Summer Travel with Your Pet
By Dr. Clayton Barton
Summer is the season for vacations. Most likely, you have made travel plans. The question is, will your pet go with you? Vacations involve a great deal of planning, so whether you are taking your best friends with you or leaving them behind, here are some things to consider:
- Air travel. Contact the airline early to reserve a space for your pet. Know the weight of your pet, as this will likely determine whether it can fly in the cabin or in the cargo area. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within ten days of your departure date. The health certificate is like your passport. If you suspect your pet may become anxious or uncomfortable on the flight, check with your veterinarian for ways to relax your pet during the flight.
- Road Trip. Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and heading off, especially if you are traveling long distances or plan to be gone for a long period of time. Prep your pet for the long trip. You may consider taking it on a few short drives first, then gradually lengthening the duration of these trips. If you are traveling across state lines, make sure you have your pet’s vaccination record up to date and with you. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof.
Keep your pet safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Your pet’s carrier should be large enough for it to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in. Secure the crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you choose not to use a crate, make sure your pet is in a harness and the harness is attached to the seat belt. You should never let your dog ride with his head out of the window.
- Staying home. If you choose to leave your pet and have chosen to board it, remember that most boarding facilities require all your pet’s vaccinations to be up to date. Please plan ahead in order to get your pet an appointment with the veterinarian. Most veterinarians suggest vaccines be given at least ten days prior to being boarded.
Bringfido.com recommends the following items for your packing list: health certificate and medical records; contact information for your regular veterinarian and an emergency contact at your destination; comb, brush, and flea control products; special medication your pet might need; spare collar with an ID tag; pet wipes or grooming products; paper towels and stain remover; enough dog food and treats for the entire trip; plenty of bottled water; food and water dishes; leash and poop bags; your dogs favorite toy and blanket; and a list of pet-friendly restaurants and attractions at your destination.