When you’re getting ready for a summer vacation, no doubt you want to include your four-legged family members in your travel plans. Whether you’re taking a short road trip or flying internationally, here are a few tips on how to travel with a dog or cat.

Transporting Your Pet Safely

The first challenge you may face when taking your pets on vacation is transportation. Keeping your cat or dog safe and comfortable is a must when you’re traveling. Here are some expert tips for traveling by car and by plane.

Tips for Traveling with Pets in Cars

Car trips can save you the hassle of taking your pet on public transportation. As long as you’re mindful of your pets’ safety, you will all enjoy your great adventure together.

  1. Safety first. Just like we need to wear a seatbelt to keep us safe in the event of a crash, crates and carriers can protect your dog or cat from danger. Don’t let your pets wander around the car, because they might get injured or distract the driver and cause an accident.
  2. Take breaks often. It is important to make time for your pet to relieve themself, eat and drink, and stretch their legs throughout the road trip. Make sure that at rest stops, your pet never leaves the car without a collar, leash, and ID tag. Also, check the signs to be sure that you’re only using rest stop areas designated for pets.
  3. Bring a (human) friend. Taking someone else along for the ride can help you share the driving responsibilities. It also provides you with a trusted babysitter for your pets while you take your own restroom or snack breaks.
  4. Never leave pets alone. Car temperatures can quickly rise to life-threatening levels. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a car can reach over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a hot day. Never leave pets unattended!

Tips for Traveling with Pets on Planes

Air travel with pets comes with a lot of risks. In general, it is best to avoid bringing your dog or cat on an airplane if you can. If you must bring your pet on a plane, check your airline’s pet policy guide to see if you can bring them in the cabin with you. This is a much safer option than the cargo hold, and many airlines will allow it for a fee.

If you must bring your pet along in the cargo hold, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Know the risks. Excessive temperatures, poor ventilation, and rough handling can all endanger your pet on a plane. Research the performance history of the airline you’re using to make sure they have a good track record when it comes to keeping pets safe in the cargo hold.
  2. Book direct flights. Airline transfers and delays can increase the risk of losing your pet.
  3. Label everything. Put your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier and collar, and give them a temporary travel ID with the information that can be used to reach you at your destination. Carry a picture of your pet with you so airline staff can help you find them if they are lost.
  4. Keep your pet comfortable. Give your dog or cat a month or so to become familiar with the travel carrier, and trim their nails to prevent them from catching them in the carrier door or vents. Don’t feed your pet for 4-6 hours before the trip to avoid accidents. 
  5. Do NOT medicate your pet. Only administer tranquilizers if they have been approved and prescribed by your veterinarian.
  6. Report ill treatment. Remember, you are the voice for your dog or cat. If you see them or anyone else’s pets being mishandled, inform the airline immediately. 
  7. See a vet. As soon as you reach your destination, let your pet out of their carrier and make sure they are behaving normally. If anything seems off, take them to a vet right away.

Get Your Pet a Passport

International travel with a dog or cat may require a pet passport. This collection of required documentation may include health paperwork, vaccination records, microchip certificates, or import permits. Even when you’re only traveling between states, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination history along with you.

Know Your Destination’s Pet Health Requirements

To bring your pet on vacation either stateside or abroad, they may need to meet certain health requirements and be up-to-date on their vaccines. You can learn more about pet health requirements from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 

Take a Pet-Friendly Vacation

The best way to make sure that traveling with your cat or dog goes smoothly is to plan your trip around them. Finding pet-friendly hotels and destinations can make your family vacation fun and memorable for all.

Another way to make sure your pet stays safe while you’re traveling is to send them to a resort of their own. Pet resorts allow your dog or cat to enjoy a vacation without the hassle of travel.

Getting Ready for Pet Travel in Gilbert

Whether you’re taking your pet on vacation with you, or want to leave them in the care of someone you trust, Anasazi Animal Clinic is here to help make your travel plans stress-free. For dogs and cats staying behind, we have a clean, comfortable boarding facility where they will be looked after 24/7 by our compassionate team.If your pets need immunizations, pre-travel check-ups, or you’re looking for pet travel care advice, schedule an appointment or call our office at 480-497-0505.

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash