Travel Safety Tips – Traveling with Your Pet
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For pet owners traveling with their fur-babies, safety is a top priority. Pets are family members, providing comfort, support, and unconditional love. We pamper our pets with the best custom-made gifts and accessories—sweaters, tutus, crystal collars, and even personalized books! So when we travel, leaving them behind can be heart-wrenching. According to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households own a pet, and an increasing number of pet owners are traveling with their pets.
As you make your summer travel plans, you may be wondering how to take your furry family member with you. A recent news story has also called into question pet safety. On March 12th, a passenger’s dog died after she was instructed by a United Airlines crew member to stow the dog and carrier in the overhead storage bin.
While stories like these are rare, we want to help make your travel experience with pets as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips for safe and smooth travel with pets.
Make sure your pet is wearing identification tags before traveling. Should you become separated, the identification tags will be the best way to reunite you with your pet. Check with your vet about microchipping your pet. If a pet is lost and taken to a vet or shelter, the chip can be scanned to reveal a unique ID number and the registry phone number. By calling the number and using the ID number, the pet owner’s information on file can be located.
Get Your Pet a Vet Check-Up
Before traveling, either by car or plane, make sure your pet is healthy enough to accompany you. When “checking” a pet for a flight, all vaccinations should be up-to-date, and you will need to obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of your departure date. Make sure to double check requirements with your airline, as they may vary.
Accustom Your Pet to Travel
Before going on a long trip, travel short distances with your pet in the car—to the pet store, to the dog park, or just around the block. Gradually extend the length of your trips, so your pet’s apprehension and anxiety lessen. Eventually, your pet may even look forward to these trips and beat you to the car!
Make sure your pet has plenty of water for a long drive or flight. In a car, keep a bowl and water bottle handy, so you can give your pet water during rest stops. If you are crating your dog for flight, keep a bowl with frozen water inside the crate, so your dog can lick it during the flight. If your pet is in a carrier on the plane, offer a small bottle of water to your dog a few times during the flight (when turbulence allows).
Use a Ventilated Carrier or Crate
Dogs need room to breathe and move around. They should be able to sit, stand, or lay down comfortably. If traveling in a car, make sure your dog is secured in a crate or wearing a harness that can attach to a seat belt. Do not leave your dog loose, in case of an accident. If flying, check your airline’s pet carrier size requirements. Carriers must be small enough to fit under the seat during flight, if your pet is small enough to take on a plane.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car
On a warm day, temperatures inside a car can reach above 100 degrees within minutes! Even leaving a dish of water and the car window slightly open is not enough to prevent heat stroke in your pet. If you need to leave your car for a quick bathroom or gas break and are traveling alone, make sure your car is in a shady area and keep the trip as short as possible. Let your pet stretch their legs too.
Identify Signs of Distress
Keep checking on your pet, if possible, and look for any signs of distress. These signs include excessive panting, thick saliva, rapid heartbeat, a lack of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. If you notice these symptoms, seek help as soon as possible from a veterinarian.
Traveling with your pet is a great way to make lasting memories! With these safety tips, you and your pet will have a comfortable and safe journey. If you need something to read along your journey and want to commemorate your trip, the personalized book If My Dog Could Talk is a storybook personalized for you and your furry family member!