Updated January 2, 2020 – From airports to road trips, more and more people seem to be traveling with their pets. While it gives us peace of mind to keep our animals close, traveling with pets also can come with some challenges. Here are some tips on how to keep your pets safe as you travel locally or abroad.
Free-roaming pets in your car are a safety hazard for you, your pet and other passengers. Sudden braking, even at low speeds, can send a pet flying over seats and into windows, causing serious injuries. Securing your pet’s crate or carrier, or using another type of restraint system, is the best way to minimize this hazard.
Give Them Room
Make sure your cat’s or dog’s crate or carrier is comfortable (plenty of head room and space to turn around and get comfy) with a few handy treats or toys to help keep them occupied, if needed.
Update Microchip and Pet Tags
Should the unthinkable happen – your pet gets separated from you on a trip – make sure that when your pet is found, people know how to contact you.
Allow your pet to relieve themselves and get some stretching time every few hours. Some airports now offer pet relief areas even past security checkpoints.
Pack a portable water bowl or dish and make sure your pet is sufficiently hydrated during the trip. Dehydration can cause serious health issues in both dogs and cats, so don’t withhold water. However, it is okay to avoid feeding pets a few hours prior to travel to minimize motion sickness.
Never Leave Your Pet in a Car – Ever
Even if you don’t think it’s too hot outside or that you won’t be gone for long, too many pets die in locked cars, even with the windows open. If your planned travel takes you to areas where pets are unwelcome, consider leaving your pet in your hotel room, if allowed. If you’re visiting friends or family, see if they’d be willing to pet sit for a few hours.
Have a Health Emergency Plan
Emergencies happen when we least expect them. Make sure you research veterinarians at your destination and come prepared with your pet’s health record, including any medications. Also, pack a pet first aid kit for those out-of-the-way places. Bring along at least three days of water, food and medications in case of a natural disaster or weather delays.
Traveling Abroad - Vaccinations and Paperwork
If you’re traveling outside the country, have your documents in order. Find out what vaccinations your pet needs and if quarantine is required. Check out the database of animal import requirements for country-specific information.
New Places, New Health Risks
Different countries and even different regions within a country, can have hidden pet health risks. Brush up on the local poisonous fauna and consult with your veterinarian to find out if your travel destination is known for specific infectious or parasite-borne diseases that your pet has never encountered in their own backyard.
Is your pet more comfortable at home?
Some animals want to be with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and love to travel. Others are more comfortable at home. Know your pet and do what’s best for them.
Happy pets and safe travels.