Pet Talk: Travel tips for pets
Traveling with your pet can be both stressful and fun.
It’s nice to introduce them to new places and opportunities, but it can be stressful trying to be sure all of your ducks are in a row so that your trip can go smoothly. I’m going to go through several tips that may help make your next trip even more stress-free than any other you’ve had.
Prior to going anywhere (even outside your own home), it’s important to be sure your pet has up to date ID tags on them. These tags include a current rabies tag and a tag that identifies your pet’s name and your contact information.
It’s very important that you consider these for both your dogs and your cats. At minimum, I feel that a cat should have a break-away collar with a small ID tag. This allows the cat to always have a way to be identified, even when roaming outside your home.
Another consideration for traveling would be to have your pet implanted with a microchip. A microchip can improve the chances of your pet being found if it gets lost, either at home or while you are traveling. Having a microchip implanted is very easy and can be done during a regular office visit with your veterinarian.
The microchip typically comes with a tag that contains the microchip number and the proper phone number to call if someone finds your pet — yet another way to ensure your pet will be returned if lost.
Prior to traveling, be sure that your pet is welcome to stay wherever you have made accommodation arrangements. Many hotels do allow pets these days but they sometimes require advanced notice.
If you are staying with family or friends, then be sure your pet will get along with the other humans and pets that are in the house and that they will be welcome to stay.
If you are taking your pet across either state or international borders, then a health certificate as well as other documentation may be required. The health certificate must be signed by an accredited veterinarian after they examine your pet and determine that it is free of infectious disease. There may be additional documentation required and it is important to check this prior to travel.
The USDA has a fantastic pet travel website that you can use to aid you in preparing your pet for travel.
When preparing your bags, be sure to leave some room for pet essentials. These include your veterinarian’s contact information, your pet’s current vaccine history, a health certificate issued by your veterinarian and any essentials for your pet (food, medications, leash, bowls, etc.).
One of the most important things to remember to do is to make sure your pet is comfortable with traveling. If your pet enjoys the car, then great — no problems there. Some pets will not handle travel well due to age, illness or temperament — if this is the case with your pet, then you may want to consider leaving them home in a reliable boarding facility or arranging a pet sitter for them in your home.
Most importantly, have fun when traveling with your pet. Take plenty of breaks in order to allow both you and your pet to stretch and have a drink or a snack. And remember to visit the closest veterinarian if you have any concerns regarding your pet. Have fun out there.
Elizabeth Foster is an associate of Sheila Fitzpatrick, DVM, owner of Mountain Mobile Vet and The Animal Hospital Center. You can reach Fitzpatrick at 970-328-7085.