The next few months are some of the busiest when it comes to vacations and time spent away from home. From Fourth of July through Labor Day, the weekends are packed with beach bumming, great American road trips, and sometimes flights to exotic destinations. For pet parents who wish to include their pet in the mix, pet travel nuances can seem overwhelming.

Being prepared and gaining all of the necessary paperwork and pet essentials can leave you in a tail spin! That’s why your friends at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital thought we’d create a few handy-dandy checklists to help you prepare for your pet-inclusive travel fun.

Road Trippin’ with Your Pet

Traveling with your pet on the open road for a weekend or a cross-country drive requires a little prep work in order for you both to enjoy the ride. Before you venture out, check the following off of your road trip pet “to-dos”.

Pack all of your pet’s daily care needs, including a few toys and favorite snuggle items

  • If you’ll be staying in a hotel or with others, you may want to pack your pet’s crate. It is a safe space for them in a strange place and not everyone likes having a pet able to wander freely through their house at night.
  • Bring plenty of water for your pet, since summer car travel can be hot and require more water to stay hydrated – consider freezing water into the bowl and allowing it to thaw as you travel, it will regulate your pet’s intake and minimize sloshing
  • Make sure your pet is secure in the car through the use of a safety belt harness or crate that can be attached to the belt for extra protection
  • During the drive, plan to take rest breaks more frequently than you might otherwise – and account for how you will take care of your own business without leaving your pet in the car
  • Your pet will still need daily exercise during your travel, so consider where you will exercise your pet each day or find a local park
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped or at least has updated tags. A normally calm pet may bolt due to an unexpected loud noise (a semi or horn blast)It’s challenging to find a pet-friendly hotel or restaurant on the fly, so have a handy list of pet-friendly businesses or make hotel reservations in advance
  • Look up the name of a good pet emergency hospital at your destination and be sure to take along important pet health information or have it stored online where you can access it from the road
  • Risks at your destination such as parasites, venomous snakes, and wildlife, can imperil your pet without vaccinations and parasite prevention, so check with us before you go to ensure your pet is covered

Pet Travel by Plane

For some pet owners, travel must entail air time, which requires more planning. Depending on your pet’s health and disposition, you may decide he or she is up for the challenge of soaring the skies with you. Ideally, you can bring your pet on board (toy dogs and cats often travel alongside their owners), but that’s not always the case. However, no matter your pet’s size or breed, there are several things to consider when preparing for your big journey together.

  • Start your plans off on the right paw by having your pet examined for any health issues, vaccination requirements
  • Remember that you will need a pet health certificate, which many destinations (and airlines) require. Most airlines require the travel certificate to be issued within 2 weeks of travel
  • Consider using the services of a pet travel agency, especially if your pet must fly as cargo
  • If possible, book a nonstop flight, or one with only one layover
  • You will need to invest in a carrier for your pet or a crate specific to airline standards with identification (including a photo of your pet) and contact information securely affixed
  • Be sure to pack all daily care items, including a supply of your pet’s normal food and any current medications
  • Pack fresh water for your pet and avoid feeding him or her the morning of travel
  • Have a thorough understanding of pet import requirements for your destination (some countries require a quarantine period, for example) and ensure your choices in activities and lodging will accommodate your pet
  • Exercise your pet before you head out for the airport to help expend some energy and relax him for the impending time in the crate or cargo hold

Don’t forget our Bed & Biscuit luxury boarding facility if your pet is a little reluctant to travel. Some pets prefer their own version of a staycation with other pet friends, loads of daily attention, and fun activities tailored for them. On holidays we fill up fast, so give us a call for a tour or to inquire about reservations.

Safe and pleasant travels!