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Pet Trip Tips

If you choose to include your pet in your next vacation, here are some tips to make the trip safer and more enjoyable for the whole family:

pet-trip-tipsGeneral Travel Tips

  • Plan ahead to make sure pets are welcome at your destination, whether it is a hotel, motel, park, campground or the home of a friend of family member.  An Internet search will yield many listings for pet-friendly accommodations.
  • Take copies of your pet’s current health and rabies certificates.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and wears an identification collar with license and rabies tag. It is a good idea to add a tag with information about where you can be contacted if the pet is lost at your destination.
  • Have your pet examined by your veterinarian to make sure it is healthy enough to travel and that its vaccinations are up to date.
  • If your pet does not tolerate travel well, ask your veterinarian about medications or over the counter supplements that may help.
  • If you are going camping, talk with your veterinarian about flea and tick medication and heartworm preventatives.
  • Don’t forget your pet’s medications, food, water, toys, and a leash (but do not leave a leash in a carrier with your pet as it may become entangled in it).
  • Pack a first aid kit and include the phone numbers of veterinarians, emergency animal hospitals, and an animal poison control hotline (1-888-426-4435, fee).
  • Limit food prior to the start of the trip to avoid travel sickness.
  • Try to stick to your pet’s routine of feeding, exercise and sleep as much as possible on the trip.
  • Perform a daily health check of your pet.


Travel by car

  • It is advisable to place your dog in a travel kennel or have it otherwise restrained while traveling by car to keep it from escaping when you stop. Cats should travel in kennels. If your pet is not used to traveling by car, take it for short rides prior to your trip.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked card, especially on warm days. The temperature in a parked car can rise to over 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even when the windows are rolled down. Exposure to such high temperatures can lead to heatstroke, which can kill your pet.
  • Plan to stop every few hours to exercise your dog and let it go the bathroom. Travel kennels for cats should include a small letter box.


 Travel by Air

  • Check with the airlines for their specific requirements for pet travel.
  • Book nonstop flights in the cooler morning or evening hours (summer) or the warmer daytime hours (winter).
  • Obtain an appropriate travel kennel that allows your pet room to stand up, lie down and turn around. It should have air vents that cannot be impeded.
  • Clearly label the kennel with contact information for your home and destination, as well as the words “Live Animal” and an upward arrow either side of the kennel.
  • For more information on air travel with your pet, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web site at aphis.usda.gov.

This information is courtesy of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.

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