When traveling with your pet, many things can go awry, from misplaced food, forgotten prescriptions, and sometimes great escapes. Keep your furry pal safe when traveling by ensuring their collar ID tags and microchip registration information are current. Additionally, follow these five tips to make traveling with your four-legged friend a breeze. 

#1: Make your pet’s travel plans well in advance

Whenever you travel with your pet, plot your route, make reservations, and purchase tickets well in advance, especially around the holidays. Airline spots available for pets can fill up quickly over the busy holiday season, which may mean you have to leave your furry companion behind in a boarding facility if you don’t plan far enough in advance. On the other hand, if you plan on boarding your pet at your destination, ensure you make your reservation prior to traveling, to ensure your pet has room at the inn. If possible, make travel plans with a one to two month buffer to guarantee your desired travel and boarding dates are available. 

#2: Understand all travel requirements with pets

Each airline, railroad, and car rental service has varying pet-travel requirements—and some may not allow it at all. When investigating transportation modes, check for pet-friendly options and their requirements. For example, pets may be unable to fly if the temperatures are too high or too low for comfort. While the cargo hold may not be as regulated as the plane’s cabin, waiting on the tarmac can be hazardous to your pet’s health, as they wait in extreme conditions to be loaded with the rest of the cargo. Other requirements can include additional pet fees, health certificates, and vaccination records, so read the pet travel policy carefully, or speak to a customer service representative.  

#3: Ensure your pet is healthy enough for travel

In addition to providing a health certificate ensuring your pet’s clean bill of health before you travel—which is necessary for traveling out of state or out of the country, in most cases—your family veterinarian can booster essential vaccinations and refill important prescriptions. Plus, pets who become anxious or carsick can benefit from a veterinary visit to discuss easing their stress and nausea. If your veterinarian recommends that your pet take a new medication for travel anxiety or nausea, leave enough time to test the medication and check your pet’s reaction. You don’t want to be stuck in the sky with a panicking or overly sedated pet. 

#4: Pack your pet’s bags before hitting the road

You probably spend days planning the outfits to cram into your suitcase, and you should spend an equal amount of time packing your pet’s bags with their necessities. While they won’t need a fashionable new collar for every day of the week, a few items are essential, including:

  • Food, and a can opener for wet food
  • Food and water dishes
  • Collar, harness, and leash
  • Up-to-date collar ID tags
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Bedding
  • Travel carrier or crate
  • Prescriptions
  • Health certificate and/or vaccination records

Although it’s tempting to cram all your pet’s toys into their bag to ensure they feel comfortable while traveling, stick to the basics, and double check the important items, like food and prescriptions. Many pets who become stressed in new places experience diarrhea, so avoid further gastrointestinal upset by running out of food and needing to switch at your destination.

#5: Keep an emergency veterinarian’s number on hand for your pet

You never know when your pet will require after-hours veterinary care, or have trouble while traveling, so always have an emergency veterinarian’s number on hand. When planning your route, choose a nearby veterinarian who can provide emergency care for your furry pal. And, keep your family veterinarian’s number handy, in case you need them to transfer your pet’s records to an emergency veterinarian. 

Although traveling with your pet can seem daunting, it’s a cinch with proper planning. If you’re traveling through the Spokane area and need an emergency veterinarian, reach out to our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team for help.