Traveling With Your Pet

Planning on taking a trip? Why not make it fun for the whole family – four-legers included? With more and more pet-friendly options for travelers, you don’t have to leave Rover or Princess behind this year. Before you hit the road, here are a few tips to help make your journey a little easier.

First Things First

As you plan your trip, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and he receives a clean bill to health. Ask you veterinarian about health concerns specific to where you’re traveling since problems like Lyme disease, certain parasites and fungal infections are more prevalent in some areas of the country.

Can I See Some ID, Please?

Make sure your pet is wearing a secure collar with current ID tags that include your cell phone number. It’s also a good idea to get your pet microchipped – that way, even if his collar comes loose, animal recovery facilities can access your contact information with a quick scan. If you’re flying and your pet will be traveling in the cargo hold, attach your name and phone number along with your pet’s medical needs to the crate. Don’t forget to slip in a few VPI® Pet Insurance claim forms with your contact information – since VPI works everywhere, you can visit any veterinarian in the country!

Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

Be sure to call your destination ahead of time and get information on pet policies. The last thing you’d want to do is arrive and find out that pets aren’t welcome! Many websites offer an extensive database of pet-friendly accommodations. After you’ve selected a place to stay, it’s a good idea to call the hotel or campsite to double-check their pet policies and find out what fees and restrictions may apply.

Visit www.petinsurance.com/healthzone for tips on finding pet-friendly lodging.

No Funny Tummies

Riding with a carsick pet is no fun for anyone. If your pet isn’t used to taking car rides, try these simple steps.

  • Go through a few practice runs in the car, gradually increasing the distance each time.
  • Since stressed animals can be prone to motion sickness, feed your pet only a small meal or two three hours before your trip.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about remedies and plan a course of action that will help calm your pet and soothe his upset tummy.
  • Don’t forget to put a few towels and other clean-up items in the car when you pack.

Buckle Up!

While in the car, dogs and cats should ride in a crate or carrier. These precautions help protect the driver from distraction and also protect your pet during sudden stops and turns, or in the event of an accident. It is critical that the pets are never left unattended inside the car, even for a short amount of time. Temperatures can rise or drop to dangerous levels inside a locked car in a matter of minutes.

Flying the Furry Skies

Each airline has different rules when it comes to traveling with pets, so be sure to do your research before booking your flight. In addition to certain federal regulations, most airlines require a health certificate before allowing pets on a flight. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to obtain a health certificate within the specified time period required by the airline. Also, keep in mind that seasonal restrictions may apply to pet air travel. For more information on flying with pets, visit www.petinsurance.com/healthzone.

Carry On or Stow Below?

Smaller animals that meet size and weight requirements are sometimes allowed to travel in the cabin, though they must be in an airline-approved carrier. If you have a larger pet that must travel as cargo, be sure the crate is airline-approved. The kennel must be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, turn around and lie down easily. Buy the crate well in advance of your flight and encourage your pet to become accustomed to it by placing him inside for increasing intervals of time. Remember to always keep your pet’s crate training experience positive.

Relax, You’ve Made It!

Once you arrive at your destination, allow your pet to examine and explore the new surroundings, and remain with him until he settles in and feels more at ease. If you’re staying in a hotel and have to leave your pet alone in the room, be sure to hand the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door and then call the housekeeping office to confirm that no one should enter.

Travel Checklist

Keep this checklist handy when packing for your next trip.

  • Secure collar with current ID tags
  • Leash
  • Crate, safety harness or other restraining devices
  • Litter box or poop bags
  • Food, water and snacks
  • Food and water dishes
  • Medications and copies of written prescriptions
  • Vaccination records, especially rabies certificate
  • List of veterinary offices and emergency animal hospitals in the area to which you’re traveling
  • First aid kit
  • Familiar blankets and toys
  • VPI Pet Insurance claim forms

VPI Pet InsuranceContent courtesy of VPI Pet Insurance.