When leaving on vacation, many pet owners opt to leave their pet behind at a boarding house or with family or friends; however, you should know that you can always take your pet with you. Traveling with your pets allows them to experience new sights and smells, averts separation anxiety, and prevents you from worrying about your pet while you’re away. Before traveling with pets, be sure to check local regulations regarding pet travel and safety. Also confirm that the places you will be staying (hotel, friend’s house, etc.) allows pets. Always make sure traveling pets have proper identification tags on their collars, as well as internal microchips for added safety.
Each airline has different regulations regarding pet travel. Some airlines allow small pets in the cabin when kept in a carry-on, others do not. Most airlines require a certificate of health and proof of vaccination dated no more than 10 days prior to your flight. Many also recommend that pets traveling in winter months travel midday and in the early morning or late evening during summer months. It is also recommended that you purchase a non-stop flight which does not change planes. The following requirements are true for most major airlines:
- Allow your pet a familiar toy during the flight.
- Attach a pet water container to the side of the crate.
- Crate must have slits for ventilation and handles to grip.
- Crate should be lined with absorbent materials in case of pet accident.
- Crate should have contact information labeled clearly on it along with a current photo of the pet owner.
- Pet should have proper identification on the collar.
- Pets need to be secured in a bolted crate.
- Trim your pet’s nails to avoid catching on crate openings.
Traveling by car is one of the most common ways pet owners travel. For pets accustomed to car rides, travel is fairly easy for both pet and owner. Pets will need a comfortable area to lie down, frequent stops for exercise, and ventilation via windows. Be sure to bring your pet’s leash and an adequate supply of food and water for the trip. Pets should never be left in the car alone and should never have access to a fully opened window. If you are traveling with cats, it is suggested that they remain in a small crate which allows more security than being allowed to roam the car.
Bus or Train
Generally, pets are not allowed on trains or buses, though some exceptions do exist. If you plan on traveling by bus or train, be sure to check with local regulation. Service pets for owners with disabilities are usually allowed on most trains and buses.