In the best of times, traveling can be stressful, but when compounded with the holiday season hubbub, it can be downright chaotic. Before you take to the skies or hit the road with your furry friend, we answer all your questions to ensure your trip is smooth sailing.
Q: Why should my pet receive an exam before traveling?
A: Pets are masters at hiding signs of illness, making it difficult to pick up on medical issues without a thorough physical exam and routine blood work. Travel anxiety can worsen cardiac and respiratory issues, and a stressed immune system can cause smoldering infections to flare. In addition to clearing your pet for takeoff, we can fill out a health certificate, if needed.
Q: Are health certificates necessary for all destinations?
A: Most travel modes and destinations want to ensure they are taking in a healthy pet and will require a current health certificate. When planning your trip, check with your airline, bus line, car rental company, and all destinations to see if a health certificate is necessary—it likely will be.
Q: What can I do to relieve my pet’s travel anxiety?
A: Many people suffer from anxiety while traveling, and so do pets. Planes, trains, buses, boats, hotels, and new family members can create overwhelming anxiety in your furry friend, especially if she has never traveled. We can provide a variety of anxiety-easing medications that can soothe your pet’s fear, but the effects can vary from pet to pet, so we recommend a trial run prior to traveling.
Q: What can I do to treat my pet’s motion sickness?
A: There’s nothing more unpleasant than sitting crammed next to someone vomiting, whether a person or a pet. Pharmaceutical solutions are available, so ask us how to stave off your pet’s potential motion sickness.
Q: Why does my pet get diarrhea when we travel and how can I prevent it?
A: Pets can easily become stressed in strange travel situations, and stress can wreak havoc on their gastrointestinal tract. Stress diarrhea commonly occurs in pets who board, travel, or experience change from their normal routine. To prevent diarrhea, ensure that your pet’s food remains the same, and try to stick to her normal schedule concerning walks, and feeding and resting times.
Q: What is the best way to travel with a large dog?
A: If you will be traveling with a large dog, consider driving instead of flying. Larger pets appreciate the chance to stretch their legs every three to four hours, instead of remaining in a crate in the plane cargo hold for hours on end.
Q: What is the best way to travel with a small dog or a cat?
A: With a small dog, flying is likely best, as she may easily fit under the plane seat in front of you, and you probably will reach your destination in a few hours. But, if you are traveling with a cat, driving may be better. Cats may not be fans of car rides, but they are more likely to be accustomed to auto than air travel, creating a smoother, more comfortable trip.
Q: What should I keep in mind when flying with my pet?
A: Consider your pet’s comfort. Check your destination’s weather forecast and schedule your flight during the most comfortable temperatures. For hot destinations, choose early or late flights when temperatures are the coolest, or a midday flight to get maximum warmth at cold destinations. If your schedule allows, plan your trip during off-peak times and avoid traveling the day before or after a holiday, which are the most hectic, stressful times.
Q: How can I keep my pet safe while traveling?
A: Accidents do happen while traveling, and pets can become lost or dart away in the commotion of gathering luggage and switching flights. Prevent a heart-breaking mishap by ensuring your pet has a secure collar with legible and updated ID tags, and she is microchipped.
Q: What else should I consider before traveling with my pet?
A: Before making pet-friendly travel plans, consider if your pet really wants to leave the comfort of home for the commotion of a cross-country holiday gathering. Pets are often happier at home with a pet sitter or at a familiar boarding facility than at a chaotic family get-together.
Do you want to ensure your pet is healthy enough to travel this holiday season? Do you need a clean bill of health for your flight or destination? Schedule an appointment with us for your four-legged friend’s travel needs and health certificate.