The holidays can be a hectic time to travel, especially for those with furry friends in tow. Follow these quick tips to travel safely and comfortably with your family pet.
Before You Set Out on Your Trip
Tip 1: Research emergency vet clinics at your final destination. You may need to make an unexpected trip to the doctor. For a listing of veterinarians and pet emergency hospitals in the U.S., visit the State Veterinary Medical Association website. Keep this information in a notebook along with your pet’s things.
Tip 2: Make sure your pet is microchipped, or has up-to-date ID tags. This will increase the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if lost in transit.
Tip 3: If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure your accommodations allow pets. Many hotels are pet-friendly, including the Hilton Times Square in New York. Whether you’re taking a jaunt through Central Park, or visiting a local dog park, New York is a great state to visit with a four-legged friend. For a comprehensive list of hotels at your final destination, visit the Trips with Pets website.
Transporting your companion animal in the cargo area of a plane is dangerous, and can be a terrifying experience for your pet. If flying is your only option, consider the following tips.
Tip 1: Book your flight early to ensure your pet has a reservation. Many airlines have quotas for how many animals can be aboard on any given flight. Better yet, book your pet on a flight with Pet Airways, a pet-only airline offering climate controlled cabins outfitted with individual crates.
Tip 2: Do your research. Regulations and guidelines vary depending on the airline, and whether the pet flies in the cabin or in the cargo hold. Due to seasonal weather conditions, Delta Airlines does not accept pets as checked baggage from May 15 through September 15. A health certificate is also required, and must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of transport. When you check in with your pet, you will be asked to complete a live animal checklist/confirmation of feeding.
Tip 3: Don’t give your pet a tranquilizer to sedate them during the flight. The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against this, because sedatives can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems when the animal is exposed to increased altitude pressure.
When possible, driving is less risky for animals than flying.
Tip 1: Before setting out on a long trip, take shorter test runs to see how your pet responds. Does your dog or cat get anxious or car sick?
Tip 2: Be sure to use a kennel, or a canine seat belt for your dog. Clickit Utility is among the safest seat belts for your dog, and was given a gold star rating for being a top performer in a Forbes test.
Tip 3: Plan for plenty of bathroom breaks along the way. Pet owners should stop every two to three hours so pets can use the bathroom and get some exercise. Ideally, stop at a dog run like the Petco Foundation Dog Park in Oceanside, California. The park has a separate small dog area, astroturf, drinking water, benches, gazebo and shade.