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What to Know Before Traveling with Pets

Travel Team | Mar 19, 2021

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Pet parents know that no trip is complete without their four-legged friend. Planning for any trip, whether for business or pleasure, can be stressful. Throw in a (hu)man’s best friend — dogs, cats, or any anything else — and things can get even more hectic.

Use this simple pet travel guide to make the trip stress-free for both you and your pet! 

DO: Get your pet used to their carrying case.

A few days before your trip, leave the carrying case out around the house. This gives your pet time to get comfortable with it before hitting the road. Place food inside and let them explore it. For added comfort, place your pet’s favorite blanket, toy or treat in the case, too — this will help make it feel like home, taking away some of their stress.

DON’T: Leave your pet’s essentials at home.

It’s important to bring all of the necessary items that your pet uses daily, since the two (or more) of you will be far away from home. Your pet should feel comfortable in the new space; your goal is to make them feel like they never left home.

Be sure to bring …
  • Medicine: Any medication that your pet requires should be brought with you. Keep records of up-to-date vaccinations and medication needed with you as well as a small pet first aid kit for extra safety.
  • Toys: Make sure to bring all of your pet’s favorite toys. Having familiar comforts they already love will help calm them down and get them more adjusted to the unfamiliar area.
  • Food: Do your best to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy on the trip by bringing their regular food. If your pet is on the dry food diet, try to pack enough to carry with you for the duration of the trip. If you are unable to bring that amount of food, you may be able to ship it to your destination. If your pet prefers canned/fresh food, double check to see you can buy or ship it to wherever you are staying.

DO: Read up on your airline’s pet policy before departure.

There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and realizing you haven’t followed the rules and regulations of a certain airline. Below are the policies for traveling with pets per six of the major United States airlines.

DON’T: Put your pet under sedation for travel. 

With the right steps taken, it’s not necessary to sedate your pet before your journey. Instead, get them to feel comfortable being in their carrying case by including their toys, food, water, and more prior to leaving. Your pet will want to be in its case during travel if it feels a little more like home.

If you’re pet is naturally nervous, talk to your vet about getting a them a temporary prescription to an anti-anxiety medicine. Your vet will recommend the best treatment to make your pet comfortable.

DO: Have a plan in place in case of emergencies.

Emergencies can unfortunately happen anytime, anywhere. Keep yourself and your pet safe by planning ahead in case something unexpected occurs. Your safety plan should include the following:

Contact Information: Both your own contact information and your veterinarian’s address and phone number are important in case of emergency.

Care: Write a list of the different aspects of pet’s needs. Include vaccinations, medication routines, feeding habits, and anything else that could be of use.

Additional Info: In case your pet needs a new place to stay, find a facility for them in both at your destination and back at home.

DON’T: Forget to ID your pet

To ensure your pet is safe and remains in the right hands, always make sure to properly ID them before travel. Get a microchip inserted if you are able, and ensure all external tags are visible with your accurate contact information.

DO: Bring your own H20.

Humans and animals alike can become dehydrated, especially when in a plane’s air filtration system. If a pet has a water from a place they are not accustomed to, it could cause an upset stomach. Bring bottled water along with you to serve in a dish to your pet while traveling. If your pet is stowed away, ensure they are given water immediately following arrival. Occasionally, buses and trains may not have easy access to water. If so, find out if a bottle of water is okay to bring on board.

Whether traveling via plane, bus, car or train, it is crucial to understand and take the necessary steps to keeping your pet safe and comfortable in transit. Preparing and planning before departure will leave you with less of a headache when traveling with Fido. With these tips in mind, your four-legged friend will catch the travel bug just as much as you!

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