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Posted on 06-24-2015

Many of us want to travel on vacation and see new places and people and have new experiences. When we have animals in our lives, we need to determine whether or not taking our pet along on our adventures is appropriate. Obviously, certain locations and means of travel lend themselves more to certain pets and some pets just aren’t great travelers in general.  Here are some important points that may help you reach the right decision for you and your animal companion(s).

Airline Travel:

Most airlines have restrictions on the number of animals that can fly in the cabin on each flight, so the most important point if you want to travel with your pet is to be certain you meet the airline’s requirements to have the pet travel onboard in the cabin with you.  You can also arrange to have your pet transported on the same flight in a special cargo area that is climate controlled too, but many people don’t want to travel with their pet unless able to keep them in the cabin with them.

Airlines have specific regulations relating to the size of the pet that can be accommodated in the cabin. Most require that your pet have a health certificate, completed by a veterinarian, dated within 10 days of your travel. Reserve your pet’s and your travel arrangement EARLY since there are restrictions in the number of pets allowed in cabin. This is especially important if you’re traveling during peak travel times. These regulations vary, so check specifically with the airline and be aware that NOT ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE AIRLINE ARE AWARE OF ALL REGULATIONS. It’s better to be safe and have the health certificate than not and then need one in order to board your scheduled flight with your pet. If you encounter an airline employee at check-in that requires certain paperwork for your pet to travel, it won’t matter that you’ve called previously and been told you weren’t required to have health certificate or certificate of vaccinations.

If your pet is too large to fly in cabin with you and will be traveling in cargo, most airlines require what’s known as a certificate of acclimation.  This is a statement signed by a veterinarian, describing what temperatures are appropriate for your pet and for how long should you have a layover or complication in travel plans that leaves your pet on the tarmac or in cargo holding area waiting for your flight.  Also, when pets fly in cargo, the airline usually has specific requirements for the kennel, bedding, food & water traveling with your pet. Bottom line, check with the airline before travel, schedule everything well in advance, check fees and passes, pay all fees appropriately, and most importantly, be prepared with at least a health certificate and copy of vaccinations. If pet is flying in cargo, add a certificate of acclimation.

The above information covers domestic travel within the continental United States. Tavel to Hawaii or international travel has very different requirements and is beyond the scope of what we can cover here. Please note: some countries have requirements for important animals that require up to 9-12 months advance preparation, so please do your research carefully!

The USDA- APHIS website is an excellent resource.  Please check it out!

United States Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

Other basics of airline travel:

– make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing identification with your correct contact information clearly noted. Please be sure the microchip is REGISTERED! Otherwise, if your pet is lost, you still may not be reunited as if you don’t register, there’s no way to contact you.

– make sure you have any medication your pet needs and have enough to last throughout your trip plus a few extra doses in case travel plans are changed.

– see if your veterinarian recommends any sedative or natural calming agents for your pet.

– purchase your pet’s traveling carrier in advance of your trip and introduce your pet to it as soon as possible. Use treats and make it a fun experience so there’s no fear. This will be their “home away from home” for many hours.

Check out the websites listed below for airports that provide “relief” areas and more helpful info.

Pet Friendly Travel

Dog Jaunt

Pet Flight

Camping:

It’s a good idea to call or come back to speak with us if you’re planning to take your companion camping. Depending on where you are going and your activity plans, there are many considerations that can affect everyone’s enjoyment.

Always take along information about your pet including photo, age, breed, sex, birthday, color, any identifying markings, microchip information, and medical records. If you’re traveling to another state or country, you will definitely need a health certificate completed by a veterinarian–usually within 10 days of travel. Vaccination information should be listed on your health certificate, but if you aren’t traveling out of state, take along a copy of vaccination records.  Of course if your pet is taking prescription medication, be sure you have a supply that covers your entire trip PLUS extra in case your return home is delayed.

Most camping areas are rural, remote and potentially filled with some creepy-crawlies that can affect your pet and even you.  Ticks are a significant health risk in many areas. Fleas are everywhere.  Fortunately, there are now so many safe and very effective flea and tick control options. Just give us a call or stop in and we’ll help you select the right product!

Also very important for any trip is a first aid kit. Some items to have in your kit: styptic powder (in case of bleeding toenail), medical adhesive tape, telfa pads, gauze, antiseptic wipes, insect sting wipes, tweezers, cotton balls, eye wash, latex gloves, scissors, hand sanitizer or wipes, benadryl, pet emergency care card, peroxide, alcohol, and water.

Here are a few links for more helpful information on camping with your pets.

Camping Pet

Pet Friendly Travel

Boarding:

Sometimes, it just isn’t right for your animals to accompany you. And when that’s the case, we have a list of client recommended boarding facilities and pet sitters.  If you aren’t comfortable having someone stay in your home, check out Sleepover Rover

When searching for a boarding facility, you want to find the right place for your pet. Some want more activity and spending time with their friends while others want to be indoors or going for quiet walks alone. After you have some recommendations, call some places and ask if you can tour the facility. Even better, consider taking your pet in for the day or for an overnight visit when you’re around so you can always pick them up if there’s a problem. Ask where your pet will be kept, what they will eat, what activities they offer, and what happens in case of a problem or if your pet is sick or injured. Find out the cost for boarding and any additional services. You will need to give them a copy of your pet’s vaccination records and you may want to provide them with medical records if your pet has any special needs. Of course provide any medications your pet is on along with clear instructions on administering those medications.  If your pet is on a special diet, you will probably need to bring that. Remember, DON’T bring anything you don’t want to lose or not get back. Sometimes accidents happen.

Be sure to provide the kennel staff with a copy of your contact information as well as a local contact if you are unavailable.

Whatever you plan for your vacation, whether or not your pet is coming along or staying at home, planning early and making all necessary arrangements as soon as you can will make it more fun & less stressful for all! Let us know how we can help.

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