Central Veterinary Associates is reminding pet owners that January 2, 2014 is National Pet Travel Safety Day, and urges those who travel with their pets to take the necessary precautions for a more enjoyable trip.
Approximately 51% of U.S. pet owners take their pets with them when they travel, according to a study by Best Western International and the American Automobile Association (AAA). In order to help you prepare for any upcoming trips, Central Veterinary Associates urges you to review these ten helpful tips:
• Consult your vet ― Let your pet’s veterinarian know about your upcoming trip and see what he/she has to say. Since your veterinarian is aware of your pet’s vaccinations and behavior, make sure they feel that it’s okay for your pet to travel with you.
• Practice runs ― Before bringing your pet for a long ride, consider taking him/her for shorter rides around town and see how your pet handles them. If your pet does not seem comfortable, maybe a day of traveling is not a good idea.
• Don’t forget to buckle up ― Many pet owners forget the importance of placing a seat belt on their pets. According to a study by AAA, 30,000 car accidents are caused each year due to unrestrained pets. Perhaps purchase a pet car seat, pet barrier or travel crate to ensure your pet’s safety― and your own―while driving.
• Identification is crucial ― To ensure that you and your pet will not lose one another, remember to keep their identification up to date ― dog tags, microchips, etc. This way, if there is confusion during your trip and your pet is missing, someone can call you as soon as possible to let you know where your pet is.
• Bring a first aid pet kit ― You never know when a pet will become ill or injured. Be sure to bring a first aid kit and your pet’s most recent medical records. Make sure to pack gauzes, bandages, and hydrogen peroxide in the kit. However, always remember to contact a professional veterinarian before treating a pet on your own.
• Make pit stops, if possible ― The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners stop every two to three hours on a road trip. This will give pets some time to stretch and go to the bathroom without feeling restrained.
• Eat and stay hydrated ― We all know to expect the unexpected when traveling, which includes delays and cancellations. Take extra food and water for your pets, just in case. You never know how long you’re going to wait in traffic or for a flight.
• Do your research ― Many airlines charge additional fees to bring a pet on board. Whether your pet will be flying in the cabin or as checked baggage, you want to make sure you have enough money to take them along and ensure that they will be comfortable. If you’re traveling outside of the country, you will also need an international travel certificate from a USDA-certified veterinarian, which CVA has on staff. For international travel, you will also have to know which vaccines and tests are required for your pet to enter the country.
• Get a pet carrier ― Purchase a kennel or carrier that fits your pet. Make sure your pet can turn around and stand without hitting its head. Each airline has a different kennel/carrier dimension restriction, and the United States Department of Agriculture does require each kennel to have food and water dishes, stickers that indicate “Live Animal,” upright arrows and proper bedding.
• Exercise ― Prior to putting your pet in a kennel or carrier, allow time for exercise since they will be sitting in a small area for a while. Consider taking your pet for a walk or letting them roam around in an open field or backyard.
“Making sure your pets are prepared for travel is essential for their good health and safety,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, CVA’s chief executive officer and president. “Doing your research and taking precautions will make traveling easy and stress-free for you and your pet. There is no reason a dog or cat should be injured or harmed after traveling. If you have any major concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.”
Central Vets’ Valley Stream location is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For an appointment or to obtain an international travel certificate, please call (516) 825-3066.