You and your buddy are ready to embark on a trip together, but don’t set off unprepared. Traveling with pets requires careful preparation and packing; however with a bit of planning, you and your four-legged friends will be adventuring together in no time.
No matter the type of travel -- plane, train or automobile -- your buddy needs to be housed in a pet-safe carrier or kennel. An appropriate carrier will be well ventilated with mesh on at least two sides, have a secure entryway and fit your pet comfortably with several inches on any side of his body. If traveling by car, make sure the carrier has proper seat belt clips. For air travel, be sure to check with your airline for specific kennel requirements and restrictions.
Food and Medications
Collapsible food and water bowls are great space savers during travel. However, if you have a particularly anxious pet and the room to spare, consider bringing along his regular food bowls. The familiarity can help ease his anxiety. It’s also important to maintain his diet; a road trip is not the time to test out new foods. As a general rule, bring double the amount of food and medications you think your trip requires.
Collar and Leash
Both dogs and cats need to travel with a collar or harness and identification tags. For kitties, make sure the collar is a quick-release safety collar. Try getting Kitty used to her collar a few weeks before her trip to reduce any stress. Bring a couple of leashes for your dog, and don’t forget to attach an ample supply of waste bags for easy cleanup.
If your pet is traveling abroad, you’ll need to bring vaccination records and a veterinarian certified health certificate from the last ten days. You may also need supporting documents. Contact the visiting country’s consulate or embassy for information and requirements.
Travel can be stressful for everyone, four-legged friends included. Cats in particular are accustomed to routine and can become easily stressed during travel. Bringing along your cat’s favorite bedding or lining her carrier with her favorite blanket provides your anxious kitty with a sense of security. Your veterinarian can also recommend a variety of calming supplements such as Feliway -- a natural pheromone spray that can be used on a favorite blanket or towel to calm Kitty. When in an unknown area, our canine buddies will also find comfort in their favorite bedding, toys and blankets.
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, be prepared with a pet-friendly first aid kit when you travel. Make sure to pack it with items necessary in veterinary emergencies such as gauze, medical tape, alcohol pads, pet-safe scissors, small tweezers, and your veterinarian’s contact information.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.