Travel is stressful enough without having to worry about how your pet will fare in a carrier surrounded by noise and strangers. Here are some necessary things to remember to help make the transition smoother for you and your pet:
ON THE ROAD
• Get your pet used to traveling in its carrier before the long trips- take short excursions to prepare them.
• Your pet will need bathroom breaks- plan accordingly and look for pet friendly “rest areas.”
• Your pet cannot tolerate heat (it cannot sweat!), so make sure not to leave them in a parked car for ANY length of time.
• Bring emergency trash bags, extra food/water, and leashes. Make sure your pet has tags or identification.
IN THE AIR
• Invest in a high-quality carrier that cannot open or break.
• In most cases, you will need a USDA health certificate- check with the airline as to how many days before the travel the certificate must be issued by the veterinarian.
• Some pets may be stressed or frightened—consider sedatives/ tranquilizers prescribed by your veterinarian.
BOARDING YOUR PET
• Practice with short boarding visits to show your pet you will always come back for them.
• Be sure to check that your pet is current on immunizations.
• Make sure to bring your pet’s food and treats. Ask the facility to address any issues that may arise (diarrhea, itching, stress/anxiety).
• Consider a pet sitter- especially for cats and older pets. Keeping the pet in their own home will likely lead to less anxiety.
Jessica Loch, DVM graduated from Auburn University in 2007 and is a newcomer from Peachtree, GA, where she practiced small animal medicine from 2007-2014. Originally from Lincoln, AL, she grew up on a cattle and chicken farm, and had a pet calf, goat, chicken, and, of course, dogs and cats. Her hobbies include playing the mountain dulcimer, playing racquetball, and traveling to Scotland.