Traveling with Your Pet

Travelling with your pet can be very frustrating or very rewarding; it depends on how well you prepare you and your pet for travel. People travel with lots of different pets they include but are not limited to Dogs, Cats, Pocket pets, exotic pets and reptiles.

It is very important that you make your travels happy and stress-free, to do this you need to be prepared. The first thing that all travelling pets need is a health check from their favourite veterinarian. Health certificates can be issued from your pet’s veterinarian to travel into other countries. If travelling into another country it is always a good idea to find out what kind of documentation is required to travel with your pet.

Containing your pet is the safest way to travel in a vehicle for both you and your pet. Animals can sometimes cause distracted driving and are more comfortable in carriers when travelling. If your pet is in a carrier when travelling it takes the possible distraction of needing to know where they are and what they are doing out of the equation. You know exactly where they are and that they are safe. Pets should never be allowed to roam freely in the back of a vehicle where they may be exposed to flying debris or have the ability to jump out or be thrown out of a moving vehicle. You should also not allow your dog to hang its head out the window where debris or other vehicles may hit them or injure them.

Never leave your pet in a vehicle in extreme hot or cold weather. Always ensure that your pet has fresh water.

When travelling on an airplane ensure that you call ahead and find out what is required for your pet to travel with you. You may need to purchase a carrier or obtain that health certificate from your pet’s veterinarian. Let them know ahead of time that you will be travelling with your pet this will avoid a lot of frustrations on the day of travel. In some cases letting them know that you are travelling with a pet will stop the possibility of them not letting you on the airplane at all.

Different countries have different requirements for your pet to enter. They are all different in what they ask for when it comes to paperwork and vaccines. Some countries will not allow pets from certain countries at all. Some countries require that your pet goes through quarantine before entering. Call your local CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) to find out what the requirements are. After you find out what paperwork is required and the timing of the vaccinations and health certificate you will need to call your veterinarian and book an appointment. Let the staff member who answers the phone know that there will be paperwork to fill out for travel. You should take the paperwork that is required to the veterinarian with you as most veterinarians are not versed in what paperwork is required.

A few do’s and don’ts for you when you are taking your pet on an airplane:

  • Do take your pet out of the carrier for the scanning equipment. You should make sure that you hold your pet as they feel the most comfortable with you and not a stranger
  • Do have a carrier for travelling with your pet, there are pheromones that you can spray in the carrier that will help your pet feel comfortable and relaxed when travelling
  • Do not hand your pet off to a stranger to hold as this can cause them unneeded stress
  • Do not put your pet on the conveyer belt at any time
  • Do your research, surround your pet with stuff that makes him/her feel happy and safe. Know what the requirements are for the area that you are travelling to including the vaccination and paperwork requirements.
  • Always be upfront with airlines that you are travelling with a pet, and contact your veterinarian for nothing less than a health check before travelling.

Safe travels to both you and your pet!

Written by: Shannon Knox, Clinic Manager