Summer fun includes vacations and trips, and our pets, as family members, oftentimes want to get in on the fun!
Consider your pet’s age, temperament and health before deciding to travel with them. Pets should be up to date on all vaccines and have current identification tags. Consider microchipping your pet if he/she isn’t microchipped already.
Make sure where you are going is pet friendly. Airlines have pet travel limits, so check with your airline before travel. Some airlines no longer allow pets in the cabin. In warm weather months, it is not always safe for pets to travel as cargo on planes, because the tarmac where they are waiting before boarding can get dangerously hot. The weather on the day of your flight may be the difference between your pet being able to travel and having to rebook for another day.
If you are driving with your pet, make sure he/she is properly restrained with a safety harness or in a carrier. Never drive with your pet on your lap; your pet could be crushed by the airbag in a collision. Small animals such as cats can crawl under the pedals. Unrestrained pets are a distraction to drivers and could be thrown out windows or through windshields in a crash.
Never leave your pet unattended in a warm vehicle, even with the windows open. A car can rapidly become an oven, as the heat can rise drastically in a matter of minutes. The back of an SUV can get very hot in the sun, even when the air conditioning is on in the front. Sadly, many pets die from heat stroke each year, even when the temperature didn’t feel that hot to their owners.
If you are traveling across state lines or international borders, a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (Health Certificate) is required. Also carry your pet’s vaccine history, rabies certificate, veterinarian’s contact information, a list of any medications and a summary of any medical conditions. Know the locations of veterinary emergency hospitals for your trip.
For more information on traveling with pets, consult:
American Veterinary Medical Association: Traveling with Your Pets FAQs
American Veterinary Medical Association: Pets in Vehicles