If your vacation this year includes the family pet, here are some things veterinarian Charles L. Starr III wants you to know.
To begin, Charles L. Starr III suggests making an appointment with your vet. If you’re crossing state lines, you may need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. “It’s a health certificate signed by a federally accredited veterinarian stating your pet has been examined and found to be free of disease,” states Charles L. Starr III. If you plan to travel overseas, contact the Foreign Consulate or Regulatory Agency in advance about quarantine or other health requirements.
Ask about sedation for long flights or motion sickness situations, advises Charles L. Starr III. Know how long it will be before your pet can properly relieve itself or stretch. Should it travel on an empty stomach? asks Charles L. Starr III. What about dietary needs and feeding schedules?
“Start making short trips to pet-friendly destinations,” encourages Charles L. Starr III. If you’ll be outdoors, make sure your pet’s flea, tick and heartworm prevention medications are up to date. Exposure to wildlife means potential disease or injury. According to Charles L. Starr, there are even sunscreens available for pets.
Charles L. Starr III notes that, while exceptions are made for service dogs, it’s helpful to check rules and regulations before you arrive at your destination. Are crates or harnesses required and the right size? Can your pet lie down, stand up and turn around? Check size and breed restrictions too, suggests Charles L. Starr III.
When you make reservations book non-stop flights. And avoid plane changes and holiday travel if possible, says Charles L. Starr III. Choose early morning or late evening flights for warm weather and mid-day flights for cold. Depending on temperatures, an acclimation certificate may be required, according to Charles L. Starr III.
“Heads hanging out the window while driving are cute but dirt and other debris can enter your pet’s eyes, ears and nose and cause injury or infection,” Charles L. Starr III warns. Never let pets ride on your lap, near your feet, or in the back of a truck. Use a protective carrier or harness. Charles L. Starr III suggests taking a familiar blanket or toy to help comfort your pet. And don’t forget adequate food and water. Keep those feeding schedules as normal as possible, adds Charles L. Starr III.
Lastly, Charles L. Starr III suggests an emergency plan. MyVeterinarian.com lists practices by zip code. Have a color photo of your pet and copies of medical records on hand. Keep collar and microchip information current. Charles L. Starr III also recommends keeping a pet on a leash and in your sight. Above all, be considerate of other travelers and clean up after your pet.