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Travel with a Pet? You Bet!

Nowadays, it’s not only common to see people on vacation with their pets, it’s quite trendy. From posh resorts to outdoor adventures, there are plenty of options if you want to travel with a pet!

However, there are some serious things to consider before em”bark”ing on your next vacation. The most important factors deal with the health and safety of your four-legged pal.  

Before You Travel with a Pet: Health Essentials

One of the biggest questions to ask is whether your pet is ready for a travel experience.

Before you leave, schedule a wellness exam and behavioral assessment. This will help address any fears or stress that may cause problems for your pet (and possibly others). If your pet has separation anxiety, aggression, or any other challenge with socialization, you should consider boarding your pet rather than take any risks.

When crossing state lines or traveling internationally, you will need to obtain a certificate of veterinary inspection. Many airlines require this document as proof that your pet is healthy enough to fly. At West Park Animal Hospital, we can assist you in determining the pet health requirements of your destination for domestic travel within the United States as well as provide certification. 

In light of this year’s canine flu outbreak, we may also recommend additional vaccinations to protect your pet.

The Destination

With all the options out there, it can be tough to determine where to travel with a pet. For example, some businesses might advertise as pet-friendly, but that doesn’t guarantee a positive experience for your companion.

Identify top choices for lodging by reading reviews and looking for essential information (e.g., does it mention areas for exercise and potty breaks?). Your mode of transportation is also a factor. Since flying with a pet is more complicated, we recommend using a pet travel agency to assist you in finding the best options.

Even if you plan on spending your entire vacation with your best fur friend, it’s a good idea to have a few doggy daycare or pet resort options on standby. You may encounter a few unplanned activities that don’t jibe with your pet, so having some good kennel options on file provides a safe alternative.

Pack Like a Pro

Now that your itinerary is set and your pet is healthy enough to travel, what should you pack?

The goal is to bring items that allow you to maintain the same level of care and consistency that you provide at home. This includes:

  • Preferred food and treats
  • Collapsible water and food bowls
  • ID tags, collar, leash
  • Crate or carrier
  • Favorite toy
  • Bedding
  • Medications
  • Medical records
  • Waste bags
  • Grooming supplies

We also advise pet parents to microchip their pets. This is the best way to ensure a safe return in the event your pet becomes lost. A new location can be disorienting, so microchipping is an effective safeguard.

For more tips on how to travel with a pet or to schedule a pre-travel exam, please contact the team at West Park Animal Hospital.

Happy (and safe) travels!

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