The holidays are right around the corner. Travel typically increases this time of year. Many families are including their furry companions in the holiday festivities and often bring them along while they are traveling.
Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe while traveling and away from home.
- Make sure your pet has a microchip and that all of your contact information is up to date in case you are separated. If your pet wears a collar, be sure their ID tag is secure and has all of your updated contact information as well.
- It is always a great idea to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Consider keeping a copy of your pet’s vaccination certificate in your glove box or suitcase for easy access. If they are not up to date, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment.
- If traveling by car, make sure your pet is secured safely. Confining your pet to a carrier is always recommended to keep them safe while driving. Seatbelts and dog car barriers are other great options. It is always advised to keep cats secure in their carriers; dogs shouldn’t be loose in the bed of an open truck, allowed on the driver’s lap, or travel somewhere where they could be injured by an airbag in the event of an accident. Keeping your pet confined helps reduce the risk of distracted driving or accidents caused by scared, excited, or nervous pets.
Plan your route and make frequent stops to let your pet go to the bathroom, offer water or food, and let your pet stretch their legs during the journey. Drive carefully and follow the rules of the road since you have precious cargo.
- Not all pets tolerate travel well. Utilizing species specific pheromones, like Adaptil and Feliway, can help reduce fear, anxiety, and stress your pet might experience in the car. Sometimes pheromones alone are not enough, and your pet may benefit from a prescription from their veterinarian to help take the edge off or to help with any car sickness/nauseas they might experience. It is helpful to do a practice run before leaving on a long drive to make sure your pet tolerates the medication and responds to it well
- If traveling by air, it is imperative to do your homework before leaving for the trip. Follow guidelines specific for the area you will be traveling to and requirements established by the airline you are traveling with. Schedule health certificates and required vaccinations in the appropriate travel window. Make sure you have acquired all required travel documents before leaving for the airport and brought all of your pet’s supplies (including a secure carrier approved by the airline if your pet is not able to accompany you in the cabin).
- Pack enough food, water, prescription medications, treats, and toys for your trip. Ensuring that your pet has familiar items with them upon arrival is important to help them acclimate to their new surrounding upon arrival.
- Research veterinary hospitals around your destination. This will come in helpful if an emergency arises.
- Plan accommodations in advance. Book pet friendly lodging or ask permission to bring your pet with you if you are staying with someone. Be aware of hazards at these locations. Are fences secure? Is a screen missing from a window? Are there any harmful plants or toxins accessible to your pet. If traveling with a cat, it can be helpful to confine them to one room while they acclimate to the new sounds, smells, and stimuli.
Your pet’s safety is a vital component to consider when traveling with them. New things and places can be exciting, but remember that it may take your pet a little more time to adjust to the journey and their new, temporary, accommodations. Be patient while they adjust and remember to give them lots of snuggles.