Summer’s here, and that means escaping city limits for vacation destinations around the world. For pet owners who don’t like leaving their furry extended family behind, that can also mean additional planning and preparation. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when taking your pet along for the ride.
1. GIVE YOUR DOG PLENTY OF EXERCISE FIRST.
When traveling with a pet for long distances, it’s recommended that you keep them in a crate. (In the event of an accident, it can keep them from being thrown around.) While confined to his temporary habitat, a dog will feel more at ease if he’s not harboring a lot of pent-up energy: making sure he’s gone for a jog or ball-chasing session beforehand can mean the difference between a stressful journey (for both of you) and a relaxed trip.
2. KEEP THEM RUNNING ON EMPTY.
Whether a dog is going by car or plane, it’s a good idea to make sure they’ve emptied their bladder first. If possible, fasting for six or so hours prior to departure can also prevent any accidents.
3. MAKE SURE THEY’RE TAGGED.
A lot can happen during air or road travel that could result in an accidental separation. To maximize the chances for a quick reunion, make sure your pet has an ID tag and a microchip—the former should have information about your destination along with a contact number.
4. OBTAIN A HEALTH CERTIFICATE.
If you travel by plane, most airlines will require a current health certificate from a veterinarian stating your pet is in good health. Your vet can also advise on relaxation techniques that don’t involve sedation.
5. CREATE A FAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT.
Your pet will be getting a bit of sensory overload with a new beach or hotel room to experience, so make sure he has something from home—a toy, a blanket, a favorite treat—that can help make him feel more comfortable.
6. AVOID THE WINDOW BREEZES.
Dogs love sticking their head out of a car window, but their safety can be compromised: eye injuries from foreign objects can be an issue, especially at high speeds.
7. KEEP THEM IN THE BACK.
A dog riding shotgun may seem like the natural choice, but for their safety, it’s best to keep their crate stored in a back seat. A deployed front airbag runs the risk of harming your pet.
8. KNOW THAT SOME BREEDS AREN’T PLANE-FRIENDLY.
A dog or cat breed with a “flat” face (bulldogs, Persian cats) runs an increased risk of developing oxygen deprivation or heat stroke due to their shortened nasal passages. Always make sure you understand the factors involved in air travel, particularly with the uncontrolled climate of the cargo hold, before committing.
9. STICK TO BOTTLED WATER.
If your dog drinks from the tap, he or she has gotten used to your area’s water supply. That won’t be the case at your destination, where a different city’s or region’s water carries the risk of upsetting your dog’s stomach. Stick with bottled or slowly acclimate your pet to the new source by adding a little at a time to his bowl.
10. HEAD BACK TO THE VET.
Once you and your pet are home, take another trip back to the vet for a check-up, especially if you’ve spent a portion of your time camping or hiking: parasites and other pests might have hitched a ride back with you.
Keeping your pets safe is important, and having the right pet insurance coverage is, too. Find out how the GEICO Insurance Agency can help you find coverage for your four-legged family member at a great rate.