Whether this is your first trip with your four-legged friend, or your pet is a seasoned jet-setter, traveling with a pet can be somewhat daunting. You need to sort out many more logistics, and you are much more restricted on where you can go and what you can do. However, your trip will be much more enjoyable with your furry pal by your side, especially if you use the following tips from Towne Centre Animal Hospital before you leave.
#1: Plan your route
First, plan your destination and route, and how you will get there. Will you drive, or travel by plane? If you are taking a road trip, search for stops along the way where you can let your pet out to stretch their legs, eat, and use the bathroom.
If you are flying, investigate the airline’s pet restrictions carefully and ensure your pet can go with you before purchasing tickets. If you have any air travel questions about the requirements for your pet, contact the airline directly to ensure you clearly understand their rules and requirements, and follow them precisely. Arriving at the airport only to be told your pet cannot fly with you will certainly put a damper on your trip.
#2: Book pet-friendly lodging
When you arrive at your destination, where will you stay, and do they allow pets? Booking pet-friendly lodgings in advance will prevent you from scrambling when you arrive, and can alleviate a great deal of stress.
If you are planning on staying with a friend or family member, double check before heading out on your trip that your host is OK about you bringing your pet, and that they have appropriate accommodations. Households with other pets or people with allergies, and rental homes or hotels can put a hitch in your lodging plans, so be absolutely sure that bringing your four-legged friend is acceptable.
#3: Pack your pet’s essentials
When traveling, realizing that you forgot to pack some important items can cast a cloud on your trip. So, make a checklist well ahead of when you leave that includes all your pet’s essentials, such as:
- An ample supply of food and treats
- Favorite toys
- A spare collar and leash
- Food and water bowls
- A crate or carrier
- Waste bags
- Disposable litter boxes and litter
- Cleaning supplies
- Parasite prevention
- Prescription medication
Store your pet’s essentials in a waterproof tote to prevent damage or spoilage, and ensure you pack more than you anticipate you will need.
#4: Update your pet’s identification
Plan ahead so you and your pet can be successfully reunited should they go missing. Ensure your pet is microchipped, and if so, ensure your contact information on your pet’s microchip registration is up to date. Purchase a new collar and identification tags if they are outdated or worn. Consider a collar that has your cell phone number embroidered into the fabric as backup identification. Snap color photos of you and your pet to provide proof of ownership and to use as posters in case you need to make “missing pet” notices. These steps can save you a lot of grief should the unthinkable happen on your trip.
#5: Schedule a physical exam for your pet prior to traveling
You definitely do not want a smoldering illness to flare up while you and your pet are traveling, or for your pet to become so stressed that they show clinical signs that require regular or emergency veterinary care. Ensure your pet is in peak health before they join you on a trip by first making an appointment with your Towne Centre Animal Hospital veterinarian for a wellness screening.
During your pet’s screening, we will perform a comprehensive physical exam and vaccinate them as necessary so they are protected while traveling. Your four-legged friend will likely be exposed to more pathogens than usual during their trip, and they may require additional vaccinations they have not needed in the past. And, if you plan on flying with your pet, they will need a health certificate, which only a veterinarian can provide. Additionally, ask for extra copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records, and take a copy with you in case of an emergency.
If your pet develops motion sickness or anxiety, ask our veterinarian about helping ease their distress. Prescription medications or supplements can soothe an upset stomach or calm your pet during a car ride or plane flight, and make your entire adventure much more enjoyable. Also, stock up on your pet’s prescriptions to ensure you do not run out on your trip.
We want you and your pet to enjoy your travel adventure together and planning ahead can make all the difference. Give our Towne Centre Animal Hospital team a call to schedule your pet’s wellness screening and to refill their prescriptions. Then, happy travels!
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