The hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season is here, and for many, traveling during this time without their fur baby is simply unimaginable. To help you along your merry way, VVP has compiled some general travel tips for smooth travels!
If your pet is not used to traveling in the car, go for a few test runs to see how he responds. Does your pet seem anxious or relaxed? Is your pet getting car sick? Knowing these things ahead of time will help you avoid a frustrating and perhaps messy car ride.
If your pet seems anxious, start with short car rides and gradually increase the lengths with positive rewards during the ride and at the end. For carsickness, try going for a test run 3-4 hours or more after your pet has eaten to see if having an empty stomach helps your pet get through the trip comfortably. If these tricks don’t work after you have practiced, call VVP and your veterinarian can give you specific ideas based upon your individual pet.
SAFETY FIRST! Just as we wear our seat belts in the car for safety, we must exercise caution that our pets are safe in the car as well. Pets should ride in the back seat, preferably in a crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle. And while your dog might love the wind in his face from holding his head out the window, this just simply isn’t a safe way to travel. Your dog can easily become injured by flying debris or by the vehicle coming to a sudden stop.
If you plan to fly with your pet, contact your airline well in advance for specific pet related information and restrictions. While the FAA has a standard set of guidelines, each airline establishes its own company policy for the proper handling of the animals they transport. A few key things to be aware of before making your preparations:
- Most airlines will require a health certificate documenting that your pet has been examined by a veterinarian within 10 days of your flight. This certificate also provides evidence that your pet is currently vaccinated against rabies.
- If your pet is too big to be considered a “carry on” and will have to fly in the plane’s cargo area, keep in mind that temperatures can be very questionable this time of year. Schedule flights mid-day when temperatures are generally warmer, but be aware that if the temperature is lower than 45°F the airline may require an acclimation certificate* from your veterinarian.
*Airlines may request acclimation certificates to ship dogs and cats when the airline cannot guarantee compliance with animal welfare regulations, specifically the minimum temperature allowed by the regulations. Please be advised that Village Veterinary Practice will not produce such letters of acclimation. Because each pet is different, we can not determine the specific temperature range and time duration your animal can safely withstand in instances of extreme hot or cold weather.
VVP is an advocate for your pet’s health. When outside temperatures are too variable and extreme, we ultimately advise you not fly with your pet and encourage you to find a suitable alternative.
In addition to packing food, bottled water, bowls, leashes, medication and waste bags, make sure your pet is wearing his ID and rabies tags.
If your pet doesn’t already have a microchip (a permanent identification device), now might be a good time to get one. And if your pet does have a microchip, be sure all your registration and contact information are correct.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to bring proof of your pet’s vaccinations whenever you travel with him.
VVP wishes you a wonderful holiday season with stress free travel!