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Pet Care & Pet Health Information

Traveling with Pets

Pet Travel & Safety
  • You may want to keep a leash on your pet even when in the car to prevent it from trying to bolt out the window if it becomes frightened by something.
  • You should keep a pet travel kit, just as you would a medical kit for yourself. In your pet travel kit, you should keep food, dishes, (a can opener if you have a cat), some treats, a favorite toy, a blanket, and a comb or brush. You may also want to bring a sedative, if prescribed by your vet, just to be safe. Paper towels, deodorant and supplies to clean up after your pet is also a good idea.
  • Air Travel Tips

    Air travel is stressful enough without a pet. Airports are extremely crowded, and you have to schedule and plan in advance to avoid various complications. Here are some things you can do:

  • Call ahead to make sure that your pet will be allowed in a carrier under the seat, or if it must be transported separately.
  • For smaller pets, especially fish, check with the airline freight departments, or pet stores to supply shipping containers for your pet. You should do this in advance to allow your pet to become familiar with its new environment. The transportation process is stressful enough, and smaller animals are often more susceptible to stress and shock that larger ones.
  • Some airlines require a health certificate before they fly. Call ahead to find out what is required.
  • Be sure to feed your pet no less than 5 hours before the flight, and a drink in no less than 2 hours before the flight.
  • Clip your pet's nails to avoid snagging and injuries.
  • Make sure that you and your pet's identification, including the destination, is clearly labeled on your pets tag and kennel. ‘Live animal' should also be added on the kennel in big letters, as well as any additional care information your pet may require.
  • Be early, especially if your pet is coming with you in the airplane. If you are shipping your pet, give yourself two hours to make sure your pet is processed and gets on the flight.
  • Notify the person receiving the pet that it is on the way. Give them the flight and waybill number. Pets can usually be picked up within 90 minutes of flight arrival.
  • Alternatives

    Instead of bringing your pet with you on your travels, you can always keep your pet at home with someone your pet is familiar or comfortable with who can feed and take care of your pet twice a day. A boarding kennel or a professional sitter are also options.

    Be Prepared!

    Call before you leave to make sure your hotel accepts pets. There may be restrictions or fees.

  • Find out where the veterinary clinics are located close to where you are staying.
  • Vaccinations may be required when traveling abroad. Rabies is one that is required to and from the United States. You should take your pet to your vet prior to the trip. Find out what vaccinations are required, and what diseases or problems may exist at your destination.
  • Plan your mode of transportation in advance. Buses and trains will not allow dogs on board. Airlines have various rules and restrictions, call in advance to avoid problems.
  • Avoid crowded times of the day and places that may make your pet nervous or skittish.
  • Even if your pet is naturally docile and calm, it may suddenly bolt for open windows or doors when confronted with new and unusual surroundings, people, and smells. Using a leash is often the best preventative for a lost pet.
  • An identification tag is also always a god idea, especially when your pet is in unfamiliar territory. You should always keep identification tags on your pet, as well as a leash for your dog when it is outside. You may also want to bring along a current photo of your pet for identification purposes in case your pet does become lost.
  • Car Travel Tips

    Car rides are filled with potential hazards. You should avoid leaving your pet unattended in the vehicle. It is easy for your pet to get heatstroke. If you must leave your pet in the vehicle while you are gone, leave at least two windows open for a cross draft and fresh air. A car can heat up to devastating temperatures in a very short amount of time. Here are some tips:

  • Plan for twice as many rest stops as you would for your children. Animals need time to stretch and go to the bathroom more often than humans.
  • Feed your pet only a few small meals before leaving on your trip to avoid motion sickness.
  • Take your pet for ‘warm up' car rides to prepare your pet for the long ride ahead, especially if your pet has never been on a car ride before.
  • If you have a dog, teach it to lay down quietly inside of the vehicle, and avoid allowing it to stick its head out of the windows. This may be a bother to other drivers, as well as a hazard to your dog's eyes.
  • If you have a cat, you won't be able to train it. However, some cats will lay comfortably in a corner of the car, while others may need to be placed in a carrier.
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