Many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving our pets behind when we travel, especially during the holidays. Travel with pets can be fun and enjoyable if we take the time to plan ahead; but what needs to be done? Your team at Hallsville Veterinary Hospital has road-tested the following pet travel tips, taking into consideration your pet’s comfort and needs – as well as your own sanity – while traveling.

Let’s Get Packing!

Early planning is the key to a great trip with your pet. Think about what your pet will need, research transportation and lodging options, and make an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure that their vaccinations and parasite preventatives are up to date. This is especially important if you are traveling to a new climate, as there may be different threats to your pet’s health than we find here in Texas.

If your pet is new to travel, or prone to anxiety, talk to us before you go to see if anti-anxiety medication might be right for your pet. This would also be the ideal time to be sure your pet is microchipped, if they aren’t already, and to confirm that their microchip contact info is current, if they are already chipped.

Whether you are flying or driving, you wouldn’t leave home without having your basic needs and a few creature comforts covered, and neither should your pet. In addition to your pet’s favorite treats or toys, be sure to bring:

  • Their collar (with tags) and leash
  • A basic pet first-aid kit
  • A familiar-smelling bed or blanket for the car or their crate
  • A sweater or jacket (or two) if you are traveling to colder climates
  • Food and water bowls and their regular food (traveling can wreak havoc on their tummy, just like yours!)
  • Waste baggies
  • A copy of their prescriptions (and the actual prescriptions)
  • A recent picture of your pet, which can come in handy in an emergency

These pet travel tips for packing should help both you and your four-legged traveler enjoy the journey, as well as the destination.

Trip Tips for the Jet Set

If you are flying, and your pet is small enough to ride under your seat, it would be best for them to do so. If your pet must fly as cargo, please talk to us as soon as possible to ensure your pet’s safety or to discuss boarding options.

Our pet travel tips for flying with your pet include:

  • Book a direct flight – This will help your pet stay more comfortable by minimizing the ups and downs. It also reduces the chances of your pet waiting on the tarmac in inclement weather during a layover.
  • Make an appointment with your veterinarian – All airlines require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) issued within 10 days of travel. Hallsville Veterinary Clinic can help you with this documentation. Make sure you order needed prescriptions and any special diets in advance.
  • Purchase a USDA approved crate or carrier – If your pet is too large to travel as checked baggage, they will travel in the cargo hold. Make sure the crate is large enough for your pet to sit.  stand up, and turn around in comfortably. The crate should be closed securely, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it if necessary. Mark the crate clearly with your pet’s identification, picture, and your contact info.
  • Make friends with the airline personnel – This might sound funny, but letting the crew know that you are traveling with your pet in the cargo hold can help them be ready if any additional concerns or attention is needed.

Pet Travel Tips for Roadtrippers

Many pets love riding in the car or RV, and road trips with your pet can be a great adventure. Here are a few tips for road tripping with your pet.

  • Safety first – Invest in a travel-safe USDA approved carrier or crate. Make sure it is well ventilated. Don’t let your pet roam the vehicle freely, as tempting as that may be. And, never, ever, leave your pet in a parked car, even if it’s cold.
  • Contact your accommodations – Call your friends and family, hotel, motel, park, campground, or marina to make sure pets are welcome, and to determine any restrictions or rules regarding pets. Research places to stop along the way – a dog park, or pet friendly restaurant can make the trip even more enjoyable.
  • Come see us – If you are crossing state lines, proof of vaccination and/or a health certificate may be required. And, proper identification including a microchip is so important.  Microchips that are properly registered can improve the chances of reuniting with your pet should she become lost during your trip.
  • Have fun – Bring along a few novel toys to give to your pet periodically along the way, to keep them happy and entertained in the car.
  • Stop and smell the sites – Even if you want to power through the next 100 miles, keep in mind that your pet will need to stop more often than you will to stretch their legs, go potty, and have a drink and a snack. Be sure to have fresh water and familiar food in the car with you for these breaks.

Pro tip! Freeze water into a bowl and secure it in the carrier, your pet can lick at the thawing liquid for hydration without the worry of water sloshing out and getting everything wet (or wasting the water)!

If you need more pet travel tips or have questions, or need to make a pre-travel appointment, please Contact us! We’d be happy to walk you through your trip planning and get your pet on our books before you hit the road.