Holiday Pet Travel: Keeping Fido And Fluffy Safe

If you’re planning to travel in the next few weeks, you’re not alone. According to a study by IPX1031, about 62 percent of Americans are planning to travel this month, with 38 percent going to a nearby state and 12 percent traveling internationally. Many pet owners also travel with their furry and feathered friends each year. In fact, approximately 78% of American pet owners take their pets on adventures. However, there are several factors to consider when traveling with pets. Here are some helpful tips from a local Lexington, KY vet on this:

Research Your Destination

Every destination has specific features and hazards to be aware of. That includes flora and fauna as well as parasites and diseases. In addition to the core vaccines, you may also need proof of some non-core vaccines, such as Bordetella. Research potential hazards and consult with your Lexington, KY veterinarian to determine if any additional vaccines are necessary for your pet’s safety.

If you’re headed to a cabin in the woods, your canine buddy may benefit from being vaccinated for Leptospirosis. Going to the desert? A rattlesnake vaccine may not be a bad idea, especially if you’re traveling with a dog that will chase anything and everything that moves.


Consider Your Pet’s Comfort And Safety 

Before booking your pet’s travel arrangements, think about their age, size, health, personality, and how they respond to travel. Not all pets enjoy traveling, so take time to think about if it’s the right choice for them. Also, consider the destination and whether it is safe and suitable for your pet. Pets from hot climates may be very uncomfortable in cold areas, while snow dogs may absolutely hate that tropical heat and sunshine you’re longing for. 

Weather isn’t the only thing to consider, though. Some pets will just be more comfortable at home or in a kennel. Think about Fido and Fluffy’s age, temperament, and health. The distance you’re going is also something to consider. If you’re only going two hours away to Grandma’s, taking Fido along may be a no-brainer. Meeting the family for a destination holiday in Hawaii? That’s going to take a bit more planning. 


Prepare For Emergencies

Depending on your destination, you may need to provide proof of your pet’s vaccinations and parasite control. 

Keep copies of these records with you, either physically or digitally, for easy access. It’s also beneficial to have your pet’s medical history on hand, especially documentation on any issues they may have. Ask your Lexington, KY vet for more information. 

It’s important to be prepared for any emergencies that may arise during travel. Familiarize yourself with local veterinarians and emergency clinics in the area. Additionally, take time to get to know the potential dangers, such as poisonous plants or critters, and take appropriate precautions. 


Confirm Your Pet’s ID

We can’t overstate the importance of making sure your four-legged friend is wearing proper ID. This is extra important during travel! 

Make sure your pet is wearing tags with current contact information. Microchipping is also recommended. Before leaving, check your records to ensure your contact details are accurate in the chipmaker’s database. That chip won’t do any good if the information is outdated or incorrect!

Modern technology can also offer a boost here. Consider getting GPS tags. These can be very useful for tracking your pet’s location. Just be sure to do plenty of research first. Some of these products operate through cell towers, while others utilize satellite technology. Plus, there are varying models and subscription tiers available.


Air Travel: Should My Pet Fly The Friendly Skies?

There are quite a few things to consider and factor in when bringing a pet on a plane, safety being the most important. 

If possible, travel with your pet in the cabin. This may require purchasing another seat, but it’s well worth it. Of course, you’ll need to check the size and weight restrictions first. 


If your pet must be placed in the cargo hold, be aware of the potential discomfort and dangers. Pets do fly in cargo holds daily, but it’s not a very comfortable experience for them. Many of those holds are unheated, which means your furry friend could get dangerously hot or cold. They won’t be able to relieve themselves, which can add to their discomfort. The noise and vibration is also very scary for many pets. 


Additionally, there may also be issues with airflow and air quality. This is a huge concern for pets with respiratory issues, such as brachycephalic pets. You’ll also want to check the airline’s rules, regulations, and safety records for pet transport.


When booking air travel, we also recommend using direct flights as much as possible. This minimizes the time your pet will spend in cargo and also reduces the chances of them being sent to the wrong place. 


Road Trips With Pets

Traveling by car is generally the most comfortable for pets. Plus, this allows for more control over stops and breaks. Always keep your pet crated during car travel, both to ensure their safety and prevent distractions. Your dog may look cute sticking his nose out the window, but this is actually quite dangerous. Fido could get rocks, stones, dust, insects, or even cigarette butts in his face or eyes! He would also be very vulnerable to getting injured if there were an accident, or even if you had to stop suddenly.


Some pets love going on car rides. Others? Not so much. If your pet gets anxious or carsick during travel, ask your vet about medications or pet-calming products that may help.


Pet Travel Accommodations: Choosing A Carrier 

You’ll need to select a carrier that is solid and secure. You don’t want it falling open mid-journey! Include some form of identification. You can use mailing labels. Put some clear packing tape over it to seal it and make it waterproof. Luggage tags also work.


If you are flying or even traveling on some buses or trains, you may need to pass a security checkpoint. Have a leash and collar on hand, just in case you need to take your pet out of their carrier.


Packing For Your Pet 

Don’t forget about the doggy bag! (Or kitty bag, for anyone traveling with cats.) You’ll need to get a bag ready for your furry travel buddy. Pack food, water, dishes, bedding, toys, and a pet first-aid kit. If you’re unsure about the availability of your pet’s food at your destination, consider ordering some in advance and having it shipped to yourself there. It’s also a good idea to pack a little extra of things like medicine and supplements.


Settling In

Once you reach your destination, let your pet explore when they are ready. Taking Fido for a walk can be a great way to explore a new place! Remember to take lots of pictures! You’ll also want to watch for signs of stress. If your furry friend seems uneasy, pay some extra attention to them. 


It’s worth noting that some pets get very nervous in new places. A small fan may help, as it can block out unfamiliar background noises. 


Happy Holidays from Animal Care Clinic! Feel free to reach out to us at your local Lexington, KY veterinary clinic, if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. We’re here to help!

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