Traveling with Your Pet

Traveling with your pet can be rewarding but challenging if not enough preparation has been made. Planning will help your trip go smoother and should include acquiring any paperwork that is needed, consideration of the temperatures to be experienced and how to deal with them, and obtaining equipment that will make the trip easier.

It is a good idea to first consult with your veterinarian. Make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations. Ask your pet's doctor about the region to which you will be traveling and whether there are any diseases that require additional vaccines, i.e. Lyme or Lepto, or other measures, i.e. heartworm preventative. It is important your pet have identification; make sure the tag on the collar is current and the printing is legible. Your veterinarian should also implant a microchip into your pet as a form of permanent identification because collars can be lost easily.

Whether traveling by car or plane, you will need to take the current rabies certificate, a list of all other vaccines, and the microchip number. There is a law (rarely enforced), that any animal crossing a state line, by any means of transportation, needs a health certificate, with your veterinarian performing the exam within 30 days. Airlines do require a health certificate; most ask the exam be performed within 10 days of the flight. If your stay exceeds 10 days, you may need a second exam and health certificate for your return flight.

Not all airlines accept pets either in the cargo space or in the passenger section. You will need to call and ask for a reservation. If your pet will fit in a soft-sided crate that will fit under the seat ahead of you, it is better for your pet to travel in the passenger section. If the airline does accept pets, they usually will take only two per plane in the passenger section and they require one person to be traveling for each pet, i.e., one person can't take two pets.

If your pet is flying in the cargo section, get a direct flight if possible, as the most critical time is not while flying, but at layovers. If there is no direct flight, you should plan your routing considering the environmental temperature of the city and time of the layover. For example, you should not plan a layover at 2pm in Phoenix, Arizona in July. While we worry more about heat than cold, if you have a choice, you may not want to schedule a layover in Minneapolis in January.
It is recommended to not tranquilize your pet, especially if it is flying in the cargo section. The pet needs to be able to react to its environment. It needs to shiver if it is too cold, or pant if it is too hot. More pets die as a result of being tranquilized during a flight than not.

You should obtain a crate that is sturdy and made for airline travel. The crate should have a towel or absorbent pad on the bottom. It is better to not have any food in the crate, as eating may stimulate defecation. A water source is a good idea, especially a water container that can't spill like a licker bottle.

If you are traveling to more exotic locations, such as Hawaii or another country, you will need to apply for special permits, and you may need to start planning as much as six months ahead of the trip. The testing requirements and paperwork can be quite extensive. You may want to contract with one of the pet moving companies.

If you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to keep your pet in a crate or restrain them with a pet seat belt. It is dangerous for them to be loose in the car in the case of a sudden stop, and it is distracting for the driver. You will need to pack all their necessities: food, bowls, toys, plastic bags, and a good leash. Pets can easily escape from the car, so make sure the leash is attached before the car door is opened. A handy item to have is a travel water bowl that can be folded and easily carried. Some people find that their pet is sensitive to water from other sources and will take a large container of water with them.

Traveling with your pet can be lots of fun as more and more facilities are becoming pet friendly. Planning can help your trip proceed smoothly. If you have any questions, your veterinarian can help you.

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Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""Thank you for saving my life." ~T.C."
    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
  • ""Dr. Johnson - There are no words that can truly capture your kindness.""
    ~G.B.
  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
    ~W.C
  • ""People who avail themselves of your services at the clinic certainly are blessed to have such a caring staff....bless you and your devoted staff.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
    ~P.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
    ~C.W.
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Lola when she had her reaction, and your office was already closed. I know you took time away from yourself and your family and I really appreciate it.""
    ~R.M.
  • ""Thank you for giving me more time with my best friend. We are all so grateful.""
    ~A.M.
  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.