Traveling with Pets – Tips From Your Vet
Traveling with pets can be a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of forethought and preparation to ensure all goes smoothly. For some pets, the jet setter life comes quite naturally, while for others, the whole process is more disruptive and stressful. Regardless, there are many things you should consider when traveling with pets, and we hope these tips will help you plan and execute your upcoming trip flawlessly.
Traveling With Pets: Before You Leave
Before you hit the road or take to the skies, you’ll need to make sure your pet is in shape to travel well. You’ll want to avoid traveling with pets that are ill or injured, and even pets with unpredictable temperaments, as the changes in scenery and routine can often elicit even more unpredictable behavior. If you’re unsure about traveling with your pet, discuss your concerns with your Longwood Veterinarian.
Your travel buddy will need proper identification before you head out. It’s a good idea to purchase an ID tag for your pet’s collar that includes your contact info if you don’t have one already, and incorporating information about where you’re staying is always a great idea too.
If you haven’t already had your pet microchipped, pre-travel is a great time to take that step. Microchipping is a safe and permanent form of identification for your pet that can help reunite you should anything happen. If your pet is already microchipped, just take a few minutes to confirm that all your info is up to date before you depart for your trip.
It’s also a good idea to take photos of any important documents pertaining to your pet’s healthcare history and save them on your phone, just in case. In the event that you find yourself in a vet situation while traveling, this step ensures you have all the necessary information readily available. Some places you may travel to also require an Official Health Certificate or proof of vaccinations for your pet, so having those handy is also a good idea.
Travel Accessories for Your Pet
Before you leave, ensure you have everything you’ll need to keep your pet safe and comfortable during your trip. You’ll want to have a crate that is well-ventilated and large enough so that your pet can comfortably sit, stand, and turn around. Think about food, water, and any medications your pet requires. If you’re planning to fly, make sure you check your airline’s guidelines for pet carrier sizes before you purchase anything new.
Traveling With Pets: Road Trips
If your pet is well-acclimated to car travel around town, you’re ahead of the game. If not, it’s a good idea to spend a little time pre-trip creating a positive association for your pet with car travel. Sit in the car with your pet with the engine off to allow time for your pet to familiarize and get comfortable with spending time in that space.
Plan a few short trips around town to places other than your vet’s office to reinforce that positive association. Dogs with severe anxiety related to traveling may benefit from prescription medications designed to reduce anxiety and provide mild sedation.
You’ll also want to consider pet car seats or travel crates to ensure safety. Letting your pet wander around in your vehicle freely can be dangerous in the event of a car accident. It can also be distracting for a driver to have a pet milling around while you’re on the road. Find a good option for restraining your pet in the car so that everyone stays as safe as possible while you travel.
Just like humans, some pets suffer from motion sickness, which can rear its ugly head during a road trip. To mitigate this, be sure to feed your pet several hours before departure, and plan to make stops every two or three hours for bathroom breaks and a little leg-stretching exercise. Your pet will thank you, and it’ll be good for your human passengers as well. For moderate to severe cases of motion sickness, your veterinarian may suggest a prescription for a medication such as Cerenia.
Traveling With Pets: Pet-Friendly Lodging
Of course, if you plan to bring your furry friend along for your trip or vacation, you’ll need to do your research on the front end. Make sure your lodging is pet-friendly, and there are no special rules or fees you’re unaware of before booking. Look for a place that allows for an easy exit for bathroom trips and walks, and be sure you bring some familiar things like toys and bedding to help make your pet feel more comfortable while you’re away from home.
It’s also a great idea to research pet-friendly restaurants you could visit on your excursion, as well as dog parks or attractions that allow pets. If you plan to leave your pet at your hotel or Airbnb while you’re out and about, make sure you bring anything you’ll need to keep them sequestered and busy, such as baby gates and chew toys. The last thing you want to do is pay fees for destroyed furniture when it’s time to head back home.
Travel Tips From LVC
If you’re planning a trip with your dog or cat, and need more guidance, chat with our helpful team at Longwood Veterinary Center. We are happy to provide additional information for you regarding your specific pet and travel plans, and we’re always a phone call away if you need us. We hope you have a safe and fun time away while traveling with pets!