When it comes to summertime, one of the most popular activities to do is to travel. Unfortunately, many animals do not like traveling. Therefore, when traveling, you need to take some precautions for both you and your furry family members.
First of all, it is recommended that you visit your veterinarian before starting the journey. All pets that travel across state or international borders are required by law to have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. Unhealthy or weaker pets should never be exposed to the stress of travel. They should be left at home under a caretaker or a qualified boarding facility.
You should also consider contacting a vet in the area you want to visit and check the weather conditions at your destination, and the impact it might have on your pet. Some animals do not adapt well to change in weather conditions, especially if they are drastic changes.
Traveling by Car
Some pets, such as dogs, love riding in cars and it can be fun to take them along. However, this is not the case for all pets. Just like us, some cats and dogs can get motion sickness. Therefore, you need to take occasional breaks along the trip to reduce the stress of traveling and minimize the risk they’ll get carsick.
Keep your pets safe, secure, and in well-ventilated carriers. Animals dehydrate faster than we do, so make sure you have regular drink stops.
Just like we should be wearing seatbelts while riding in a car, all pets should be appropriately restrained. Dogs should be placed in harnesses that attach to the seatbelts, and cats secured in their carriers.
And lastly, do not feed your animal along the way, even on long journeys. They should be fed at least three to four hours before the start of the journey to prevent nausea.
Be sure to take frequent breaks to allow your dog or cat to stretch their legs and to relieve themselves, especially if they’re being well hydrated.
International travel with pets is very tricky and requires specific criteria to be met. Each country has its own requirements that change constantly. Vaccine records alone are not sufficient.
The best place to get the most updated info is at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel. We strongly encourage you to check this website for the most updated information, and call the consulate of the country of destination to confirm the listed requirements are up to date.
Some destinations can require pets to have certain things done prior to arriving, such as Rabies titers. This can take several weeks or even months to do. Some countries also request that the health certificate Dr. Bruce signs also must be stamped by an official USDA veterinarian in Miami at the USDA office. You should contact Dr. Bruce as soon as you decide that they might want to take their pet to another country so that he can try to prepare you for whatever paperwork needs to be completed prior to the trip.
Traveling by Plane
Planes have strict rules that define traveling with a pet. You need to familiarize yourself with the policies of an airport or country before booking a flight.
Most airports offer a common range of travel options. These include:
- Pets in a cabin. In order for your pet to be allowed in the cabin, it must be able to stand up and lay down comfortably; also the bag must be placed under the seat in front of you.
- Pets as check-in baggage. In order for your pet to be allowed in the check-in baggage, the kennel must comply with IATA rules.
- Kennels. To carry your pet in a kennel, the kennel must have a fiberglass or rigid plastic shell and it should have no wheels.
Remember, it is important to choose an airline that serves the entire route from beginning to end. Also, ensure that your pet is well examined before the journey. Sedation isn’t recommended since their side effects may be unpredictable. This is why it’s important to speak with your vet prior to traveling!
What to Watch Out For
Ensure that your animal has a microchip for identification. It should wear a collar and tag imprinted with your name, cell phone number, and any other relevant information. Providing a personal contact number and the target destination would also be incredibly helpful.
In short, these are your to-do-lists for a safe, secure, and uneventful journey with your pet:
- Research about the area you want to travel to. Learn about the weather conditions of that place; your vet might help you here.
- Ensure to carry your pets’ vaccination and enough medication and treatments for the entire trip.
- Make sure is that your pet is micro chipped and can be easily identified.
- Pack a pets’ first-aid kit.
- Ensure to read the airport’s and countries’ pets policies before booking a flight – some countries do not accept pets from other countries for various reasons.
- And lastly, but most importantly, remember to carry your verification details and health certificates. You should also download our Pet Desk Application which contains details about your pet’s health and will provide reminders about their required medication. You do not want to get stuck at the airport for hours, do you?
Be sure that prior to traveling you schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruce to make sure your pet is fully prepared for traveling, so that you and they can enjoy a wonderful trip.