Planning for your Pet when Traveling

Aug 17, 2022 | Cats, Dogs, Travel

As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions wind down and things open up, many people are taking trips again. During the pandemic there was an explosion of pet ownership. Now you may be wondering what to do with your beloved pet or how best to transport them safely. This blog should help address a few of those questions when planning for your pet when traveling and maybe a few you did not think of.

First, you want to make sure you have proper carriers or leashes for your pet. These should be new, if possible, and sturdily constructed. If Garfield makes a break for it when you stop, it will be very hard to find him again. You need to plan out hotels that are pet friendly. Also for dogs, like people, you need to plan out potty and water breaks. Don’t forget a water bottle and travel bowl, too!

If you are unable to take your pet with you, or need to board your pet at your vacation destination, you should research and find the best boarding facilities well in advance. This is especially important around the holidays as boarding facilities book up quickly. Each individual establishment has different requirements for boarding, from vaccines to fecal and heartworm testing. They also have different open hours that you’ll need to consider when planning flights and travel timelines. Whenever possible, take the time to visit the place and see how the animals are kept. Ask questions on how the animals are cared for – do they send you updates? What happens if an emergency occurs? What is their policy for check-in and check-out?

If your pet has anxiety or nausea when traveling, you may wish to visit your veterinarian. There are many ways we can help you and your pet to make this experience better. In some cases sedation may help. It is important that for these medications, as well as any chronic use or emergency medications, they are refilled well before you plan to travel. Most veterinarians ask for at least 24 hours to get medications refilled, and if it’s the first time your pet is receiving a medication, an exam may be required as well. Remember that if you have a veterinary need out of state, including a medication refill, your pet will need to be seen by a vet within that state.

Traveling out of state or internationally? Each state and country has different requirements, and you may need a Health Certificate in order to travel with your pet. Research the individual destinations and begin planning your pet’s vet visit for their health certificate needs as soon in advance as you can. You will need to know exactly what is required for where you travel. Only USDA accredited Veterinarians can issue Health Certificates for interstate and international travel. If you’re flying, be sure you check in with the specific airline requirements for pets traveling with you.

Each family and situation is different. A little planning can help ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Hopefully a few of these tidbits help makes that trip a little easier and less stressful.

– Dr. Ryan McKenna

For more information, contact our team at VETSS, a Charlottesville VA urgent care animal hospital!

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