Traveling With (and Without) Pets

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Do you have a long business trip, family reunion out-of-state, or simply planning that nice summer vacation on a California beach?

Have you given consideration yet to what to do with your pet while you are away? If you are going to travel with your pet, here are some tips:

  • The safest way for your pet to travel in a car is to be in a carrier/kennel that is secured to the seat or deck.
  • Keep a collar or harness on the pet at all times, and fasten the leash to the collar/harness before you open the door at rest stops.
  • Pets need frequent rest stops to stretch and not get bored with the trip.
  • Check your veterinary records to make sure all vaccines are current.
  • Your dog should have his license tag (dog tag) fastened to the collar. This proves he has had a Rabies vaccine. Carry his Rabies Vaccination Certificate and any other important medical records.
  • Apply a flea/tick prevention product a few days before traveling.
  • Know if you are traveling to a region where heart-worm disease is prevalent. Use a heart-worm prevention product for your dog (and maybe your cat). Your veterinarian can advise you on this topic.
  • Technically, all animals crossing a state line should be accompanied by a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. In practice, this is not usually necessary for pets traveling by car, unless you are going out of the country. If you are crossing the Mexican or Canadian border, a signed health certificate can help avoid problems when coming back into the United States.
  • Check in advance for a veterinarian in the area you are visiting.

If your pet is staying home:

  • Arrange well in advance for a pet-sitter or a boarding facility especially if you will be away during a holiday.
  • Dogs going to a kennel must be current on vaccines including Rabies, Distemper/Parvo, and Bordatella (kennel cough). Cats should be vaccinated at least for FVRCP (3-in-1 vaccine), and some kennels require Feline Leukemia vaccine and Rabies vaccine.
  • Apply a flea/tick preventative a few days before the pet goes to the kennel. By the way, don’t be surprised if your dog picks up a couple of ticks at the kennel.  (The summer is the primary tick season and your kennel managers will be working very hard to keep the facilities free of ticks.)  The simple fact is that ticks are everywhere, and one cannot put a bunch of dogs together in one place without having a few ticks show up.

Everybody travel safe and we’ll see you when you come home to the Valley of the Sun.