Are you going somewhere fun with your furry friends this holiday season? Here is some information from veterinarians to ensure both you and your pets have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Planning and preparation are important when travelling with family pets. American Veterinary Medical Foundation1 recommends a veterinary check-up scheduled prior to your trip to have your pet’s health assessed, just to make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. Some pets might not be able to travel due to illness, injury or temperament. If this is the case, you can look into options such as hiring a reliable pet sitter or housing your pet in a clean, well-managed boarding facility.
Your veterinarian will also discuss flea, tick, and heartworm prevention with you and make sure your pet is vaccinated against rabies, as well as other vaccines which may be important for areas you will be visiting. Your veterinarian can also issue a health certificate and other necessary paperwork required by the country you’re travelling to.
There are many ways to help your pets reduce stress before travelling. Take some time to accustom your pet to the crate in which it will be traveling as well as any harnesses or other restraints designed to keep your pet safe during travel. If your pet has a problem with car sickness, let your veterinarian know. Depending on your pet’s health, your veterinarian may prescribe medication that will help him/her feel more comfortable during long trips and flights, after careful assessment. If you are travelling by air, consult your veterinarian about when you should feed your pet prior to, during, and following air travel.
Pet identification is the key to keep your pet safe. Should your pet be separated from you, it is crucial that your pet be identified. Your pet’s microchip registration should be up to date with your current contact information. An ID tag including owner’s name and contact is also recommended.
For cat owners, Feline Health Center of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine2 recommends purchasing a safety crate. It will both confine and help protect your cat in case of a crash. Even if your cat doesn’t wear a collar at home, consider adding a collar with an ID tag to help identify your cat. Your veterinarian may also suggest pet pheromone or aromatherapy to reduce your cat’s stress during travelling. Since cats usually do best with their normal routine and usual diet, it would be ideal for your cat to have meal times at the usual time, with plenty of time to use the litter box. Your cat isn’t going to understand any time zone changes, so you may need to adjust for that. As most cats prefer to stay at home with a pet sitter instead of gallivanting across country, if your cat is one with the adventurous spirit, be prepared to ensure your cat’s safety.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Happy holidays!
For more information, check out the following websites:
“Traveling with Your Pet FAQ” – American Veterinary Medical Foundation
“Travelling with Animals” – Government of Canada
“Safe Air Travel for Pets” – Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Tips for Travelling with Dogs to the United States (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Travelling with your Pet (English) [client brochure] – American Veterinary Medical Foundation
- “Five Tips of Travelling with Your Cat.” CatWatch magazine, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Feline Health Centre, September 2018, Vol.22, No. 9