microchip and that it is registered to your accurate contact information. This way if your pet were to get lost during the travel, they can easily be returned to you.
- Your pet has been bathed and groomed.
- You have their recent updated medical history, proof of vaccination, rabies vaccine certificate and a current health certificate (especially when crossing borders.)
- You have researched your accommodations in advance. Look for pet-friendly places. Be mindful of hotels who are pet-friendly but have certain weight, breed and size restrictions.
Traveling by land:
- Make sure you make frequent stops to allow your pet some movement, bathroom relief, etc.
- If your pet is not used to travel, take him or her out for short “happy” rides, give them positive reinforcements, treats, etc. This will get them some confidence when it is time to go on a real trip.
- All cats while traveling should be confined in a cat carrier to allow them to feel safe and secure, and so they don’t crawl in spaces where they could either distract the driver or hurt themselves.
- It is safer for dogs to be in the back seat with harnesses or other seat belt accessories to secure them while they travel.
- Pack a small pet first-aid kit that includes bandage material, antiseptic wipes/cream, anti-diarrhea medication (approved by your veterinarian), gauze, cotton, hydrogen peroxide, a towel, thermometer, pill pockets, collapsible bowls, etc.
Traveling by air:
- The task with the highest priority is to make sure you have checked the rules and regulations of the airlines you will be using for travel. Airlines are often updating their pet travel regulations.
- Most airlines require pets to have had a wellness exam done and a veterinary health certificate issued within 10 days prior to travel.
- If you are traveling internationally and need an international health certificate for your pet. Check the USDA website for a list of pet travel policies by country and call us today to make an appointment for your pet with one of our USDA accredited veterinarians.
- It is very important that you have an approved transport crate for your pets. They should be large enough to accommodate your pet sitting and standing (without having to touch the top of the cage), is well ventilated, has a solid leak-proof bottom and can be secured well.
- Make sure your pet’s crate has a label that includes your name, home address phone number, destination and contact information of someone at the destinations. Be sure to also designate the terms “Live Animals” with arrows indicating crate’s upright position.
- On the day of the flight be sure to be early, exercise your pet well and test the crate one more time. Tell them you love them, and that you will see them as soon as you land!
Traveling can be stressful and can often make us forget important things. To keep things organized use this sample pet travel list to make you own:
- Primary Veterinarian information.
- Updated medical records with updated weight and vaccine dates.
- Information for veterinarians/emergency hospitals near the place you are traveling to.
- Updated Microchip and collar tag ID.
- Pet first-aid kit. (Details above)
- A recent photo with a written description of your pet – name, breed, weight, color, gender, height and any unique markings.
- Approved pet carrier or harness while flying or driving.
- Motion sickness – If your pet can get car sick, Consult your veterinarian, they will be able to recommend remedies or medications that will make your pet more comfortable while traveling.
- Travel anxiety supplements or medications (Vet approved)
- Heartworm and Tick-Flea preventatives. If you are going away for a long period and don’t want the hassle of remembering to give the monthly heartworm pill, contact us to find out about PROHEART 12, a single injection that will protect your pet from heartworm for 12 months.
- Bedding, crates, leash, food, pet shampoo and poop bags
- Weather dependent essentials – Pet sunscreen (yes pets can also get sunburnt) or paw balm/butter (to keep them from getting dry and chapped)
- Collapsible bowls
- Extra collar and leash
- Favorite toys and treats!!
- Important paperwork such as International health certificate, airline tickets, receipts, health records, health certificate, etc.
- Phone book –
- National Animal Poison Control (ASPCA website) – 888-426-4435
- Primary Veterinarian contact information.
- Destination Veterinarian information (if available)
- Airline Operator with an extension to ‘Pet Travel’
Happy and safe travels to you! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet before you travel, please don’t hesitate to contact Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital at (201) 646-2008.