Pet travel safety is important when traveling with petsWhen it comes to making plans, it’s only natural to want to include the family pet in all the fun. However, traveling with a pet, especially during the holidays, can be challenging and stressful. It also increases the risk of illness, injury, and accidental escape.

The team at Redwood Veterinary Hospital wants to help you and your pet enjoy your time together and get as much out of life as possible. We think our pet travel safety tips are a good place to start!

First Things First

Whether you’re road tripping to Grandma’s for the weekend or heading off on a more extended vacation, your pet’s first stop should be at our hospital. A pre-travel wellness exam will ensure your pet is healthy enough for travel and that he or she is current on vaccinations and parasite prevention.

Domestic And International Health Certificates

Any time you’re crossing state lines you’ll need to obtain a Veterinary Health Certificate.  International travel, or travel to Hawaii, will require careful planning well in advance of your travel days. Visit Redwood Veterinary Hospital’s website  and check under “Links and Resources” for more information about traveling with your pets.

On the Road Again

Traveling by car with a pet is never as easy as simply jumping in and driving off. Planning ahead for your pet’s safety and comfort are key to a successful road trip:

  • The safest place for your pet is in a sturdy, well-ventilated crate or carrier that’s secured in the car so it won’t tumble around should you need to stop suddenly. If a crate isn’t an option, research seat restraints, and make sure your pet doesn’t ride with his or her head out the window.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Even on cooler days or in the shade, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can quickly reach a dangerous level.
  • Do not leave your pet tied to a pole, tree, or other object unattended. Your pet could become entangled, injured, stolen, or worse.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Air travel can be extremely stressful for pets, especially if they must ride in the cargo hold. If airline travel can’t be avoided, make sure to research ahead of time to find the airline that meets your needs. Every company has their own rules and regulations when it comes to pets, and some airlines have become even more restrictive in light of recent scandals.

Pets traveling on airplanes should ride in a USDA-approved crate (equipped with a favorite blanket and toy for added comfort). Feed your pet a light meal several hours before departure, and make sure he or she gets a potty break right before you head into the airport. Whenever possible, book nonstop flights or travel in off-peak season to reduce the amount of people, luggage, and other animals you might encounter.

More Pet Travel Safety Tips

  • Keep your pet’s collar (with current ID tags) attached at all times. If your pet hasn’t been microchipped or if his or her microchip needs updating, be sure to do this prior to leaving.
  • Strive to keep your pet’s daily schedule as close to normal as possible. Make sure to stop for plenty of potty breaks and playtime, and have a plan in place when it comes to accommodations and pet-friendly activities during your trip.
  • Look up the phone numbers of local emergency veterinary hospitals in the area where you’ll be staying; put them in your phone ahead of time. Knowing who to contact during an emergency can save valuable time and will help keep you calm should anything unexpected occur.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding pet travel safety, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Redwood Veterinary Hospital in Vallejo, CA.