Before you head out on vacation, take a look at these tips for traveling with pets for a safe and smooth trip.
Schedule a vet appointment
Before you leave, take your cat or dog to the vet for a checkup. At this appointment, ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate dated within 7-10 days of your trip that you may need for different checkpoints.
No matter if you’re traveling by car or plane, make sure your pets have current contact information on their collar. In addition, you might want to consider microchipping your pet, if you haven’t already, in case of separation. If you have a set destination, you can use a temporary travel tag that includes the phone number and address of the place you are staying during your vacation.
Pack pet supplies
Just as you need to pack your own suitcase, gather necessary supplies for your furry friend. Pack extra collars, leashes, toys, along with travel food and water bowls. Bring some blankets and favorite toys to help comfort your four-legged friend in an unfamiliar environment. For dogs that are known for marking their territory, don’t forget to pack potty pads and belly bands. If you suspect that your pet will be afraid on the trip, try using Ark Naturals Happy Traveler or Nature's Miracle Just For Cats No Stress Calming Spray to ease anxiety and motion sickness
Your usual treats, food and water are good to bring because introducing new foods and water can cause an upset stomach. However, avoid feeding your pet in the car. A few hours prior to departure, feed your furry friend a light meal to reduce air sickness and this will allow you to get some miles under your belt for a road trip before stopping.
Keep them secure
Use a well-ventilated crate or carrier to transport your pet safely. Check to see if there is enough room for them to stand, sit, lie down and turn around. Secure the crate with a harness on a seat or place below your seat on a plane. In the car, always keep paws and heads within the vehicle at all times. Line the crate or carrier with an absorbent material, such as shredded paper or a towel to soak up any accidents.
Familiarize them with driving
If your pet doesn’t have much experience being in the car, especially for long distances, consider getting them used to the experience. Take them on short drives and gradually increase the time spent in the car to get acquainted with an extended drive.
Keep supplies close
While traveling, keep necessary supplies accessible, including food, bowls, leashes, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any necessary travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
Book a direct flight
Before booking your ticket, research to ensure your pet’s breed isn’t restricted from flying due to health reasons. Many people choose to avoid flying with pets (unless they are small enough to store under the seat), but if necessary try your best to book a direct flight. This will decrease the chances that your pet is mishandled, or left on the tarmac during poor weather conditions during a layover.
Prep crate for plane
Make certain that your crate is a USDA-approved shipping crate and attach a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet if they get hungry during a layover. Freeze a small bowl of water for the flight so that it will melt by the time they are thirsty while reducing spills. Keep the crate door securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency. Include your name, phone number, destination phone number, a photo of your pet and indicate “Live Animal” on the side of your crate in case they escape the carrier.