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10 Must-Know Pet Travel Tips

February 21st, 2013 - 10:24 AM

Whether they’re moving cross country, going on a vacation, or just getting out of the house, more and more animal owners are traveling with their four-legged friend. According to Petrelocation.com, 60% of owners said they traveled with their pet in 2010. Since today is “Love Your Pet” day, I thought it would be helpful to explore 10 must-know pet travel tips for the next time you and your furry friend are out and about.

Pet Travel Tip #1 – Talk to your Vet

If you’re not sure if your pet is healthy enough for travel, talk to your vet about it. While you’re there, make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and get a copy of their medical records to take with you. If you’re planning to travel between state lines, make sure to check the pet requirements of each state you’re traveling through – you can do that by calling the Veterinary Services Office in that state.

Pet Travel Tip #2 – Familiarize

Some pets love to travel, while others aren’t too fond of it. If you plan to drive and yours falls into the latter category, spend some time getting them used to the vehicle they’ll be traveling in by taking them on short trips daily. Of course, you can’t familiarize your pet with an airplane, but you can familiarize them with a crate (which is what they’ll travel in on the plane). Let them spend time there each day, and add familiar items like blankets, toys, etc., to make it feel more like home.  

Pet Travel Tip #3 – Restrain Them

Ensure your pet’s safety by keeping them restrained at all times. I suggest using options like a travel crate, seat belt or car seat designed for animals, or vehicle barrier to make them safe and comfortable during travel. Remember to always keep them restrained when you are not in the vehicle or airplane.

Pet Travel Tip #4 – Get an ID

If your pet gets loose during travel, you’ll have a better chance of finding them with some type of ID. Both of my dogs have permanent IDs on their collars with their names and my home phone number on the back of the ID. I also suggest purchasing another temporary ID with your email address, cell phone number, and the place(s) you will be staying. A microchip is another great option to ID. You should always carry a photo of your pet, as someone could recognize them or help you search.

Pet Travel Tip #4 – Pack Their Things

If you’re traveling in a car, pack your pet’s food and plenty of water to keep them hydrated. Always pack the brand of food they normally eat, as introducing a new brand along the way could make them sick. Keep feeding to a minimum and refrain from giving human food. Don’t forget to pack bedding, water and food bowls, favorite toys, medications, first aid kit, litter box and scoop, and doggy bags and scoop, etc. Remember to stop for breaks frequently, as they will need to relieve themselves and stretch often.

Pet Travel Tip #5 – Plan Overnight Stays

Reserving pet-friendly lodging will ensure a good trip. Sometimes animal-friendly lodging can be limited, so be sure to book early.

Pet Travel Tip #6 – Keep Them Safe on the Road

While your furry friend may love sticking their head out the window while traveling, it isn’t safe. A flying object could cause serious injury! If your pet needs fresh air, stop the vehicle and take a break. And keep in mind that putting them in the bed of a truck can be dangerous, not to mention illegal in some states.  

Pet Travel Tip #7 – Keep your Car in Good Condition

You may want to purchase waterproof seat covers and rubber floor liners for your car.

Pet Travel Tip #8 – Make Them Comfortable

Whether you’re flying or driving, make sure the crate is big enough for them to stand, sit, and turn around in. This way, they will be comfortable the entire trip! Remember to clip their nails before you travel to protect against hooking in small crevices and holes.

Pet Travel Tip #9 – Prepare Their Crate for Flying

To prepare the crate for the flight, write “Live Animal” on the top and at least one of the sides (at least 1 inch letters). Draw on arrows to show the upright position the crate. On the top of the crate, write their name, your personal information, and the destination. Also write that you (the owner) will be flying with them. Tape a photo of your pet to the crate for easy identification in case they escape accidentally. Securely close the door of the crate, but do not lock it. In case of an emergency, airline personnel will be able to let them out easily. Put plenty of towels in the crate to absorb any accidents.

Pet Travel Tip #10 – Communicate with Your Airline

Be in constant communication with your airline about your pet. Ask them about their requirements, feeding and watering, and how they will take care of them if there is a delay or cancellation. Always book a direct flight if possible. Do not give them a tranquilizer unless prescribed by your vet.

Add Your Travel Tips

I hope you have enjoyed these pet travel tips! If you have any more tips to add to the list, leave a comment and share them!

If you’ll be travelling with pets for a move, consider moving with U-Pack! U-Pack does the driving for you (you just load and unload) so you can travel safely and comfortably with your furry friend to your new home in your personal vehicle or on a plane. Get a free moving quote from U-Pack here. U-Pack rates are similar to truck rental, but you don’t have to drive!