Safety Tips for Traveling With Your Pets

As family and friends travel home for the holidays, it is important to remember the comfort and safety of the furry member of the family. Today, there are more pet-friendly travel options than ever before, and with the right preparation, pet owners can happily bring pets along by car, plane, or train.

Garret Pachtinger, VMD, DACVECC, emergency and critical care clinician at BluePearl/VSEC in Levittown, Pa., recommends keeping your pet at a boarding kennel or home during the holidays to prevent or reduce the stress that traveling brings.

If you plan to bring your pet with you, driving is usually the best option. If you can’t travel by car, than it is probably best to leave your pet behind under the care of a pet sitter or in a boarding kennel,” said Dr. Pachtinger. “This is especially true for cats. Cats develop strong bonds with their environment, so traveling in any form can cause stress.”

If you decide to bring your furry pal along this holiday season, follow these tips to ensure a safe and low-stress trip.

If traveling by car…

Air Travel

There are certain dog and cat breeds that are particularly susceptible to the hazards that air travel can bring.

Traveling by plane can be particularly hazardous for animals with pushed-in faces, such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, and Himalayan and Persian cats,” explained Dr. Pachtinger. “These brachycephalic animals have short nasal passages and more narrow airways, which puts them at higher risk for breathing difficulty and heat stroke, especially in poorly ventilated or temperature controlled areas.”

If traveling by plane…

However you travel, when you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet,” said Dr. Pachtinger. “If anything seems wrong, take your pet to be examined by a veterinarian immediately.”

Regardless of how you travel make sure your pet’s medical needs are met.  Make certain to pack enough of your pet’s medications to last, plus a bit more, in case your plans change. If the medication must be refrigerated, plan to bring a small, insulated travel cooler to keep the medications cool. 

Finally, research your destination.  Make sure to locate veterinary hospitals in the area.  In case of an emergency, you have a plan in place rather than worrying about where to have your pet evaluated.