We love our pets and they are part of the family. So when we go on a trip, of course we want our pets to come along too!
There are things we need to consider before traveling with them, steps we need to take before we hit the road, and ways to make the trip enjoyable for them! Here is your guide for easy and breezy traveling with your furry friends this summer.
Things to Ask Yourself Before Traveling With Your Pet
Is my pet welcome where I will be traveling?
There are increasingly more places that do accept pets, but not every place will appreciate your furry friend. Check ahead with all of the places you will be staying and ensure that they are pet friendly. Sites such as Go Pet Friendly will help you not only find pet friendly lodging, but also locate stores, restaurants, attractions, events, and more that accept your pet.
Is my pet fit to travel?
There are many factors to consider before taking a long car ride or plane ride with your pet. Do they enjoy being in the car or are they quite distressed during travel? Do they get car sick? Do they have medical problems that could be worsened with travel, such as a pet with arthritis or a pet with a heart condition that could worsen with stress? Sometimes what’s best for our pets is not to take that trip with us.
What diseases and parasites, such as fleas and ticks, do I need to be concerned about when traveling with my pet?
This is something to discuss with your veterinarian as they can best advise you on what your pet will need depending on where you will be going. Remember to start your dogs on flea and tick treatment for pets prior to any travel if they are not on flea and tick treatment already.
Will my pet need a health certificate to travel?
Most airlines, international border crossings, and even some states have very specific requirements which may include health certificates, acclimation certificates, vaccinations, or other requirements. Contact your airline before booking to find out what your pet will be required to have. If traveling abroad or outside the continental US (Hawaii for example), you should contact the Consulate or Embassy in that country to find out their regulations. Sites such as Pet Travel Center can help assist you with this.
Steps to Take Before Hitting the Road
Make sure you have proper identification on and for your pet.
Have 2 tags on your pet’s collar- One that includes your name, your address, and your phone number. The second is used when traveling and includes address and phone number for where you are staying as well as your cell phone number where you can be reached. Have your pet microchipped before travel and be sure that your pet’s microchip number is registered and that they have current contact information in order to reach you during travel. Bring along a current photo of your pet in case they run off.
Purchase a crate for your pet to travel in.
This is a safest and most secure way for your pet to travel in the car. It also gives them a nice place to hide when you reach your destination.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian several weeks in advance to make sure your pet is prepared for a trip.
Get copies of your pet’s medical records to carry with you from your veterinarian including current vaccine history and any medications they are on and current testing they’ve had. Also, make sure your pets have all vaccines, parasite testing, and parasite prevention such as VetGuard Plus, that will be needed before heading on the road. Refill any medications your pet needs, as well as any prescription food. If your pet needs something to help calm them during travel, your veterinarian can also discuss options with you at this time.
Obtain a health certificate if needed for travel.
Most of the time a health certificate is only needed if traveling abroad or on various airlines. This will require a trip to your veterinarian (make sure they are accredited and able to write a health certificate) but the timing of when you will need it will vary depending on where you are traveling to so be sure to discuss these details well in advance.
Pack a travel kit for your pet.
Be sure to include a collar, harness, leash, food and water, pet treats, no-spill food and water dishes, toys, bed or blankets, their flea and tick treatments and all medications. Be sure to pack enough supplies to last the entire trip, plus extra just in case.
Prepare a first aid kit for your pet.
Like kids, pets can get get some bumps and scrapes on summer vacations. Packing ointments, bandages, and antiseptic solution keeps you prepared. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a great list of supplies for a pet first aid kit that will help you make your own.
Ways to Make Your Summer Trip Enjoyable for Your Pets
Make sure to take plenty of pit stops during a road trip.
Allow your pet get out and stretch, go potty, and drink some water. Plan to stop every 2-3 hours while on the road and keep them on a leash at all times.
Use a crate to safely secure your pet.
Using a crate or carrier, especially on airplanes, is safer for your pets and safer for you. You can provide a comfy bed or blanket in it as well as their favorite toy to make them feel more at home and the trip more enjoyable.
Don’t feed your pet a big meal right before or during travel.
A big meal can intensify any car sickness that would otherwise be avoided. It also increases the chance for “accidents,” which would not be fun for your pups. Instead, bring some snacks to give them at rest stops.
Keep your pet calm during travel and upon arrival at their destination.
Using products like Thundershirts, a few drops of lavender oil on the collar, or a mild sedative in some instances, can help your pet stay calm, especially if they are puppies or not used to traveling.
Keep the temperature comfortable for your pet and never leave them in the car.
One of the most important summer safety tips for pets to know is to never leave your pet unattended whenever you leave your vehicle. It is extremely dangerous for your pets. On hot summer days, even in the shade with the windows cracked, your car can very quickly heat up to life threatening temperatures in just a matter of minutes.