For many travelers, a vacation just isn’t a vacation unless their pet can tag along. But while traveling can be fun for pet owners, it can be less so for their furry friends. If you’re planning to take a trip with your pet, there are a few simple ways you can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for everyone.
Prepare a Travel Kit
Taking Fido on a road trip? Be sure to pack everything your dog will need for the ride, including food and water bowls, grooming supplies, a leash, waste bags, first-aid supplies and a favorite blanket or toy. Decide on a feeding schedule for the trip, such as every three or four hours. Always keep a few bottles of water in the car, and avoid feeding your pet while the vehicle is moving.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
If you’re planning to fly with your pet, keep in mind that most airlines won’t allow animals on board in extreme heat or cold. Since your pet will be exposed to the weather conditions on the tarmac at both your departure and destination, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure a comfortable trip for your animal. Even if you’re traveling by car, planning for any extreme weather is a good idea. A hot day can turn your vehicle’s interior into an oven in just a few minutes, while cold weather can turn your car into an icebox, causing your pet to freeze to death. Downloading an Android weather app is an easy way to monitor temperatures in your departure and destination cities — and every stop along the way.
Be Aware of Your Airline’s Pet Restrictions
Avoid last-minute surprises by making sure you’re familiar with your airline’s pet policy. Most airlines will let small animals travel in a carrier stowed under the seat in front of you. You’ll be charged a separate fee for your pet, and the animal must remain in its carrier for the duration of the flight. Try to book early when flying with your pet; many carriers limit the number of in-cabin pets to two.
Obtain a Health Certificate
Depending on your destination, you may be required to travel with a health certificate signed by a veterinarian as well as other supporting documentation. The health certificate confirms that the animal has undergone an examination and that it is free of infectious diseases. If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll need to have the health certificate endorsed by the USDA. More information on health certificates for travel can be found on the Animal Travel and Transport website.
Consider a Microchip
No matter where you’re traveling to, having your pet microchipped is a good idea. You should also make sure your pet wears a tag printed with your name, your phone number, and any other relevant contact details for the duration of your trip.
Bringing the family pet on vacation can be fun and memorable for everyone involved, but keep in mind that traveling can be stressful for your four-footed friend. The above tips will help you plan a safe and happy vacation for you and your animal.