Your Life

Keeping Pets Safe and Comfortable While Traveling

For many of us with pets, we wouldn’t dream of leaving home without them. We want to share the fun of family vacations with the whole family, including the four-legged members we love so dearly. While it may be a simple affair to bring them along for a quick trip to the park or to a friend’s house down the street, going on vacation with your furry friend requires a lot more forethought. But don’t worry! With careful planning and preparation, you can ensure the trip is comfortable and safe for everyone, pets included.

78% of owners and their four-legged friends are driving and flying together more now than ever before.

Whether you are driving or traveling by air, here are a few recommendations for preparing your pet for your next trip.

Visit the vet. Talk with your vet about medications for travel. Will your pet experience anxiety or travel sickness? If so, having the right medications on hand to treat these symptoms will make the trip easier and more comfortable for everyone. If your pet has not taken these types of medications in the past, ask your vet about testing the medications with your pet prior to traveling to ensure there are no adverse side effects.

Prepare a travel kit. Having the right items on hand will make your trip much smoother. Some supplies to consider for your travel kit include food, bowls, a leash, harness, waste scoop and plastic bags, medication and first-aid supplies, a favorite toy or pillow, and any travel documents. One item most don’t consider is plenty of water – providing your pet drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort. Click here for a more detailed list of suggested travel kit items.

Have the right identification. Get your pet microchipped and keep your microchip registration information up to date. In addition, keep a collar on your pet with an ID tag imprinted with their name, your phone number, and other relevant contact information.

“An unregistered microchip is like a lighthouse with no light; its potential to guide is lost. Take the simple yet crucial step of ensuring your pets’ chips are registered with updated contact information. It’s a small and simple act that can make the difference between despair and a joyful reunion with your beloved pets.” — Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Let’s Hit the Road!

Keep your family and pets safe and comfortable in the car with these tips:

  • It is not safe for you or your pet if they are moving around in the car while you are traveling. The safest way for your pet to travel in the car is in a carrier that is secured in the vehicle with an anchor or seatbelt. The carrier should be well-ventilated and big enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down.
  • Do not allow pets to travel in the front seat. In the event of an accident, the deployment of airbags could be fatal for your pet.
  • If your pet has not been on longer road trips, prepare them in advance with short trips and gradually build up to longer amounts of time in the car.
  • Give your pet a light meal three to four hours before traveling. To avoid motion sickness, don’t feed your pets while the car is moving. Stop the car for feeding breaks.
  • Stop regularly to allow your pet time to stretch their legs and drink water.
  • Keep your pet restrained at all times when they are out of the vehicle.
  • Do not leave pets alone in a parked car. This leaves them vulnerable to extreme (hot or cold) temperatures and theft.

Have a Nice Flight!

Traveling by air is complicated with pets, but taking time to prepare well in advance can make the experience easier.

  • Check with your airline and travel destination for requirements you must meet for your pet to go with you. Find out if your pet will be able to travel in the cabin with you and know what regulations there are for vaccinations and quarantine. Traveling outside the U.S. may involve additional planning and health care requirements.
  • Visit your vet and obtain a signed health certificate for your pet no more than 10 days prior to travel. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date.
  • If your pet must travel in the luggage or cargo area of the airplane, plan for a direct flight to minimize time in the cargo area and avoid the risk of your pet being mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover. Arrange to fly on the same flight as your pet. Fly during times when temperature ranges are within 45 to 85 degrees to avoid your pet being exposed to extreme temperatures.

While you are preparing for your next vacation with your furry friend, don’t forget about pet insurance. Learn how it works in this article.

For more helpful tips on traveling with pets, click the links below:


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