Tips for Traveling with your Pets this Holiday Season
The holiday season is upon us, and many of us are traveling to spend time with friends and family. But what about Fido and Fluffy? Traveling with pets can be stressful for you and for your pet. The following information was compiled from the American Veterinary Medical Association to make traveling with your pets easier.
Planning and Preparation
This is a necessary part of traveling with your pets. Consider whether your pet is comfortable traveling. Some animals, like some people, function better in familiar surroundings. A car-sick animal can make a trip miserable for everyone. Some ill or physically impaired dogs and cats cannot withstand the rigors of travel. If this is the case, discuss options such as using a reliable pet sitter or a clean, well managed boarding facility or dog day care with your veterinarian.
If you will be staying with friends along the way, be considerate. Find out in advance if your pet is welcome. The same goes for hotels, motels, parks and campgrounds. Always check whether pets are allowed or kennel facilities are available. If the pet must be left alone in a hotel room, place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and inform the maid and the front desk. Consider bringing along a portable kennel for use in hotel rooms or the homes of friends or relatives who are not comfortable with your pet in their home.
A few general tips apply whether you are traveling by car or plane. Be sure your pet is properly identified with a current tag or a microchip. Grooming before a trip and having your pet’s favorite food, toys and dishes available will make your pet more comfortable. Have both proof of rabies vaccine and a current health certificate with you when crossing state or international boarders. This is a requirement for airlines and at international boarders. It is also a good idea to check with your veterinarian to be sure all recommended vaccines are current.
When traveling by car, pack a simple pet first-aid kit that includes assorted bandages, antiseptic cream, an antidiarrheal medicine that is safe for pets (ask your veterinarian for a recommendation and dose for your size pet), gauze squares, and the phone numbers of your veterinarian, a national poison control hotline, and a 24 hour emergency animal hospital.
In addition to a standard identification tag (which should be labeled with your name, home address and phone number), your pet’s collar should include a travel name tag with information on where you are staying when you are away from home. Should your pet become lost, this will allow you to be contacted locally.
Perform a daily “health check” on your pet when away from home. In unfamiliar surroundings, your pet’s appetite, energy level, and disposition may change. Watch for unusual discharge from the eyes and nose, excessive scratching or biting, unusual lumps or bumps, limping, loss of appetite, abnormal elimination, or excessive water consumption. Call or visit your local veterinarian if you are concerned about any physical or behavioral changes.