Planning a trip can be stressful enough, without throwing traveling with a pet into the mix. Whether you are traveling for purpose or pleasure, if you need to take your adored animal with you, you will need to make certain preparations and considerations to ensure their safety and comfort every step of the way. To help you get started, here’s our ultimate guide to traveling with your pet.
Preparation is crucial to keeping stress levels under control, and by making the right plans ahead of traveling, you can make the entire process more peaceful for everyone concerned. Some of the key things that you can do to prepare for your journey include:
Familiarizing your pet. while you may not be able to prepare your pet for every aspect of the journey, you can familiarize them with elements of it. This could be getting them used to the crate or cage that they will be transported in, the sounds and vibrations of being in a vehicle or the hustle and bustle of public transport. Gradual exposure is key to success.
Obtain the right restraints. Keeping your pet secure during travel is essential for their safety and that of other passengers. Make sure to choose a crate or carrier that has enough space for your pet to sit, stand and turn around easily, and secure it properly to your vehicle so that it doesn’t slide around with the motion of travel. If you are travelling by car, you can also consider keeping your pet in the back seat in a harness that you can attach directly to the seat belt buckle.
Creature comforts and essentials
It’s not only humans that need their creature comforts when they travel. Your pet will also need a variety of different things for their journey and their destination. Some of the things that you may wish to add to your packing list for your pet could include:
Medications that your pet takes (with enough extra in case you are delayed coming home)
Your pet’s favorite blanket or bed
Favorite toys to keep them calm and happy
Collar/leash and any other safety restraints that you might use
Food and treats (again, with enough extra in case you are delayed)
Items to make your pet’s crate comfortable, such as blankets or towels
Food and drink bowls
You should also prepare a pet travel kit which will contain items that can be used on the go, such as a collapsible bowl and bottled water, snacks, treats and a first aid kit.
Finally, it is beneficial for you to take your veterinarian’s contact details and any medical information that you have about your pet so that if any professional care is needed while you are away, your provider will have all of the relevant information about your pet to hand.
Speak to your vet
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pet owners let their vet know as soon as travel becomes a possibility, particularly if you are taking your pet out of state or out of the country. This is because it may take several appointments to get all of the necessary paperwork and vaccinations sorted and getting started early means you won’t need to worry about getting too close to the deadline. Certain countries may require blood tests, rabies certificates and specific vaccines as much as 6 months in advance of travel and failure to abide by such regulations can see your pet placed into quarantine on arrival – a process which can takes days, weeks or even months.
You should also arrange for your pet to have a pre-travel check-up to make sure that they are healthy enough for the trip. Your vet will be able to advise you if this is the case and if they currently take medication, prescribe you enough for the duration of your trip.
Make sure that you take any travel documents that you need for your pet as well as yourself. This could include proof of immunizations such as rabies, and evidence of your pet’s microchip. This is important since an increasing number of countries are making microchipping your pet law. If you are going away, microchipping is highly recommended anyway since it dramatically increases the likelihood of your pet being returned to you in the even that they become lost.
If you would like more advice and support when it comes to traveling with your pet, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert veterinary team who will be happy to help with your preparations.