- At all times during your travel, be sure to have your pet wear its collar with tags. Be sure that the tag includes your cell phone number rather than your home number – obviously you won’t be home to receive the call! Even better, have your vet insert an identification microchip. Along the identification line – it’s also a good idea to carry with you a recent photo of your pet, just in case he/she gets loose.
- Be sure to check your airline’s policies regarding pets. Some airlines allow pets only in the cabin with you (in a carrier small enough to fit under the seat); some airlines allow pets only in the cargo section (in appropriate carriers); some allow pets in both the cabin and cargo areas; and some disallow all pets.
- Other airline considerations include size of your pet, maximum number of pets allowed on one flight, fees, etc.
- Note that the airlines do not allow you to remove your pet from the carrier at any time and, even in the event of an “accident”, you won’t be allowed in the lavatory with your pet.
- It’s best to book a non-stop flight, and when you make your reservation, ask the agent which seat has the widest under seat space (window, aisle or center).
- Note that when passing through security, you will need to take your pet out of its carrier. The airport environment can be very stressful for your pet, so be sure that you have a good hold of him/her – and be sure your pet has its identification tags on, just in case he/she gets loose! See more Cheap pet friendly flights
- Be sure that your pet’s first ride in the car is not the 12-hour drive to grandma’s. You should plan to take your pet on test drives (increasing in duration) before your trip. (In fact, it’s a good idea to start your new puppy’s/kitty’s familiarity with the car at an early age.)
- There’s a good chance your pet may cry when you first start out and your thought is, “oh no, 12 hours of this”. Rest assured that it is likely he/she will settle down after about a half hour or so. You may also consider covering the carrier with a blanket or towel – this will help ease your pet’s anxiety.
- Always keep your pet in its carrier. You may feel the urge to let it out to roam the car freely, especially if he/she is crying or restless, but you have to fight that urge. An animal free to roam is a safety hazard for you and your pet. A sudden stop can cause injury to your pet and a cat under the accelerator or brake can be serious trouble for everyone.
- Do not leave your pet unattended in the car any longer than you have to when taking a rest area break, particularly in extreme warm or cold weather. At mealtimes, take advantage of drive-thru restaurants or other fast carry out.
Whether to sedate your pet is a subject you should talk about with your vet. There are pros and cons that should be evaluated for your specific pet by a professional.
Each country will have regulations pertaining to the entry of animals into the country. Be sure to check your destination country’s regulations as well as your own country’s regulations (which will apply when you return). Typically you will need a recent pet health certificate verifying vaccinations. There may be a fee involved with your pet’s entry to the country and a quarantine period may be required. We highly recommend that you speak with your vet before planning international travel, or to Hawaii (Hawaii requires quarantine).
To learn more about Hawaii’s quarantine regulations, click here:
To learn about entry to the U.S. with your pet, click here:
Your pet will be comforted by the familiar smells of home. If your pet uses a pet bed and it will fit in the carrier, be sure to take it along. If not, you can use a favorite blanket or towel, or even an old T-shirt of yours. You can also take along a few of your pet’s favorite toys. It’s also important that your trip is not your pet’s first introduction to the travel carrier. Leave the carrier open in your home prior to your trip so your pet becomes familiar with it.
A change to your pet’s diet, along with the stress of travel, may result in discomfort, stomach upset, diarrhea, etc. Accordingly, it is a good idea to continue to feed your pet the same food it is accustomed to, which may mean taking a supply along with you. You may want to consider taking water as well. If possible, take the food and water dishes that your pet uses daily. Depending on the type of travel and length of time to reach your destination, you will have to consider when to withhold food from your pet and how long your pet should be able to go without, well, having to “go”. Discuss your travel plans with your vet, who can best advise you in this matter.
Before you let your pet out of its carrier, check the hotel room (especially under the bed) for mouse poisons, roach traps, etc. Remove anything “foreign” that your pet may chew, eat or play with. Be sure to adhere to the hotel’s policies regarding leaving the pet unattended in the room (many will require that you remain with the pet or that the pet be left in its carrier). If the hotel allows it, and you leave the room, be sure to put the “do not disturb” hanger on the door