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How do I Prepare my Pet for Travel?

Stories from HART

How do I Prepare my Pet for Travel?

Sarah Myers

68% of U.S. households own a pet. So odds are, there'll come a time when most of us will have to travel with our best friend. Assembling a pet travel kit is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth journey for you and your pet. But what exactly should you include in your kit and how should you otherwise prepare for the trip?

 Here's everything you need to know about traveling with a pet: how to prepare for the journey ahead and what to include in your travel kit.

 The weeks leading up to your journey are just as important as the journey itself. To ensure you're properly preparing your pet for the trip ahead, you should:

1.     Buy the Right Crate or Container

If you're traveling with your pet in a container, you have to ensure it's IATA approved. Any carrier or crate must be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, and turn around in without trouble. It must also be secure enough that it won't slip around when the plane or vehicle is in motion.

2.     Prepare the Crate

The crate should be lined with absorbent bedding. Shredded paper or cloth works well for this purpose. Before departing, freeze a small bowl of water and place it securely in the crate. This ensures the water doesn't spill during loading time but will melt enough to become available to your pet during the trip. Ensure the crate is securely closed but don't lock it. Your pet should be accessible for feeding or in the case of an emergency. You should also attach your pet's identification to the crate. This ensures they're not accidentally misplaced.

3.     Rehearse the Trip

If your pet has never been on a long journey before, you should prepare them in advance by rehearsing the trip. If traveling by car, take them on short drives and increase the time spent in the car each journey. If you're flying to your destination, take your pet to the airport to get them used to the smells and sounds. One of the best things you can do to reassure your pet is to get them used to the crate or container they'll be traveling in. This will be their "safe space" on the journey. Make it a fixture in your home and introduce them gradually to being closed away. 

4.     Research the Pet Rules of Your Destination

If you're traveling internationally or between states, you must check the requirements of your destination. Rules and regulations regarding pets vary from country to country and even state to state. You should ensure you're abiding by your destination's specific health, vaccination, and quarantine regulations. These guidelines can often be found on the official embassy website of the country in question. If in doubt, ask your vet for advice.


Assembling the Perfect Travel Kit

Your pet travel kit should act as part resource part emergency kit. Some essentials to include are:

·      Food and water

·      Collar with ID tags

·      A blanket

·      Sturdy garbage bags

·      Disposable litter trays

·      Grooming and hygiene items

·      Pet-safe dish soap and disinfectant

·      Towels

·      Toys

·      Health certificates

·      Vaccination certificates

·      Pet insurance policies

·      Recent photos of your pet

Having all these elements on hand will ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible with minimal stress for you and your pet.

Taking a trip with your pet needn't be a stressful affair. By preparing for the journey in advance and assembling the right pet travel kit, you'll ensure you, and your pet make the journey with minimal fuss.

Are you looking to prepare your pet for a trip? Get in touch with the Bredel Veterinary Clinic and HART to see how we can help you.