Vets Share Tips on Traveling Well With Pets

When pets are part of the family, traveling with them lets everyone enjoy the escape.

Photos by humonia / Getty IMages Plus


When you have pets, opportunities to travel mandate that you decide whether to arrange to take them along or arrange to leave them behind.

Traveling with pets in tow is more commonplace these days, but it’s still not a walk in the park. Know before you go so that your trip is fun for all travelers, regardless of how many legs they have.

“The key to any kind of travel with pets really is planning ahead,” said Dr. Dustin Russell of Wynn Haven Animal Hospital in Mary Esther.

“Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian far in advance to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and preventions required by the location where you will be staying.

This will also be a good time to see if there are any time-sensitive testing and certifications that may be needed — especially if you’re planning international travel,” Russell said.

“Some countries will require many months of planning due to strict regulations on testing and vaccinating.

If you’re traveling by air, research the different airlines and their specific regulations, accommodations and restrictions for pets far in advance to avoid missing flights and other conflicts that could potentially arise.”

Experts suggest choosing flights that are non-stop or have a minimal number of plane changes, preferably mid-week, when air travel is less busy.

A trial run is advisable, to learn what may be needed to keep your pet calm and comfortable.

“Take them on a few shorter trips to see how well they travel,” advises Kelly Gardener, head veterinary technician at Hillman Veterinary Clinic in Pensacola.

“If your pet experiences motion sickness, check with your veterinarian about medications that can help alleviate the motion sickness.

Animals who get anxious during travel also can be given medications to minimize their anxiety.”

When hitting the road, think about what you need for a comfy road trip and apply that to what your pet might need.

Just as munchies and drinks are a must-have for you, your dog or cat also needs food and water in transit, and stopping to stretch your legs and take potty breaks will do all of you good.

For those stops, the team at Hillman recommends that your pet is properly leashed up or secure in a kennel when the car doors open.

“It can be extremely difficult to recover a pet once they’ve gotten loose in an unfamiliar area, so we also recommend that pets be microchipped prior to travel,” Gardener said.

Also, remember to bring clean-up bags.

Putting your best paw forward is recommended, too, so have your pets fully groomed just before the trip so that they’re clean, comfortable and looking their best.

When pets are part of the family, traveling with them lets everyone enjoy the escape together and explore new places. By planning ahead, you will all be well equipped to hit the road or fly the friendly skies.

Next stop: wagging tails and happy trails.

Categories: Pets