How to Safely Travel with Your Pets

Safely Traveling With PetsAs a pet owner you may think your trip will be more enjoyable if you can bring Fido along, but, traveling is very stressful for your pets. Before you leave, you should make sure your pet is microchipped and has your information printed on their calendar. Otherwise the type of trip you take will have a heavy influence on your pet care.

Traveling by Plane

You should avoid this type of a trip unless Fido can fit under your seat. However, if this isn’t possible and you must still take Fido with you, make sure you heed these tips for proper pet care:

  • Do your best to book a direct flight whenever possible so it’s less likely Fido gets left on the tarmac or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate that’s big enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Line it with bedding (e.g. shredded paper or towels) to absorb accidents. Tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so Fido can be fed if he gets hungry. Also freeze a small dish or tray of water so it won’t spill but is there for them when they’re thirsty. Never lock the crate because you want airline personnel to be able to open it in case of an emergency. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” and your name, cell phone number, and photo of your pet – carry this same photo with you as well in case Fido escapes from his carrier.

Taking a Road Trip

You can’t expect to just load Fido in your backseat and drive away, especially if you’re driving a long distance or will be gone for a long time. Instead, you should heed these pet care tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip:

  • Take Fido on short drives before spending a lot of time in the car. If you plan to cross state lines, make sure you have his rabies vaccination record with you as some states will want to see this.
  • Use a well-ventilated crate or carrier to keep Fido safe and secure. Make sure it’s big enough for him to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s secure enough that it won’t slide or shift if you stop abruptly. If you don’t use a crate, make sure Fido doesn’t ride with his head outside the window, and stays harnessed in the back seat.
  • Make sure you have food (never feed him in a moving vehicle), bottled water (unfamiliar water can make his stomach uncomfortable), a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, first-aid supplies, and any travel documents you need with you. Take along his favorite toy or pillow too as these things will give him a sense of familiarity.
  • Never leave Fido alone in a parked vehicle, especially on a hot day. Even if you have your windows open, your parked vehicle can quickly turn into a furnace and Fido will develop heatstroke. In cold weather, your car acts like a refrigerator in which he could freeze to death if you’re not careful.

Before you Leave Home

Make an appointment with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center for Fido to get a checkup within 10 days of leaving on your trip. This is a great time to make sure his vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate. You can also ask about ways to help your pet relax if you suspect they’ll be afraid, anxious or uncomfortable and get other pet care tips.

Picture Credit: Doxieone

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