Going on summer vacation doesn’t always mean you have to leave your furry companions boarded at the vet clinic in a kennel. Should you choose to take your cat or dog with you on your travels, there are a few rules and regulations to consider. We also have some travel tips that can make your trip easy and less stressful for everyone involved.

Pet Travel by Plane Little silver toy plane

  1. Before you commence any type of travel, make sure your dog or cat receives a clean bill of health from your veterinarian. Some airlines call for a copy of the certificate before they will issue you tickets. Carry this health certificate with you on board the plane and keep it within easy reach in case of emergency.
  2. Check with your airline prior to buying your ticket to determine if it has any restrictions regarding age, size, breed or species of the pet allowed to board with passenger or placed in cargo holds.
  3. Purchase a carrier that will comfortably fit your pet under the seat in front of you for the entire flight. You will need to check with your airline on size restrictions. Your animal will need to remain in the carrier for the entire flight. Label your carrier on the top and at least one side with your name, the name and breed of your pet, a picture of your pet if possible, your address, cell phone number and the phone number of your destination.
  4. Withhold solid food from your cat or dog starting approximately four hours before you board to avoid any stomach distress or vomiting. If your animal is predisposed to travel sickness, you may want to see your vet about medicating her prior to your travel.
  5. Write down the name, phone number, and address of the closest emergency veterinary clinic nearest to your destination and keep it with you. If your pet develops a medical problem in-flight, you will be able to more quickly get veterinary treatment once you touch down with this information at hand.

Pet Travel by Car 

  1. Before leaving on a long car trip, ask yourself how your dog behaves in the car. Does she become anxious or get carsick? If the answer to your questions is yes, then you might want to see your veterinarian for medications to help with the problem.
  2. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the best place for your pet (dog or cat) is in a crate or carrier that has been secured in the back seat with a seat belt. Dog restraints or canine harness/seat belts are useful but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash. Since most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, keep yours in her crate for both her safety and your own.
  3. Keep the name and phone number of the emergency vet closest to your destination with you, and, as we suggested with airline travel, write your name, address and cell phone number on a card and tape it to your pet carrier. You may also want to include the breed, name, and a photo of your pet in case of an accident.
  4. Take frequent rest stops to allow your pet to exercise and eliminate, but never let your pet out of the car and/or carrier without a harness or collar, a leash, and an ID tag. You’ll want to bring along food and cool water for your furry companion. If you are traveling with a cat, include a small litter box in the carrier for her to use when needed.
  5. Don’t leave your pets alone in the car – even with the air conditioner running. On an 85ºF day, the temperature in your car can reach 120ºF in just 30 minutes, and your pet can suffer heat exhaustion/heat stroke that can cause permanent organ damage and even death.

head cat out of a car window in motion. summer

Finding Pet-Friendly Hotels/Motels 

Go online or check with your reservations agent to ensure the hotel/motel or bed-and-breakfast where you’re staying allows pets. Most pet-friendly facilities add a surcharge to your fee if you bring your pet along for your stay. **Please Note: Dogs that bark at the slightest noise probably will not be tolerated in any facility that has paying guests.

You’ll need to have enough food and water on hand for your entire residence. If your animal is staying in your room while you’re out, place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that the cleaning service won’t let your pet loose to get lost. If they know there is an animal in residence, most maid services will work around your schedule so that you can take your pet out of the room to get it exercised and your room cleaned.

Need to Leave Your Pets at Home?

Sometimes your pet can’t make the trip with you.  Instead of boarding them somewhere unfamiliar, why not let them stay in the comfort of their own home? Overnight services from VIP Pet Services is just the solution! We love to cuddle up on the couch with your pet and watch his favorite TV show. Or snuggle in bed as it’s time to fall asleep. It’s the next best thing to having their pet parents at home!

Click here to learn about our overnight services.

Collie dog inside looking into camera with sofa in background


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