National Pet Travel Safety Day
Many pets are traveling with their families over the holidays and into the new year. January 2nd, 2020 is recognized as National Pet Travel Safety Day. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your pet safe when he or she tags along on your drive or flight!
If you tend to get stressed during the holidays, stay aware of your emotions. Our pets are tuned into us and if they feel that you are uncomfortable, anxious, or upset they can put out the same nervous energy. Reassure your pet by letting it know you are in control. If you are met with a negative situation, do your best to praise your pet and comfort it as you’re able.
If you are traveling by car, make sure your pet is secure in the vehicle. Use a crate or a pet seat belt in the case of an accident. When picking out a crate, make sure it is large enough for the animal to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. The crate should not slide or move around when the vehicle is moving. Even an abrupt halt at 10 mph can cause an injury to your animal if it is loose in the car. Be aware that letting your pet ride in the car with its head outside of the window can lead to eye injuries. Remember, it’s never a good idea to leave your pet in a parked car, warm or cold.
When flying with your pet, make sure to speak with your veterinarian before-hand. Many airlines require a health certificate prior to flying. If you are leaving the country, do your research so that you’re prepared for any restrictions or regulations regarding your pet entering a new country. Traveling by air requires a USDA-approved crate. Line it with something absorbent in case your pet has an accident during the flight. To make sure your animal has plenty of food and water during the flight and possible layover, there are a couple of things you can do. Tape a clear bag of food to the outside of the crate, so that a worker can try to feed your animal during a layover. Freeze the water in the dog bowl so that by the time the plane is in the air, it will have melted and your animal will have plenty of water during the flight, or an activity if your pet likes to chew on ice. Mark the crate with “LIVE ANIMAL” and a label including your name, phone number, and destination information.
Most importantly, always have identification on your pet. Your pet should be microchipped and the information should be kept up to date. A collar with an identifying tag of some kind should also be kept on your pet. If your pet were lost, its collar could be removed or break off. The microchip is almost 100% guaranteed to provide the information needed to reunite a pet and its owner. Just remember to keep it updated! Having an up to date photo of your pet may be needed to prove you are the owner of the animal. In the case of an emergency, you’ll need a copy of your pet’s shot records. It may not seem important to travel with them now, but you’ll be happy you did if an accident that required an emergency vet were to occur over the holidays. Many veterinary offices close down or have limited hours of operation. Rather than run the risk of not getting in touch with your veterinarian, ask for a copy to be printed or emailed to you prior to leaving on a trip.
Make a new year’s resolution to keep your pet safe on National Pet Travel Safety Day and every day!