Georgia Veterinary Medical Association offers travel tips for pets

November 19, 2012 

Keep your furry family members safe this holiday season by following advice from the veterinarians of the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA).

General tips

Some pets suffer from motion sickness or have severe travel-related anxiety issues. Plan ahead by talking with your veterinarian about the possibility of medication to help alleviate these issues.

Be sure your pet is properly identified with a tag and/or a microchip that includes current contact info.

Grooming (bathing, combing, trimming nails) before a trip, plus having favorite food, toys and dishes available will make your pet more comfortable.

Have proof of rabies vaccination and a current health certificate with you when crossing state or international borders.

Keep a photo of your pet with you to help with identification in case your pet is lost.

Make sure to pack an ample supply of any medications your pet requires, including monthly preventatives.

Road trip

Pets should be secured in a carrier or seat belt/harness, to help protect them in the event of an accident. This will also help keep pets safely contained so they do not become a distraction, or get in the way of the driver, causing a potentially dangerous situation.

Identify pet-friendly hotels before hitting the road, so you are not stuck in an unfamiliar place with no lodging that will accept your pet.

Flying

Not all airlines transport all pets. Some have weight restrictions and some breeds are not permitted (bulldogs, pugs, etc.)

Talk with your airline carrier about their particular requirements for safe and comfortable air travel for your animal.

Most airlines require a current rabies certificate, as well as a current certificate of health. It is usually standard that the health certificate be done and dated within 10 days of travel.

Boarding

Boarding facilities tend to fill up quickly this time of year, so be sure to inquire now and make a reservation.

Plan ahead to make sure your pet has the required vaccinations and tests in order to be boarded. Keep in mind, some vaccine protocols can take up to a month to complete and the pet needs time to develop an immunity from the vaccine, so time is of the essence to make sure your pet’s vaccines are completed and adequate protection is achieved before your scheduled boarding appointment.

Most boarding facilities ask to see proof of your dog's immunizations, so be sure to have health records with you.

Staying home

Whether you choose to have a pet sitter in your home, or if your pet will be staying in the home of a friend, neighbor or sitter, it is a good idea to let your pet and sitter visit before your departure.

Notify your veterinarian that you will be vacationing and that your sitter is authorized to bring your pet in for medical care. Leave the number for your veterinarian in a safe place so your sitter will have it in case of emergencies.

Make sure you leave written permission for your sitter to make health decisions for your pet. Many vet offices have the ability to safely and securely store credit card information that can be used in case of an emergency.

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