Traveling with Your Pet

Here’s What Your Veterinarian Wants You to Know

By Madison Guthrie

Summer is finally here in sunny California and for many families, this means it’s time to pack those bags and hit the road!

In the past, many pet-owning households opted to hire a pet sitter or send their pets to a boarding facility or pet hotel. However, these days it’s becoming more and more popular for pet parents to bring their fur kids along for the adventure.

After all, our four-legged friends are family too, right?

If you plan on bringing your pet with you on your summer vacation, you probably have a few questions.

Luckily, our team at Petsadena Animal Hospital are here to help. Join us as we talk about travel safety tips, the dos and don’ts of traveling with a pet, flying versus driving, and so much more.

Let’s begin!

Should You Contact Your Veterinarian Before Traveling with Your Pet?

The short answer to this question is yes.

For the most part, it is never a bad idea to let your veterinarian know you plan on traveling with your pet. Even if your pet does not need to be seen, your veterinarian can always offer you great advice on how you can keep your pet healthy and safe during your trip.

You’ll also want to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. Some pets may have underlying health issues that make long road trips stressful or flying on planes dangerous.

If you have any questions about your pet’s health while traveling, your veterinarian is one of your best resources.

Keep in mind that your pet may also need to be vaccinated accordingly depending on the region or country you are traveling to. Furthermore, they might need to be placed on certain preventative medications.

If you are leaving the state or the country with your pet, you may also be required to travel with a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, which can only be signed by an accredited veterinarian.

What Is A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection?

Many states, airlines, and countries will require you to provide a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection when traveling with your pet.

A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is basically an up-to-date health certificate proving your pet has been recently seen and cleared of any infectious diseases or other ailments that could potentially be passed on to animals or people.

It is important to keep in mind that, even with a proper Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, many countries and even the state of Hawaii may require your dog or cat to be quarantined upon arrival for a secondary health inspection.

We suggest you do plenty of research before opting to travel with your pet and make sure both you and your pet are comfortable following the rules and regulations of other states and countries.

What to Bring When Traveling Out of the State or Country with Your Pet

Along with your Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, we also recommend you make a checklist of items to bring with you when traveling with your pet. These items may include but not be limited to:

– up to date identification tags
– recent photos of your pet
– a copy of your pet’s updated medical records
– any special medication your pet needs or is taking
– a pet-friendly first aid-kit
– your pet’s favorite blanket or toy
– your pet’s food and fresh water
– food and water bowls
– a leash, collar, and harness
– a properly sized traveling crate or carrier

And, if you haven’t already, we highly encourage pet parents to make sure pets are microchipped and that all your information is registered and accurate.

Traveling on A Plane with My Pet

While many pets do just fine on planes, others may find the experience stressful. Despite a popular misconception, it is not always safe to sedate your pet during plane travel.

In fact, many airlines will not allow your pet on the flight without a certificate stating he has not been sedated.

This is because sedating your pet can lead to a higher risk of respiratory or heart issues, especially in brachycephalic pets with short or flattened faces like French Bulldogs or Exotic Shorthair cats.

Some airlines may also require you to have an acclimation certificate for air travel for your pet proving that he has been recently seen by an accredited veterinarian and is healthy enough to fly.

Before flying with your pet, we suggest contacting your veterinarian to make sure it is safe and contacting your airline to find out exactly what you will need.

Taking My Pet on A Road Trip

Road trips are always fun, and many pets thoroughly enjoy being on the road with their family members! With that being said, you will still want to make sure you take precautions when traveling with a pet via car.

For the safety of everyone involved, we suggest keeping small animals like cats in travel crates and larger dogs secured in a harness or doggy seatbelt. Of course, never let your dog ride in the bed of an open truck and never leave your pet alone in the car without you.

Just like humans, your pets will need to get out of the car every couple of hours and stretch his legs, go to the bathroom, and get a drink.

For pets who still suffer from car sickness, you can contact your veterinarian to discuss medications that help reduce the symptoms to make for a more pleasant trip.

And remember, the safest place for pets during travel is in the backseat.

Traveling with My Pet – A Summary

Traveling with your pet can be fun for the whole family and a great way to strengthen the bond with your four-legged family member.

Remember, planning ahead is key to a wonderful, safe, and fun vacation for all!

Make sure you notify your veterinarian before traveling to ensure that your pet is up to date on all his vaccines, medications, and preventative care, and do plenty of research so you know that you are equipped with any documentation necessary when traveling outside of the state or country with your pet.

Are you traveling with your pet this summer? Do have more questions for us regarding the safety and health of your pet during a trip?

Don’t be shy! Contact us today at!

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