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Traveling With Your Pets, What You Need To Know


Car Travel
Your pet may be accustomed to traveling for short distances by car. If not, you should take the time to introduce car travel slowly. All pets should travel in a carrier or crate or wear a seatbelt made especially for pets. Even on short trips, your pet is safer if it is confined, and it may prevent injury or loss in the event of an accident or other emergency. No pet should ever ride unrestrained in the open bed of a truck. Always have a suitable collar and leash for each pet, even if they are in a carrier or crate. If your pet is fearful of the car, start by having the pet enter the vehicle while it is not in motion and the engine is off. Offer the pet a treat or a reassuring word if it is calm and quiet in this situation for a few moments and then remove the pet from the car. Work up to a short trip in the moving vehicle, just down the street or around the block at first. Gradually extend the length of time in the car, and be sure the pet feels comfortable and does not only associate car rides to trips to the grooming parlor or veterinarian! Remember to use the air conditioning in summer so that your pet does not become overheated.
NEVER leave your pet in a closed vehicle! If your pet is anxious or becomes carsick, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions.

Air Travel
If your pet will be traveling by air, there are special considerations. Check with the airline your pet will be traveling on for requirements for vaccinations, Health Certificate from your veterinarian, airline approved crate and any other factors related to the flight.

USDA standards for shipping dogs and cats can be found in Part 3, Standards of the Animal Welfare Regulations. See sections 3.13 through 3.19.

Airline have various animal transport rules. If traveling by air, please check with the airline well in advance of travel. A few airline Transport website's are listed below (more later):

Please be aware that each airline is different. Some will refuse to allow your pet to board under certain temperature extremes. Ask questions and be prepared, long before your intended departure. There is no way to truly prepare your pet for the stressful experience of air travel. Federal law requires you to feed and offer water to your pet four hours before the flight (If you have a young pet, a dog that is a toy breed or a diabetic cat or dog, please talk to your veterinarian about feeding before the trip). It is best not to overfeed your pet either, so use common sense. Whatever goes in will have to come out! Some pet owners would like their pet to have a sedative for air travel, however, sedation is not recommended for most pets. Sedatives and tranquilizers cause heart rate and blood pressure to slow. Since your pet cannot be monitored, this could have dangerous consequences. Ask your veterinarian for advice related to air travel and your individual pet.

Vaccination and Heartworm Prevention
You will want to ensure that your cat or dog is healthy enough to travel and that it is protected from contracting and transmitting diseases. Ask your veterinarian what vaccinations your pet needs. Air travel and the necessity of a Health Certificate may mean certain requirements must be met before departure. International destinations may have very strict rules about vaccination and even even certain blood tests that must be completed before the government will allow your pet to enter. Heartworms, transmitted to your dog by the bite of a mosquito, are very prevalent in some areas. Heartworm disease is a 100% preventable disease. You can protect your dog from potentially deadly heartworm disease by using Heartgard Plus. For more information about heartworm disease, click here.

Flea and/or Tick Prevention and Treatment
Depending on your destination, you may want to protect your pet from infestation by fleas and/or ticks. The start and duration of flea and tick season in most areas of the United States varies depending on temperature, rainfall and humidity.

Fleas and ticks may transmit diseases to pets and people.

To learn of the prevalence of so called vector borne disease in the US, visit the website of the Companion Animal Parasite Council at For world data on vector borne disease, see the Canine Vector Borne Disease World Forum link at

Brown Road Animal Clinic recommends Frontline Plus, an easy to use  treatment that is proven effective. Frontline Plus breaks the flea and tick lifecycles to offer continuous protection. When you apply Frontline Plus, fipronil, the active ingredient, is stored in the oil glands under your pet's skin. It is then distributed continuously to the skin and hair of your pet through the hair follicles. It is waterproof even after swimming, bathing and grooming. Frontline Plus is applied every 30 days to puppies and kittens 8 weeks of age and older and is available without a prescription. It is formulated in 4 weight-based dosages for dogs and a separate formula for cats.

Food and Medication
We recommend that you think ahead about all of the items your pet may need for the duration of your trip. If your dog or cat takes prescription medications or dietary supplements, make sure that you have a supply that is adequate for the duration of your trip. It may be difficult to locate these products if you run out while you are away from home. Some items may require a prescription and may not be easy to obtain. Also consider the storage of your pet's medication. Does it require refrigeration? Some products may not be acceptable if traveling by air, especially liquids.  Your pet's food requires your consideration as well. Will you take it with you or buy it at your destination? If your pet requires a special diet or veterinary prescription diet such as one of the Royal Canin Veterinary diets, you may need to order a sufficient supply. Some veterinary diets require a prescription from your veterinarian. Be careful not to change your pet's diet abruptly as this can cause gastrointestinal distress. Drinking water sources also may be a concern depending on your destination, especially if you will be camping or backpacking with your dog. All pets must have access to fresh drinking water.

Health Certificates
Many states require an up-to date Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or Health Certificate from a licensed, accredited veterinarian, when traveling. This certificate states that your pet is healthy enough to travel and is not showing signs of disease that may be passed to other animals or people. Your pet will need to be examined within 10 days of travel and must be current on certain vaccinations. Airlines may also require a Certificate of Acclimation from the veterinarian, which indicates that the pet is able to withstand specific temperature extremes. For state requirements, please contact our office or The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal & Plant Inspection Service, Veterinary Services: or 800-545-USDA (8732) and press #2 for State Regulations.

International Travel
Brown Road Animal Clinic's staff and veterinarians have assisted many clients in their preparation for international travel. If you are traveling out of the country or even to Hawaii, there are additional requirements if you are taking your pet. Please contact the foreign consulate or appropriate regulatory agency for the country to which you will be traveling. There may be quarantine or other health requirements, so please make arrangements several weeks in advance.

Proper identification of your pet is essential when traveling. We recommend that you place two tads o you pet's collar, one with your home contact information and the other with information pertaining to your travel destination such as a call phone number or listing for your hotel or campground. We strongly recommend that your pet has a microchip and that you make sure all of the contact information is current with your microchip registry. It is wise to carry a current photo of your pet and proof of vaccination should you need it during the trip.

Authorization for Treatment Form 
This form can be used to give your pets caretakers authorization to have animals treated at Brown Road Animal Clinic while you are away traveling for work or on vacation.