According to a study by AAA and Best Western International, more than 50% of U.S. pet owners bring their pets along when they travel. And who can blame them? Our pets are part of our families, and it’s hard to imagine leaving them behind while we are off having adventures.
To help your trip go as smoothly as possible, it’s important to prepare ahead of time for your pet’s comfort and safety. Bringing your pet in to see the veterinarian before traveling is an important part of that pre-trip checklist.
Why See the Veterinarian Before Traveling?
The pre-trip wellness check is an absolute must. Your veterinarian will assess the following aspects of your pet’s health and wellness:
- Overall health – Before embarking on any kind of trip, your pet should be checked to make sure he or she is healthy enough for travel. This is the opportunity for you to refill any medications your pet is on prior to your departure.
- Vaccinations – Your veterinarian will make sure your pet is current on all required immunizations, and will help you to determine if any additional vaccines should be considered based on your destination, such as canine flu or Lyme disease.
- Parasite prevention – Having adequate parasite prevention is crucial to your pet’s health and safety. Vector-borne illnesses, such as heartworm, are a problem in most areas of the country, and preventatives are the only way to protect your pet (most preventatives also control intestinal parasites).
- Motion sickness – If your pet suffers from motion sickness or severe anxiety, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to alleviate these concerns (pets who need to be heavily medicated may not be suitable for travel).
Veterinary Health Certificate
In order to board an airplane, travel internationally, or even cross state lines with your pet, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection from your veterinarian ahead of time. The certificate indicates that your pet is healthy enough for travel, and that he or she does not have any diseases that could be passed to other animals or people.
Travel requirements will vary depending on your destination, so it’s important that you begin the process of obtaining the required documentation as soon as you finalize your travel plans. 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.
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