Keeping Your Pet Safe While on Vacation
The Big Q’s: Have you planned your Summer vacation yet? You may know when and where you are going, but have you planned how your 4-legged family members will spend their vacation?
The Big A’s: Many pet owners choose to take their pets with them, but when beloved pets are entrusted to the airlines to transport, the results can be tragic.
Dozens of animals die or are injured every year while being transported by air.
Keep your pets safe this Summer by keeping these tips in mind, whether your pet travels with you or stays at home, as follows:
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and wears a collar and tag with your name and phone number, advises the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
- Take your pet dog/cat to the vet for a checkup before you leave home, and make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Get a health certificate from the vet within 10 days before the start of your trip if your pet will travel by plane.
- Air travel: Travel policies vary by airline, so check before you book, and make sure you have a USDA-approved shipping crate. Line it with shredded paper or towels.
- If possible, travel on the same flight as your pet, and try to book a direct flight. Your pet will be much safer and happier if it can travel in the cabin under your seat rather than be relegated to the hold. In fact, the ASPCA recommends avoiding air travel with your pets if they are too large to fit under your seat.
- If you do choose to travel with a pet that must go into the cargo hold, remember that flying is as dehydrating to them as it is to you. Freeze a dish of water the night before travel. The water will melt during loading and your pet won’t get thirsty. Also, the ASPCA recommends taping a pouch of dried food to the outside of the crate so the pet can be fed.
- In addition, attach a temporary travel tag to your pet’s collar with your flight and cellphone numbers, and tape relevant contact information to the outside of the crate including a photo of your pet and mark the crate with the words “live animal.”
- Traveling by car. If your pet is not used to traveling in a car, take it on a couple of short drives before the trip.
- Never let a pet roam free in the car. Either use a crate or carrier secured by a seat belt or keep Rover in a harness attached to a seat buckle, says the ASPCA. In addition to raising the risk of causing an accident, if there is an accident or you have to brake suddenly, just like an unsecured child, an unsecured pet could go crashing through the windshield. Keep pets in the back seat, warns the Humane Society of the United States, since an exploding air bag could injure or kill a pet.
- Bring your pet’s food, bowl, leash, a favorite toy or pillow, and any travel documents you might need. You might also bring enough water from home to last the trip if your pet has a queasy stomach. Be sure to include frequent rest stops, and never leave your pet alone in a car. Heat can become deadly in a car in less than 30 mins.
You may decide your pet cannot go with you, or that it will be more comfortable at home. In that case, you can either get a pet sitter, or leave them with your vet or in a boarding facility. If you choose to board your pet, make sure its vaccinations are current.
Have a terrific pet safe Summer vacation.