Tips for Traveling With Your Pets

We've come together to create some tips for traveling with your pets to make it an easier and more enjoyable experience.

For some of us when we travel we tend to board our pets, while others enjoy being able to travel alongside their furry friends. They are part of the family so they may be in a habit of going with you everywhere you go.  So, if you’re planning on taking a trip with your pets, we have some recommendations to help you have a safe, fun, and comfortable adventure. 

No matter where you’re headed or how you plan on getting there, we highly recommend that you make sure your pet is microchipped.  In case your pet ends up getting separated from you, it’s important to be able to properly identify them.  We recommend your pet always wears a collar with a tag on it.  Imprinted on your pet’s tag should be your name, phone number, address and any other relevant contact information in case someone finds your furry friend in the event you do get seperated.  

Traveling via airplane? 

Here are a few suggestions to keep your pet safe while flying:

  • Book a direct flight when possible. If your pet is not small enough to fit under your seat, having a direct flight would also lessen the chances that your pet is left out on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Before you travel we always recommend that you make an appointment with your Brook Farm veterinarian, so we can do an up to date exam and make sure your pet is in tip top shape.  At your appointment we’ll be sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and we’ll provide you with a health certificate dated within 10 days of your departure. 
  •  If you suspect your pet may become afraid, anxious or uncomfortable when flying we recommend talking to your Brook Farm Veterinarian for options to help ease their discomfort. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. We highly recommend contacting the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for the most updated travel information.
  • If you know that your pet won’t fit under your seat we recommend purchasing a USDA-approved shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and should be lined with some type of bedding to absorb accidents if they occur. 
  • Prior to your trip, depending on how long your flight is, you can  tape a small bag of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet during a layover. The night before you leave, it’s also smart to freeze a small bowl of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading and will melt by the time your pet may get thirsty.  
  • We can’t stress it enough, always make sure your pet’s crate has a proper ID. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as  your name, cell phone number, destination phone number, and it’s beneficial to even include a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet so you’re able to show others in case of an emergency.

Taking a Road Trip?

Traveling with your furry friend by car involves more than just loading up the car with you, your belongings, and your furry friend.  We’ve put together some travel tips to help you prepare for a smooth ride. Prepping your pet for a long trip can be tough but the best thing to do is get them comfortable in the car, by taking them for short car rides. Getting your pet prepared by taking them on a series of short drives will help get them used to this means of travel. As they improve with how they react, you can increase the time spent in the car with them.  We always recommend bringing treats so you can reward your pet’s good behavior.  If you’re traveling across state lines, it’s always best to bring along your pet's rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn't a problem, some states do in fact require this proof at certain stops.

  • Keeping your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier is always best when riding in the car. The crate you choose should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Do everything you can to secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop while on your drive. If you decide to go without the crate, we ask that you please do not allow your pet to ride with his head hanging outside the window, and to always keep them in the back seat using a harness attached to a seat buckle. It’s the safest way.
  • Be sure you’re prepping a pet-friendly travel kit ahead of time to ensure you don’t forget anything your pet needs for the adventure. Your travel kit should include pet food, a bowl for water, a leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, any first-aid supplies, and any travel document from your vet. Pack your pet’s favorite toy, bed, or pillow to give them a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of bottled water, and avoid feeding your pet while the vehicle is in motion. This could cause your pet to get nauseous and it’s recommended that they be fed about 3-4 hours before departure to allow their bodies to digest properly. We recommend the use of bottled water since some areas you may be traveling through could have variants in their water that your pet’s are not used to, which can cause stomach upsets.
  • Throughout your trip, please be sure to NEVER leave your animal unattended in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked car can become a danger zone in no time, heatstroke can develop and become fatal. On the other hand, in cold weather, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

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