If your trip requires airplane travel, think carefully before bringing your pets along. Plane travel is stressful for any pet, especially if they are traveling in the cargo section. Unless it’s unavoidable, we don’t recommend it.
Advanced and careful preparation can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone. Ideally, smaller pets that will easily fit in an airline regulated carrier can be placed under your seat, or the seat in front of you, during the flight. When traveling with animals it is always best to contact your specific airline directly to see what they require to insure your pet’s safety.
The key to a happy vacation is planning ahead to make sure your four-legged friend will have a happy, healthy experience regardless of the means of transportation.
First, about a week before your trip, visit your vet’s office to get your pet a clean bill of health, and to make sure they are up to date with their shots, and has received the appropriate flea, heartworm and tick repellant. “If the trip is going to be a lengthy one, bring along your pet’s medical records, especially if it has an existing medical condition,” says Dr. Mark Verdino, Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff at North Shore Animal League America. And don’t forget to bring along medications, a recent health certificate and rabies vaccination certificates on your trip. (If you’re traveling out of the U.S., additional requirements may apply, so start the planning process months in advance.)
For anxious pets, anti-anxiety pills might provide relief, but never give your pet your own medication! “Pets should only take medicine prescribed by a veterinarian,” says Dr. Verdino.