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Going on a trip? Take Fido with you!

Read on to learn about tips for traveling with your pets.

Whether you are traveling in the state, out of the state, in a car or plane,  first visit your family veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and discuss any additional vaccines or parasite control your pet may need to travel safely to new areas.

If you are traveling out of the state or country, your veterinarian will sign a health certificate stating that your pet has been examined and is free from signs of infectious diseases.  This document also states that your pet is current on vaccines and flea protection and has been recently dewormed for internal parasites.

Make sure your pet’s identification is correct on his/her ID tag and his/her microchip registration information is updated. It is a good idea to have your cell phone number on the ID tag, and have a picture of your pet on your cell phone, in the event your pet gets lost during your trip.

Check your accommodations to make sure your hotel is pet friendly and your airline accepts pets. Most airlines do accept pets, and will have guidelines as to how big their kennels can be for safe travel. Most airlines will require a health certificate, proof of vaccines and deworming and an acclimation letter stating that your pet can with stand certain temperature conditions. It is a good idea to travel with a kennel for your hotel room, in case you will need to leave your pet unattended for any period of time.

When traveling by car, think of the safety of your pet.  Make sure you have an appropriately sized carrier or safety harness for your pet.  If your pet will be in a carrier, make sure it is level on the seat so that it does not slide around with the movement of the vehicle.  Also consider a light cover over the carrier to conceal sights and sounds from surrounding traffic that could startle your pet.

Remember, some pets experience motion sickness and anxiety.  Talk to your veterinarian about anti-nausea and motion sickness medications specifically formulated for pets.  Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication as well, to keep your pet anxiety free and comfortable during your travels.

When traveling by car, prepare for frequent stops to allow your pet to relieve himself and stretch his legs.  Unfortunately, designated pet areas at rest stops can invite unwelcomed parasites and diseases.  Make sure your pet is current on vaccines and flea, heartworm and deworming prevention.  Please be kind, and clean up after your pet.  If you are traveling with a cat, purchase disposable litter boxes from your local pet store so your cat will be comfortable too.

And finally, put together a care package for your pet.  Remember to pack food, water, dishes, toys, treats, bedding, leashes, collars and medications.  Make sure your pet is as comfortable and safe during your travels as he would be at home.

Bon Voyage!

Dr. Michelle Cunningham

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