What’s more fun than a summer getaway? Why, bringing your best furry friend along, too! In fact, many pet owners choose to take their pets on journeys near and far, especially during the summer months when vacation season is in full swing.

But as you might expect, bringing an animal companion on a trip, whether by car or plane, requires some forethought, planning, and safety measures. Arlington Animal Hospital has you covered with our list of pet travel tips for your upcoming adventures.

Pet Travel Tips for Safety AND Adventure

Before you pack your bags and head out, the first stop with any trip involving your pet is to ensure their readiness for the trip. This means making sure your pet is in good health, is on the right vaccines and parasite preventatives for the destination, and is generally able to deal with the stress of new places, smells, and experiences.

Along with a travel exam, you will likely need a health certificate prepared, which states that your pet is healthy and current on vaccinations. In most cases, you will need this certificate when traveling across state lines, and in all cases, when you are traveling by air.

We are a USDA accredited veterinary clinic and can help you determine what your pet needs for health and safety, as well as provide you with the necessary paperwork. Please contact our team to make your travel exam appointment.

To prepare for the appointment, you should have the following information ready ahead of time:

  • Full address and phone number of final destination.
  • Any stop over points along the journey.
  • The two most recent rabies vaccine certificates (if not done at Arlington Animal Hospital). Certificates should include the vaccination, name of manufacturer, and batch (serial) number.
  • All previous medical records (if not from Arlington Animal Hospital).
  • Microchip number and date of implantation.

Travel by Car

A road trip with a pet can be incredible (especially if you have a dog who can’t wait to get in the car and go!). For the ultimate pet-friendly road trip:

  • Make sure your pet is acclimated to car trips by taking short journeys with him well in advance of your longer road trip.
  • Purchase a sturdy, comfortable carrier or harness that can be attached to a seat buckle for your pet’s safety.
  • Bring along your pet’s records, medications, and daily care needs – a bonus when you are traveling by car is that you won’t have to skimp on the luxuries, like lots of toys and a cozy bed.
  • Plan for frequent rest stops so your pet can stretch and relieve himself.
  • Remember that pets are sensitive to heat, so ensure your car is kept at a cool temperature and invest in screens or shades to block direct sunlight.
  • Never leave your pet alone in the car, for any reason, or unsupervised outside of the vehicle.
  • Pack plenty of water plus a few extra gallons, in case of a flat tire or other auto problem – having backup for you and your pet is a great way to play it safe.

Travel by Plane

When you are flying, you will need to know what is required by both by the airline and your destination country (when traveling abroad). This includes your pet health certificate. Because vaccinations and other specifics can vary widely, consult with the consulate office in the country where you’ll be staying. Some countries, for example, require a mandatory quarantine of all animals entering the country, so be certain to give yourself weeks, or even months, in advance to prepare accordingly.

Many pet owners also take advantage of a professional pet travel agency to assist with the many details involved in flying with a pet. They can also help you locate pet friendly hotels and restaurants, the correct cargo crate and travel gear, and flights that allow pets in the cabin (which we highly recommend).

For more information on traveling safely with your pet, or to schedule a pre-travel examination, please contact us. We are glad to help you make the journey ahead enjoyable for you and your pet.