It’s a safe bet that there will be more road trips than plane flights for most of us this holiday season. If you’re planning to hit the highway and take your pet along for the ride, here are a few tips to see that your travel buddy stays safe and well.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and that you carry proof of them with you. Headed out of state? A health certificate from an accredited veterinarian is a good idea and may even be required. Check the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pet travel information site to find out what specific documentation might be needed.
- Get your pet used to riding in a vehicle—this is especially helpful for cats. If your pet isn’t used to car trips, take him or her out for a few shorter rides in the weeks prior to your longer drive. Make sure to use positive reinforcement (treats or affection) so your pet sees this activity as a good thing, or at least nothing to fear.
- Secure your pet safely. Having your pet in your lap or a place where they can access you is super dangerous—a travel crate or seatbelt harness is the best way to go. If you opt for a crate, the Center for Pet Safety recommends that crates be attached to vehicle walls.
- Your pet should have ID inside and out.This means not only a collar and tags, but a microchip as well. Collars can get removed or lost, but a microchip—with your current contact information—will greatly increase the chances that your pet is returned to you if he or she goes missing.
- Give ‘em a break! It may take a little longer for you to get where you’re going, but if you gotta go, your pet does, too. Stopping every couple of hours is good for both of you—especially if your animal companion is older or very young.
- Get a stable water bowl. Your pet should have access to water when you travel, so you may want to buy something like this to limit messes in crates or the back seat.
- If you do happen to be flying and your pet will be winging it too, make sure you are absolutely clear on the airline’s travel policies for animals before you make your reservations. Many airlines have changed their requirements and restrictions for traveling pets in the last year, and most are much more restrictive.
It’s always a good idea to get your travel buddy in for a check-up before you take off to make sure that your pet is current on vaccinations, has the parasite protection needed, and that he or she is healthy enough to travel. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (440) 585-3600.