We are entering the days of travel. Soon the snowbirds will be flocking back home to avoid the Arizona heat, college students will be on spring break, and vacationers are beginning to plan their summer trips. While all these things are fun, it’s important to make sure that you are able to accommodate your pet’s needs while traveling. Here are some tips to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety when traveling.
Most importantly, you want to make sure your pet is in good health before you begin traveling. Visit your vet for a medical check-up including making sure that your pet is up to date with all necessary vaccinations. If you will be traveling across state lines, you must obtain a recent health certificate and a certificate of rabies vaccination.
Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats, and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle. It's important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks, or even months, before traveling so that everyone will be comfortable.
When packing for your trip, be sure to include plenty of your pet’s food. You might plan on stopping along the way to pick up more, but you can never be sure that your favorite brand will be available. Also, be sure to include collapsible travel food and water bowls, bedding, litter and litter box, leash, collar and tags, favorite toys, grooming supplies, a pet first-aid kit, and any necessary medications. Most importantly, be sure to have an ample supply of water readily available.
Frequent pit stops are going to be very important when driving with your pet, to ensure their comfort. A good rule of thumb is that your animal can hold it however many hours they are. For example, if they’re two years old = stop every two hours. Generally recommended for all dogs regardless of the age, they should be allowed to stop every 4-5 hours. This way they can stretch, drink water, and readjust their body.
Finally, no matter how convenient it may be, never leave an animal alone in the car.
Flying with your pet can be a stressful and worrisome experience, but you need to stay as calm and connected as you can because your furry friend will feed off of your energy.
Consider booking a flight during ‘non-peak’ hours. This means less passengers and more cabin room. This will help ease some potential stress for your pet.
Make sure that you’re traveling on the same flight as your pet. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet be loaded and unloaded below the cabin, and normally they’re more than happy to accommodate.
Another thing to consider is the breed of your cat or dog. You shouldn’t ship pug-nosed dogs or cats such as Pekingese, Chow Chows, and Persians in the cargo hold. This is because these breeds have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke in cargo holds.
Make sure your pet carrier is the right fit for your animal. Soft-sided carriers are more suitable for carry-on and tend to fit better under the seat, while hard-sided carriers are better for cargo hold storage. The size of the carrier should allow your pet to be able to lie down, stand up, and turn around. It should also have proper ventilation and comfort. To help your pet be well-adjusted and comfortable, don’t forget to use the carrier ahead of time so it is not a brand new experience.
While you might think that your pet’s flying experience will be better if you give them a tranquilizer, it is simply not good for your pet’s health. However, it is important for animals to have new experiences and learn about traveling. If you have further concerns about traveling with your pet, but sure to consult your veterinarian.
Upon arriving at your destination, wait to open the carrier until you’re in a safe place to examine your pet. Once he/she is out, make sure you evaluate your pet. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a nearby vet.
All of these things are important when traveling with animals, but all things considered, you know your pets the best. Pay attention to them, love on them, and enjoy your trip!
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