ptsdThis week, we celebrated National Pet Travel Safety Day since most of us travel with our pets at one time or another.  Whether it’s around town, across the country, or out of the country, there are some obstacles that can turn your vacation or outing into a hassle rather than the fun time you had planned.  It doesn’t matter whether your pet is a travel veteran or soon-to-be newbie after your “travel more with my pet” New Year’s resolution because obstacles and safety concerns can pop up when you least expect.  No matter what your pet’s travel status or the extent of your trip, it’s always good to be prepared for whatever the road (or airline) may bring.

If you are taking your pet on a trip via air travel, then it’s very important to check with your airline well in advance to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork.  No one likes to get to the airport and find out that their pet can’t fly because of a paperwork mishap.  Some airlines require a Domestic Health Certificate (available by appointment with one of our veterinarians) while others only require proof of vaccination.  Even the vaccinations required for flight and the timeframe in which they are given vary by airline.

When traveling internationally, always check with your destination country.  Every country is different for its requirements for entry, but all will require an International Health Certificate (available by appointment from our veterinarians).  This process can vary since every country seems to want it done a different amount of time ahead of your travel dates.  The paperwork can also slow you down since it has to be sent to the USDA for final signature and approval.  Check with your destination country about vaccines as well.  Some countries require a Rabies titer test (which takes time to come back) in addition to a current Rabies vaccine.

If you’re sticking to the roads, look into a safety harness or crate to protect your pet from sudden stops and accidents.  Be sure that your pet isn’t a distraction while you’re driving so you can keep him and yourself safe.  For more car safety tips for your pet, visit the National Pet Travel Safety web site.

If your pet is not a good traveler, be sure to speak to our doctors about your options.  We offer everything from mild sedatives to medication for motion sickness to help your furry friend through the journey.  Of course, he or she is always welcome to stay with us in our lodging resort while you travel.  We offer fun, socialization and cozy accommodations to keep your pet happy and healthy while you enjoy some time away.  Give us a call at 301-258-0333 ahead of your vacation to schedule an appointment or a lodging reservation.  We wish you happy and safe travels for 2014!