Traveling with your pet can be great fun! But there is a lot to think about before “hitting the road” with your furry friend. Travel by car within the United States is logistically quite easy, but if you are going to be leaving the continental United States, things can get complicated quickly! Read on for more information to help you answer these questions:
- Should I travel with my pet?
First and foremost, is your pet healthy enough to travel with you? A health check with your veterinarian is important to make sure they can handle an extended trip. Also, it is a good time to update the vaccinations and get a signed rabies certificate to keep with you on your travels at all times. Depending on how you are traveling, a health certificate signed by your veterinarian may be required. For longer trips, bringing bottled water (or tap water from home put in a sturdy container) and a large quantity of their food is a good idea. Also make sure you have enough of the medications they are taking, if any.
Make sure your pet is wearing identification at home and while you travel. A sturdy collar with quality identification tags (or an embroidered collar), and a microchip under the skin. For cats, we recommend the break away collars and a microchip. It is also a good idea to have with you a recent picture of your pet. Depending on where you are going, a microchip may be required as a form of permanent identification, and most veterinary clinics, animal control centers and humane societies have the capabilities to scan a pet for a microchip and get a hold of the owner if a pet was ever lost.
- How should I travel with my pet?
For safety purposes, it is best if your pet is either in a well ventilated crate or wears a seat belt harness in the back seat. These can be purchased and fitted by many pet stores. If you’re in a car and it comes to a sudden stop, being in the front seat can be very dangerous for a pet. Depending on how you are traveling, the crate sizes and structures can vary, and we will talk more about what airlines require of a crate when we get to the section on traveling by plane.
A discussion about sedatives while traveling is one you should have with your veterinarian. Some airlines forbid sedatives for the pet’s safety, and many times you can work your pet up to longer travels by taking shorter car rides with them leading up to the trip instead of using sedatives. On the other hand, if you pet is very anxious, it might make for a better trip for everyone, if a sedative is used.
- How do I prepare for travel?
The first questions are how are you traveling and where are you going? The requirements are different depending on your mode of transportation and final destination. Click on the links at the end of this article for more information on how to prepare for travel.
If you are going to be traveling internationally, or to Hawaii, begin preparations for travel 1 year in advance. Certain countries require rabies titers. The timing of these titers is important with respect to the date the vaccine was given, and when you intend to travel. Each country’s requirements are different, and they change frequently! Having a successful and easy trip requires cooperation and teamwork between client, doctor and staff at Westgate Pet Clinic. Please try to make any necessary travel appointments with the same doctor each time for consistency. Also, please check the USDA website before any travel appointment to see if travel requirements for your final destination have changed.
Call us or schedule an appointment online.
Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.
Put a plan together for your pet.