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January 2 is National Pet Travel Safety Day. Whether you travel by car, plane or train, when it comes to traveling with your pet preparation is essential. Read tips for traveling with your pet from Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for cats and dogs.
Research the rules of travel. Whether you'll be on the road or in the air, it's important to pay close attention to rules and restrictions you may face on the journey.Make sure your destination and any stops along the way are pet friendly so you won't have to turn around, scramble for an alternate plan, or cancel your trip altogether.
Especially when traveling by airplane, pay close attention to airline rules and regulations. Each airline is a little bit different, so you may have to purchase a special crate or carrier and the fees to bring your pet on board may vary. Double-check your pet's size and where they will need to ride in the plane. Ideally they can join you in cabin, but some must travel in cargo.
Consult your veterinarian. Talk to your veterinarian prior to the trip for advice tailored to your pet. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines and parasite preventatives they'll need.
If you are traveling by plane, ask your veterinarian if it is safe to bring your pet. Your airline may also require a health certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of the trip.
Prepare your pet and yourself. Make sure your pet has clear identification, including a tag with their name, your name, and your contact information. If they are not microchipped, you may want to discuss this option with your veterinarian.
You will want your pets' veterinary information handy including vaccine records, insurance information, and your veterinary hospital's contact information. If you do not already have medical insurance for your pet, you can invest in coverage prior to the trip to help prepare for the unexpected.
Use harnesses, carriers and barriers. Every dog is different, but there are plenty of options available to find a safe, comfortable travel method for your pup. Dog seat belts, carriers, and barriers can help reduce distractions on the road and save lives. Whatever method you use, it's always a good idea to keep your pet in the back seat.
What you use in the car may not be the same as what you use on an airplane. Airlines have specific requirements for crates and carriers so it's important to research requirements beforehand.
Practice makes perfect. Take plenty of practice tripsâ€”especially when it comes to pets that haven't traveled before. If your pet needs to ride in a carrier or with a new harness, take a short drive around the block practicing with their new gear. Offer them treats and make travel fun!
Schedule extra time. While you're on the trip, be prepared to take plenty of breaks for water, bathroom breaks, and to stretch your legs and play some fetch.
If you are traveling by plane, make sure you arrive early to exercise your pet, keep them hydrated, and plan for any unexpected lines and waits. Research airport pet relief areas ahead of time so you know exactly where to go.
Traveling with your pet can be a great adventure and a lot of funâ€”as long as you take the time to prepare.