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Traveling With Your Pet – Flying, Taking a Road Trip, or Just Across Town

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Traveling with your pet can be an exciting, rewarding experience. Whether you are heading out for a weekend camping trip or a trip farther away, taking your pet along may be a priority for you. Leaving them home simply may not be an option. Many pets enjoy traveling happily with their families. However, some pets get anxious, car-sick, or worse, lost when traveling away from home.

Some things to keep in mind when planning a trip with your pet include the following:

  1. How far are you planning to travel? A relatively short trip to the veterinarian clinic? A longer drive? Flying on an airplane? Each kind of trip takes its own planning and considerations.
  2. If you have a new puppy or kitten, you will want to start slowly with short trips to gradually get them accustomed to car travel.
  3. A car-sick animal is no fun for everyone. Try to help them adjust by starting with short trips and gradually increase the distance. Sometimes they will be able to tolerate longer rides as they learn to adjust or grow out of it as they mature. If they continue to suffer from car sickness, try to make sure they are not traveling on a full stomach, that they get plenty of fresh air, and schedule regular breaks. Your veterinarian can also help prevent car sickness with medication if needed.
  4. Pack their bag carefully. Take their regular food to prevent digestive issues. Pack items such as bowls for food and water, their favorite toy, or a blanket or bed that is familiar to them. A kennel or cage may be a good idea if you have space.
  5. Safety first! Make sure to bring leashes, collars, or harnesses, and bring an extra just in case. If your pet is not microchipped, this is a good time to consider getting that done. A tag on their collar or leash that includes their name and your contact information is also important to identify your pet and help if they get separated from you.
  6. Vaccinations are critically important for your pet’s health and safety. Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. Ask your veterinarian which vaccinations they recommend for the type of traveling you are doing with your pet. If you are traveling to state parks, going to another state, or out of the country, your pet may be required to be current on certain vaccinations like Rabies.
  7. Did you know that when traveling across state lines, out of state, or out of the country pets must have a health certificate from your veterinarian? Many airlines have their own requirements for pets that travel with or without their owners. The health certificate and exam by your veterinarian must be completed within a specific time frame which varies based on where you are going and any airline specific requirements. Sometimes the process has several steps that must be done in a certain order and time frame to allow your pet to enter that county or places like Hawaii. We always recommend checking the state or county’s requirements prior to making your travel plans. Also check with your airline carrier for any requirements they may have. Without the proper documents, your pet may get denied access to your flight or be detained.

Vacationing and traveling with a pet can build many happy memories. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we are happy to help you to travel safely with your pet wherever you may go. We are here to help with anxiety issues, health needs, microchip identification, safety concerns, or health certificates before you go.

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