January 2nd is the official National Travel Pet Safety Day and in honor of that we are about to give you some ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ regarding hitting the road (or air) with your fur kids.
Let’s talk local travel first, then save the further travel for later in this post, shall we? Most people travel local with their pets. When you want to take your baby to the vet, groomer, or just across town for a play-date with your friends dog, you’ll want to follow these simple guidelines:
- Use a seat belt if you have a dog. You won’t want to use the human seat belt from your car (it won’t work very well) – But they make special ones just for dogs (here’s a link if you want to check it out further: Dog Seat Belt ) If you’re traveling with a cat, use a carrier. You never ever want your pet to be unrestrained in a moving vehicle. This can have devastating consequences if there is even a tiny fender-bender.
- Keep your windows UP when traveling in a car. If your dog just LOVES to stick his nose out the window and you feel your depriving him of one of life’s simplest pleasures, then only open the window enough to let his nose out.
- Don’t put your dog in the bed of a pick up. Even if he is restrained or crated. Don’t do it.
- Carry extra food and water provisions as a ‘just in case’ measure. You may never need them, but in the event you do, you’ll be glad you thought ahead.
- Carry a pet first aid kit in your glove box. Here’s another link: Pet First Aid Kit
Now let’s move on to trips of a bit larger scale. Sometimes you will want to take your pet on a vacation with you and there is air travel involved. (Of course, if you CAN’T take your pet on vacation – you can always call your most excellent pet sitter (The Pet Parlor) and they will will be happy to care for your pet while you’re on vacation. Thank you for letting me shamelessly plug, lol!) When thinking in terms of lengthier travel, you’ll want to consider:
- Make sure you’ve got all the proper documentation with you (pet files that include medical data, recent pictures, vaccination certificates, etc.)
- Check with the airline and get their specific guidelines for your pets travel. Don’t be shy about asking what their policies and procedures are when it comes to what your pet will be going through while traveling.
- Get a high quality carrier or crate to safely house your pet for travel.
- Remember to pack extra medications for your trip (even ones you only have to use occasionally)
- Get a health certificate within 10 days of travel, signed by a USDA-licensed veterinarian stating that the animal is healthy enough to travel by air and is
free of injury and disease.
- Temperature is important when traveling by air. Here is a great reference for pet travel from American Airlines that you can use a guide (of course, always check with the airline you’ve chosen to carry your pet) American Airlines Pet Travel Checklist
Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful for either of you. It can be a fun experience as long as you think ahead and prepare for your (and your pet’s) needs. Happy (and safe) travels!