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  • Writer's pictureColleen O'Brien, DVM, CVA

8 Tips for Traveling with Pets

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Traveling with pets can be both stressful for you and them.

Here are some tips to help make it go as smooth as possible.

1. Don't! Most pets get stressed out, so unless it's necessary (moving instead of vacation), leave your pet at a boarding facility or in the hands of a trusted pet sitter.

2. In general, I find car travel less stressful on pets than planes. There are less people, less noises, you can stop to take a break as often as you like, and they are more experienced with being in a car.

3. If you must take a plane, know what paperwork your airline requires well ahead of time (like months). Some may require specific testing and/or vaccines be given well before travel or your pet may be quarantined or even not allowed to fly.

4. Do not ask that your pet be labeled an emotional support animal. I honestly believe that other than full fledged service dogs, the only other pets that should be considered are those that have passed the canine good citizenship test.

5. Talk to your vet about your pets health and travelling. Do they have any breathing and/or heart conditions that the stress of travelling may make worse? Do they maybe need a mild sedative?

6. Figure out what you will need for your pet at your final destination. For short trips this may just be knowing where the local veterinary emergency hospital is. For long term acupuncture patients, I try to find another CVA (certified veterinary acupuncturist) so that there will be no gaps in my patient's care.

7. Refill your pet's medications at least 48 hour before you leave and make sure you have enough to get through the trip. You should also make sure you have enough food.

8. Check ahead of time to figure out what lodging is dog friendly and if there are any limits/restrictions. Also verify if your lodging will have stairs that your older pet may not be able to handle.


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