Are you among the millions of Americans planning to travel this holiday season? Are you planning to bring your dog or cat along for the fun? If so, please consider the following recommendations to ensure that your trip goes smoothly.
Should your pet stay home or go with you on the trip?
Many pets make excellent travel companions. However, it may be better to have your furry friend stay at home if they have significant medical concerns, become stressed during travel, or are not well socialized.
Check with your veterinarian.
- Your veterinarian will make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel and can recommend ways to minimize stress while away from home.
- Anytime you travel across state lines, your pet needs a health certificate from a veterinarian. This document states that your pet is free from contagious illness and is approved for travel.
Keep your pet safe.
- There is an increased risk for your dog to get lost while away from home. Make sure the contact information on ID tags and microchip are accurate.
- If you are traveling by car, use an appropriate seatbelt, harness or carrier.
- Never leave your pet in the car alone if it is warm outside.
- Make sure you know airline policies and have an appropriate carrier for your pet.
- Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to obtain a health certificate for your pet before flying.
- Make sure your lodging is pet-friendly.
- Locate primary care and 24-hour emergency veterinary facilities in the area you will be traveling.
Pack everything your pet will need.
- Make sure to bring plenty of fresh food and water. It is best to keep your pet on the diet they are used to. Changing food suddenly is likely to trigger vomiting or diarrhea.
- Bring a leash and poop bags.
- Medications are very important to bring along.
- Consider packing your pet’s favorite toy or bed to help them feel comfortable while away from home.
Traveling with cats.
Traveling with a cat can be more challenging than traveling with a dog. Cats are often more stressed by leaving home. They also require more packing and planning. First, make sure the environment you are traveling to is “cat-friendly” (no aggressive dogs/cats, no young children if your cat isn’t used to them, etc). Also, most cats are very particular about their food and cat litter. Make sure to pack plenty of both! Finally, consider using Feliway (pheromone) products on their bedding and carrier to help minimize stress.
For more tips for traveling with pets by plane, click here!
Everyone at the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!