With an estimated 30 million people each year traveling with their pets, that number showcases the fact the people travel with their pets more than ever before. Do you have plans to travel with Fluffy or Flick this summer? Well, then you can use these traveling tips for how to be prepared and keep your furry partner safe during air and car travel.
Preparing for The Trip
Whether you are planning a hike in the mountains or a visit to a beach, be sure and read up on ways to ensure your pet is prepared to travel to your destination.
Check with your vet. The vet should give your pet a clean bill of health before you travel. Also, you can ask for a health certificate showing that he or she is up-to-date on all their vaccinations or titers.
Make a list of vet and animal hospitals within your destination location before you go.
Pack enough medication for your stay, plus a few days' extra and a prescription if possible in case you need a refill if your pet is currently on medication.
Become aware of all animal regulations at your destination, for example at state parks or places that allow pets.
Car travel is a great option for transporting your pet. However, if your pet isn't used to this mode of travel or doesn't enjoy being in the car, you will want to take time to work on associating car rides with positive things. Take your dog on a number of short trips to a fun place, like the dog park, a pet store, or a drive-through window where he or she gets a treat. Additionally:
Always keep your pet in the back seat in a carrier or a harness attached to the seatbelt - be safe. We recommend a harness system such as this option from Kurgo. Also the Sleepypod bed is a great option for cats - it is crash tested, and safe for cats and dogs.
Make sure to take frequent rest stops - usually every two to four hours, so pets can take care of their business and have some food and water. Eating or drinking in a moving car is never a good idea for your pet.
Talk to your vet about carsickness, which some animals experience. One way to prevent or minimize carsickness is to feed your pet only a light meal four to six hours before travel.
Consult with your veterinarian about medications that are specifically used to ease a pet’s anxiety such as gabapentin for cats and trazodone for dogs.
Read up on the use of lavender essential oil for traveling in cars According to a study reported in PETMED, lavender essential oils when used for dogs with travel anxiety shows that “ Dogs spent significantly more time resting and sitting and less time moving and vocalizing during the experimental condition.” ( PETMED )
For dogs, Adaptil can create a sense of security, safety, and reassurance. Adaptil is a synthetic form of the pheromone that female dogs emit after they give birth that makes their puppies feel safe and sound. This pheromone is recognizable throughout life by dogs of all ages.
And for cats suffering with anxiety, Feliway is a synthetic form of a cat’s F3 facial pheromones which they rub on surfaces they deem to be safe. Studies have found that Feliway helps reduces 90% of spraying on vertical surfaces (i.e. walls, doors, etc.). It can also help with stress-induced scratching.
Flying can be very stressful for pets. If you can keep the pet in the cabin with you, that’s always the best option. Air travel can also be risky for pets, so it’s good to weigh your options before you decide to fly with your pet. If you’re going to fly with your pet, find out whether they can travel in the cabin with you. Most airlines allow cats or small dogs in carriers in the cabin for an additional fee. Calling the airlines well in advance to book your pet’s spot and to make sure there is room for him is always a good idea.
Here are some tips for flying with your pet in the cabin:
Pets must be transported in a carrier and kept inside it at all times. The carrier must stay under the seat in front of you for the flight duration. Keep in mind that a pet carrier counts as your piece of carry-on luggage, so you might have to pay extra to check your bag.
Research each airline’s pet policy. Many have pet fees that range from $100 to $150 per one-way flight.
Make sure to give your pet plenty of exercise before the flight, most definitely if it is a long one.
Arrive earlier than you normally would for extra prep time when traveling with your pet.
Don't feed the animal six to eight hours before the flight, but give them water right up until the flight begins.
Bring a copy of vaccine records and a health certificate from the vet.
Tag your pet and it’s carrier with your information as well as the pet's information.
This is the fun part of traveling with your pet! There are increasingly more lodging options that cater to pet owners and their beloved pet companions, providing daycare, dog beds, homemade treats, and other great pet amenities. Check out this list of pet-friendly lodging to find the perfect place for you and your pet!
Last but not least, have fun! See new sights, sniff new things and enjoy all this great big world has to offer with your best friend at your side.