8 Tips for Traveling with Your Pets


1. Manage the motion sickness.

Most pets become nauseated when riding in a car, so plan ahead and talk to your veterinarian about medication to keep those queasy feelings in check before you hit the road.

2. Get your paperwork in order.

If you're traveling out of state, you need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, also known as a health certificate, for your pet. This document confirms that your pet has been examined by a veterinarian, is free from signs of infectious disease and is current on vaccinations.

3. Visit with your veterinarian.

Even if you're not traveling out of state, discuss any additional vaccinations or parasite control your pet may need if you're going to an area you've never been before.

4. Update your pet's identification.

Make sure your pet's ID tag has your cell phone number on it—or use a temporary travel ID tag with this information during your trip. If your pet has a microchip, make sure it's registered with your current contact information. And keep a current picture of your pet on your cell phone so you can share it in the event your pet gets lost.

5. Check your accommodations.

Make sure pets are welcome at your destination, whether it's a hotel or a friend or family member's home. It's also a good idea to bring a kennel for your pet if you need to leave him unattended for any period of time.

6. Think safety first.

Make sure you've got an appropriately sized carrier or a safety harness for your pet. If your pet is traveling in a carrier, make sure it's level in the back seat. And consider putting a breathable piece of fabric over the carrier to conceal sights and sounds from surrounding traffic.

7. Prepare for pit stops.

Make frequent stops to allow your dog to stretch his legs and relieve himself. But think twice before using the designated pet relief areas at rest stops. With so many dogs visiting those areas, they're a prime target for unwelcome parasites and disease. Instead, take another exit and find a fresh patch of grass near a school or church (please pick up after him).

8. Put together a pet care package.

Don't forget food, water, dishes, toys, treats, bedding, leashes and collars, and your pet's medication, if applicable. Make sure your pet feels just as comfortable and safe on the road as he would at home.

Make sure your next adventure on the road is a safe and successful one by following these pointers.

Information provided by Dr. Marty Becker and the American Veterinary Medical Association.