Travelling with Pets

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Time for a vacation! Now what to do with Fluffy and Felix? As summer travel season starts ramping up again, it is important to review your options of what to do with your pets when you travel. It usually comes down to taking them with you or leaving them back home. Here are some things to consider:

• Where are you going? There are many places that will not allow pets. Those that do may have restrictions or requirements like proof of vaccination. If you are going somewhere that your pet will spend most of its time alone in a hotel room, then it may be a better idea to leave them home. International travel will also require a health certificate for your pet. The process varies by country but may take several months to complete so plan ahead.

• Are you going by car? Does your pet get car sick or have travel anxiety? If so, then your veterinarian has medications that can help. Plan the trip to allow frequent stops for exercise and bathroom breaks. Take along vaccine records and any medications your pet takes – in original bottles – and make sure you have enough for the entire trip. Use a sturdy leash and harness or a carrier to transport your pet outside the car so they do not escape. Make sure microchip registration information is current just in case they do get loose. Do not forget a litter box for your cat.

• Are you going by plane? Small dogs and cats can often fit in the cabin area of the plane, but larger dogs will need to fly in cargo. Each airline will have different requirements and possibly additional paperwork to complete. Be sure the carrier/kennel you use meets the airlines requirements and is large enough to let your pet move around safely and comfortably. You will need a health certificate even for interstate travel and will need copies of medical records. Try to schedule non-stop flights to minimize stress to your pet.

If your pet travels well and is allowed where you are going, then taking your pet with you may be a great option. If these are not the case, then your best options will either be boarding or hiring a pet sitter.

Boarding facilities vary greatly in the accommodations and the amenities. Research your options closely to find the best facility for your pet. Most facilities fill up quickly, especially around the holidays, so make reservations early. Also check what vaccines are required so these can be updated before the trip if needed. Take any medications in original bottles and provide a good emergency contact number in case of issues.

A pet sitter is a good option if your pet is happier at home or if you want someone to also keep a watch on your house. They usually visit twice a day to walk, feed and play with your pet. Most will give medications, too. If arranged, they can bring in the mail and other light tasks. Some pet sitters are willing to stay at the house while you are gone to keep a closer watch on things.

So, as you setup your next vacation, remember Fluffy and Felix. With a bit of planning, the trip can be great for both you and your pet.