Traveling with Pets

Tips for a Trouble-Free Trip

Family pets are often a big part of the family, and it’s hard to leave those pals behind when you head out of town. With these simple tips, your pet won’t have to miss out on one fun moment of the family’s big vacation!

Get a Clean Bill of Health

Before you take your beloved pet anywhere, visit the vet for an overall checkup, and if necessary, get vaccinations appropriate for the area to which you are traveling.

Many airline and state officials mandate a clean bill of health in the form of a health certificate dated within 10 days prior to travel before your pet can fly with you. And keep in mind: even if your pet is in tip-top shape, traveling abroad sometimes requires an automatic quarantine upon arrival.

Always keep an ID collar with your name and phone number on your pet, and always travel with their favorite toys, proof of vaccination and proper licenses. Bring color photos of your pet as well, in case of an emergency.

Seeing-Eye Dogs

If you are a disabled person traveling with a seeing-eye dog, notify your destination hosts and airline ahead of time.

Pets on Planes

Because airlines limit the number of pets that can be on board at once, notify the airline when your reservation is made that you’re bringing your pet along. Also ask for the allowable dimensions of your pet carrier. Regulations state that dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and fully-weaned before flying. If your pet is pregnant or in heat, do not subject them to air travel.

If your pet is less than 15 pounds and you are on a domestic flight, you may be able to fit a small, airline-approved kennel under the seat in front of you. On international flights, larger animals can be shipped (for a fee) in the forward cargo bins, which are climate-controlled.

Traveling “Kennel” Class

Be sure to not underestimate the importance of a quality travel pet kennel, regardless whether you’re traveling by bus, car, plane or train. Let your pet eat and sleep there to acclimate before you leave. Put in a favorite toy, so they may get best accustomed to the kennel in time for travel.

On the Road with Fido

Be careful if you’re driving to your destination. Countless pets die each year from heat stroke after being left alone in hot cars for even a brief time. Generally, if you leave your car, your pet should leave as well. Never let your animal jump around or hang out the window; it’s dangerous for you both.

If your pet is unaccustomed to car trips, increase their time in the car before leaving on vacation to help with acclimation. One piece of sugar candy – not chocolate – before hitting the road may help quell motion sickness. Your pet should be fed four hours prior to air travel, and six hours before a car trip.

Your Pets and Hotels

Call ahead to make sure your hotel allows pets. Once there, clean up after your pet – don’t abuse the privilege. Likewise, pack a supply of plastic bags to make this chore easier. Request a room at the end of the hall so other guests aren’t bothered by the possible noise.

So plan ahead, bring the right supplies and rely on these Tips on Traveling With Pets to ensure that you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable trip.