Tips for Traveling with Pets

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According to the Travel Industry Association of America, approximately 30 million people travel with pets each year. With so many pets on the road, in the air, and away from their usual surroundings, it’s vital that pet owners do their homework before embarking on a journey with their four-legged family members.

While planning their summer escape, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, reminds pet owners that preparation is the key to ensuring a fun and safe vacation. Below are six travel tips for pet parents and their furry friends:

  1. Make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times in case she becomes separated or lost. Verify that your pet’s ID tag is up-to-date, durable, legible, and includes your mobile phone number.
  2. Pack a recent photo of your pet along with current vaccination records. If your pet becomes lost, having a current photograph will make the search easier.
  3. Pack enough food to safeguard against travel delays.
  4. Book a pet-friendly hotel. With more than 25,000 hotels in the U.S. allowing pets, there are plenty of properties to choose from.
  5. Choose early morning or late evening flights to avoid temperature extremes that may affect your pet.
  6. Look up details about a veterinary hospital near your destination (phone number, hours, driving distance).  If your pet has a medical emergency you’ll be prepared and know where to go.

In addition to the tips listed above, VPI recommends pet owners consider their pet’s personality to determine if she will be content in surroundings outside her comfort zone. A discussion with a veterinarian regarding travel plans may also be helpful.

“If you’re planning to take your pet on vacation, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to confirm your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and that she receives a clean bill of health,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Traveling with pets by air requires specific attention because airlines will require a formal health certificate from your veterinarian.”  

McConnell also says, “It is also critical to ask your veterinarian about unique exposures at your travel destination (such as mosquitos and/or ticks), and inquire if preventive medication is appropriate for your pet.”