Traveling with Pets

posted: by: Marie Jarden, DVM, Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

It's spring break time, and right around the corner (we hope!) is summer.  With the warmer weather, more people will be traveling on vacations or to visit family.  Many people opt to take their pets along with them on their travels.  However, this may take some careful planning ahead depending on how you choose to travel and where you go.

Not all pets travel well or do well away from their homes.  Please consider this before traveling with your pet.  Will your pet be comfortable in a different environment?  Or would it be better to leave him/her at home with a pet sitter or at a boarding kennel?

When you travel with your pets, be sure to carry their vaccine certificate, especially their rabies certificate, along with you.  This will prove what vaccines your pet has received for their safety and the safety of other animals your pet may be exposed to.  I'd also recommend having a picture of your pet in case you become separated.  Microchips are also highly recommended in case you become separated!

If you fly, please check with your airlines on what their requirements for animal transportation are.  Certain types of crates are required for travel, and your pet may be traveling in cargo.

Also check with your final destination, especially if you are leaving the country to traveling to an island (this includes Hawaii!).  Often you'll be required to get a health certificate or other official documentation pertaining to your pet's current health status.  These are usually given out 10 days or so prior to the trip and require a veterinary visit, so plan ahead.

Health certificates and other regulations (additional vaccines or testing for specific disease) are instituted by places to help minimize the spread of disease among animals.  Some places do not suffer from the same diseases pets here in the states can be in contact with.  They may also have other diseases we never see here in the states.

Parasite control is a must while traveling!  Definitely continue your pet's flea, tick, heartworm, and intestinal parasite control on your trip.  Some places require this to be given prior to departure for their location.

Please look ahead to states or countries you're traveling through and to to determine what you need for your pet to safely cross the border.  Each locale has different regulations.  There's nothing worse than having to leave your pet behind or turn around.

You can find out more information at the USDA APHIS Pet Travel web-site  Please allow yourself enough time to complete all requirements necessary to travel with your pet.

Also, don't forget to pack an ample supply (and some extra) of your pet's food and medications.  Take along your veterinarian's information in case you need to contact them for refills.  If you plan to stay in an area for awhile, it's helpful to know the location of the nearest veterinary clinic or emergency clinic in case your pet needs veterinary care while on your trip.