1. Make sure your pet is physically able to travel. If the pet is older, if it is very young and not well trained yet, or if it has been sick or at the vet a lot, reconsider your position. Your dog or cat may be better off in familiar surroundings with a loving pet sitter than on unfamiliar turf at this time.
2. If you are planning to travel abroad, particularly if you are planning to travel from North America to United Kingdom countries, be aware that as of this newsletter pets from North America still have to be quarantined for six months in the UK at designated kennels before being allowed into the country unless your pet has had a successful blood titer test, in which case no quarantine is required. You need to contact these kennels for their brochure information and make arrangements well in advance of the planned trip.
3. Visit your veterinarian. In the case of traveling abroad, make sure you and your vet know what documents are necessary for ease of entry into another country, particularly a European country. Make sure that your pet has his vaccination and rabies records up to date, the information is not more than 10 days old and that you have two or three copies of this record with you.
Also, if your dog or cat isn't micro chipped, have your vet do this identification chip. Different countries have different specific requirements as to the type of microchip. Make sure you have the right kind.
4. Ask your vet for information on traveling with your pet, and let him know where you are going, how you are going to get there and how long you will be gone. Ask for a referring veterinarian in the destination area, and keep the phone number of the vet with you. Find out from your veterinarian information on medications for motion sickness, tranquilizers he would recommend, and any health dangers in that area, such as tick, heartworm or flea infestations.
5. Purchase an appropriate carrier for your pet, depending on its size and how you will travel. Several airlines have approved the Sherpa pet carrier for in-cabin traveling with small pets. The carrier you choose should allow the pet to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably, and should be free of any interior protrusions that could injure your pet in travel. Make sure your name, your pet's name and address and phone are printed on the carrier in indelible ink.
A word about the carrier or crate. Don't spring this mode of transportation on your dog or cat the day you leave. Spend several weeks getting your pet used to the carrier or crate in short intervals before embarking on the pet vacation.
Check with the airline if your pet will travel in the cargo hold to find out their precautions for this mode of travel. And leave the leash outside the carrier.your pet can get tangled in it when traveling in the crate. Find an airline approved carrier.
6. Check with to find out what accommodations are pet friendly, and make sure to double check with them before making reservations (policies do change, sometimes with new ownership or the time of the year)..
7. If you are planning to travel via air with your pet in the cabin, you will not only need to have an approved carrier, but you will need to purchase a ticket for your pet. The object in traveling in-cabin is to be as unobtrusive as possible, to have the experience be pleasant for you, your pet and your fellow passengers and to maintain a good reputation with the airlines that do allow small pets in the cabins.
The better behaved your pet is (no running loose, no barking or howling) the more likely it is that the airline will continue its pet friendly policy and will encourage others in the industry to accommodate pet owners as well.
8. When packing for your trip, you will need:
- The veterinarian's documents for your pet.
- Your pet should be micro chipped and wearing a collar with your information on it.
- Your carrier or crate, complete with identification.
- A leash and an extra collar. Make sure your pet isn't wearing a choke collar of any kind. Cats should have a safety collar on.
- Extra sheets or an old blanket for under the carrier for travel in an automobile.
- A couple of sheets to cover furniture and/or the bed at your destination, just in case.
- A blanket or cushion from your pet's home bedding.
- A container of your pet's food. If you pet eats a common food and you know that it is available, you needn't bring a whole bag. But, if you don't know if you'll find your pet's food, then bring it with you. (Don't forget a can opener and spoon, if needed)
- Distilled water, or at least water from your own home. Two gallons (8 Liters) should be sufficient, but if you see that you are running lower than a gallon, add part of the destination water to the home water, so that your pet can get acclimated to the other water in a diluted form.
- Of course, you're pet's food and water dish, and a portable water container for traveling while at your destination.
- Backpack for your dog if you are going to be doing hiking or walking.
- Booties for your dog if you plan to travel on uneven or hilly ground
- Their favorite chew toys
- Grooming supplies, such as a brush or comb, a lint remover for hotel furniture, tweezers, scissors
- Good suggestions: Bring along baby wipes. They are great for keeping paws clean, for clean up any "accidents"
- Trash bags and waste removal bags
- Disinfectant and carpet cleaner
- Extra old towels
- Newspaper, a full litter pan and extra liners for your cat.
- If traveling by car, use a thick pad of newspapers, covered with an old towel or blanket in your cat's carrier. Change the carrier frequently (but only when the car is stopped!). Before letting your cat out of the carrier, make sure the doors of the car and the windows are shut, so they can't run away. If you decide to use this time for a short walk, use a cat harness and leash. Under no circumstances should your cat run free.
- Pet medication, particularly enough of any prescription medication for the trip An approved dog restraint device when traveling by car. Don't forget-- in case of an accident, dogs can be thrown around the car and be injured or killed.
- Flashlight (for walking after dark)
- First aid kit for humans and pets
9. If you are traveling by car, make sure your air conditioning is working properly and that you use it while driving. Don't roll down the windows and let your dog hang its head out of the window, and never have your pet in the back of a truck.
10. Pack a relaxed attitude. This is supposed to be fun for your family and your pet. Check out interesting places to visit along the way or at your destination, and plan extra time for impulse side trips.