Holiday Travel With Your Pets

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The holidays are one of the peak seasons for travel, and many people choose to take the family pets along with them. Whether you are off on a vacation or visiting family, having your best friend along can make the trip more enjoyable.

Be sure to consider your pet’s identification before you leave. Pet ID tags with your Home and Cell Phone number are very important while on the road. You should also consider the added safety of a pet microchip. If your pet is separated from you, a shelter or a veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip ID which will allow them track you down through the database of the manufacturer of the microchip. If you are going to be spending a couple of weeks in one place, consider buying a second Pet ID tag with the contact information on where you will be staying.

Pet Crates are a great way to keep your pet safe when traveling in the car. Unless a pet is confined or harnessed, its behavior can cause great distraction to the driver of the vehicle. As much as we all like our smaller pet in our lap, it is detrimental to the safety of the pet, the driver, and the passengers riding in the car. A collision, even at a slow speed, can seriously injure an unrestrained pet. The safety of your pet is your responsibility. Be sure and buckle them in with a pet harness or confine them in a crate. Many states now require your pets to be restrained while in a vehicle and will issue fines to those who do not follow these state laws!

Do Not leave your pet in the car alone. Be prepared by having a supply of water in portable pet water food bowls in the car. You may not find the brand of pet food that your pet is accustomed to where you are going, so bring extra food with you.

If you are traveling by air, then you will need an IATA compliant pet crate with special safety features. You can check with your airline to verify that your crate meets the standards required for travel with them. You will also need a current health certificate for each pet. Your pet will need to be examined by a veterinarian to obtain the health certificate. Once again, you must check with your airline to verify the necessary documents needed for pet travel. Make sure that the pet crate is large enough so that your pet can stand up and turn around. Be sure to leave an adequate supply of food and water to last for the period that you will be away. It’s also a good idea to place an absorbent pet pad in the bottom of the crate that will keep your pet dry in case of accidents.

Flying with your pet is easy these days. Almost all airlines accept pets on board the aircraft. Very small pets can often travel in the cabin of the aircraft with you in an airline compliant pet carrier. Larger pets will travel as checked baggage in a special section of the cargo hold where the temperature and pressure is the same as in the cabin. Be sure to make reservations early as the airlines only allow a limited number of pets per flight.

You will need lodging on the way. A great majority of pet friendly hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts that accept pets but they do not always accept all types and sizes. It is important to make your reservations in advance and ask about their pet policy.

When traveling, keep your pet on their normal schedule by feeding them and taking them for their walk close to the regular time as possible. Be sure to pack a supply of plastic bags to take along on those walks. If you are traveling with a cat, there are portable kitty litter trays available. Realize that your pet is out of their normal surroundings, so be sure and keep them on a leash and watch them closely. Reassure them should they show signs of nervousness or anxiety.

Be considerate of other people. Although there are many pet lovers in this world, there are some that do not feel comfortable around pets. Respect others by restraining your pet when necessary. So whether your destination is Grandma’s house or a vacation resort, your pet can accompany you with the proper planning.

Please feel free to contact us at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concern. (301) 983-8400.

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