Holidays are meant to be enjoyed by the whole family- and that includes our furry friends too! And since most of us have to travel far and wide to be with our loved ones or simply getting away for leisure, planning trips with pets can seem like a daunting task. That’s why proper planning is so important to ensuring you and your pet arrive safe and sound. To make your ride a little smoother, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks so you and your pet can travel stress-free!

Before Lift Off

Whether or not you’re travelling by plane, train or automobile, it’s crucial that your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar or tag that clearly states their name and lost pet recovery phone number should you get separated. You can even include a temporary travel tag on your pet’s collar that includes your cell phone number and destination. It’s also important to check with your vet so that you can make sure their physical condition is up to snuff before crossing any state lines/international waters. You should also obtain a health certificate that’s dated at least within 10 days of your departure, and ensure that all of their vaccinations are up-to-date.

Travelling by Plane

Small pets are often able to ride under your seat, which can help avoid confusion or worry for both pets, pet owners and staff members. However, if you have to travel with a larger animal, make sure to:

  • Book a direct flight if possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Purchase a shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Make sure to line it with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents.
  • Properly identify your pet’s crate. Attach a piece of paper/cardboard with the words ‘Live Animal,’ and include your name, cell phone, and a photo of your pet.
  • Bring along lots of food and water for your pet, and keep it secured to the crate so that they’re able to eat or drink throughout the flight.

Travelling by Car

Buckle up, because hitting the road with your pet means more than just loading them in the back seat.

  • If your pet isn’t used to riding in the car, then make sure to take them on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car, so that they know what to expect when you do take the big trip.
  • If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet's rabies vaccination record and health certificate just in case.
  • Bring along a crate that’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in, and secure the crate to avoid sliding or shifting in the event of an abrupt stop.
  • Prep a pet-friendly travel kit that includes food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents.
  • Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle.
  • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace, and in cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator.

Travelling with pets doesn’t have to feel like a night in the doghouse- it just requires a little extra planning and prep- and if we know pet owners, we know that making sure our furry friends are safe is never a chore!

*Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date on your MyPethealth account before your departure should your little bud wander off and have a little too much fun on vacation.