Vacations with pets are increasingly popular, and many resorts are responding to this trend by welcoming four-legged guests with dog massages and puppy exercise programs. But pet owners need to make sure their pets are safe while on the road.
“Pet owners need to be aware that traveling with their pets requires extra planning, and they should consult their veterinarian before they leave,” explains Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Most airlines require a certificate of veterinary inspection issued within 10 days prior to travel, proof of current rabies vacations,and acclimation certificates.”
“Use common sense,” Hammer continues. “If your pet isn’t used to riding in a car, then you need to take some time to acclimate your dog to car rides before road trips. It’s also a good idea to give pets fresh flea and tick treatments, or a quick rest stop could invite unwelcome hitchhikers on your pet’s coat.”
Here are some other things to remember when planning a vacation with your pet:
Chip It: Microchip your pet to allow for quick identification if lost. Another solution is to make a travel tag for your pet’s collar with your hotel, cell phone and any information that would speed the return of your pet away from home.
Tote It: Smaller pets may be brought into an airplane cabin with you, depending on the airline’s regulations, but check on approval and the size restrictions for pet carriers with the airline. Pets are not allowed to travel in airplane baggage areas when it is too hot or too cold (unless an acclimation certificate is provided to allow exposure to low temperatures), so check with the airline when you make reservations.
Backseat It: In a car, a dog should never sit in the passenger seat in front of an airbag and never in your lap.
Belt It: Use a harness or tether to secure your pet to a seatbelt during road trips.
For more tips, visit the AVMA website and download their “Traveling with Your Pet” brochure.