Traveling With Your Pet (Post Pandemic Tips 2022)

By Tamara Sevigny

Traveling with your pet involves more than putting the animal in a car and driving off, especially if you’re traveling far away. There are many things to consider before sticking fido or fluffy into a crate and taking off.

  • First, you should contact your veterinarian, a great source for information. Ask your veterinarian if they recommend another doctor in your destination area. You also can call the American Animal Hospital Association at 800-883-6301 for the names and phone numbers of AAHA veterinarians near your destination. You might even consider checking into the facility before an emergency strikes. Make sure it meets your expectations in the areas of cleanliness, caring and well-trained staff, reasonable fees, and convenient hours.
  • Keep your current veterinarian’s phone number handy in case of an emergency or if your new veterinarian needs more information about your pet. Bring with you a copy of your pet’s medical records, especially if the animal has a difficult medical history. Also consider getting your pet examined before traveling, particularly if your pet has medical problems.
  • If your pet is on medication, be sure to have plenty for the trip, even some extra. Veterinarians cannot write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship. This means that in order to get any medication, your pet will need to be examined first by the local doctor. This may be inconvenient if you need medication right away. You may ask your current veterinarian for a prescription to take with you.
  • Traveling can be stressful on pets and some pets travel better while tranquilized. Discuss this with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may suggest giving your pet a tranquilizer three to four weeks before your trip to check the dosage and adjust it if necessary.
  • If your pet is on a special diet, purchase an extra supply in case you can’t find the food right away at your destination. Travel is stressful enough on a pet without having a change in food and possible stomach upset from switching foods.
  • Carry a first aid kit for your pet. While first aid is no substitute for veterinary care, knowing basic first aid could save your pet’s life.
  • Always book ahead with hotels that accept animals, not all hotels are willing to take in your furry friends. If you are traveling by plane, call the airline in advance to check out regulations and services. Keep in mind that there is usually a charge, up to $100 each way per carrier. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, but you will need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Other airlines don’t accept pets at all, even in the cargo areas.
  • You should also know about your destination area before you get there. Your veterinarian can tell you if there are any diseases like heartworm or Lyme disease and vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. Some places have restrictions on exotic animals (ferrets are not allowed in some cities), and there are restrictive breed laws in others, such as no Pit Bulls allowed. Your pet could be affected by these laws, so call ahead to the city or travel information bureau for more information.
  • If you are traveling between countries, it is very important to carry a rabies vaccine certificate. Expect your pet to be quarantined in certain locations. Many foreign countries have quarantine periods. Call the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to where you are traveling for information on special documents, quarantine, and additional costs to bring the animal into the country.
  • To avoid losing your pet during travel, make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag. Consider putting two tags on your pet, one with local contact information and one with your home contact information. To be doubly protected, consider having your pet tattooed or having a microchip implanted.
  • In the end if you choose to leave your pets at home this requires some consideration as well. Will you use a kennel or a pet sitter? Will your pet sitter stay in your home the entire time you are away? Or just stop by a few times a day to offer play time and feeding? Either way you go get recommendations from your veterinarian and make sure your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date if you use a kennel. Have the pet sitter come over and meet your pets a couple of times before your trip, so there is time for bonding.

Whatever you choose to do or where you decide to go just make sure you are prepared. Your pet will be more comfortable and you will be less stressed in the event of an emergency.

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