Traveling With Your Pet
Travel with your pet can be a bit more involved than packing up some food and dishes and fitting a carrier into the car. Interstate travel (via car, train, plane...) and international travel generally require various records, forms, and certificates, and the paperwork needed depends on your destination and mode of travel. As you plan your trip, check with your airline, departure and destination Departments of Health, etc. for their requirements.
You can also give us a call at (703) 723-1017 if you need help identifying vaccination/preventative/testing needs, paperwork obligations, and deadlines. We can set up an appointment for your pet to receive an Interstate or International Health Certificate with exam so that your pet will be ready for your family's travel!
Before Traveling anywhere with your pet, you should seriously consider getting them micro-chipped. It is also important to make sure your pets have proper identification visible on their collar. Pets who get loose are less likely to find their way back in an unfamiliar location, so identification is key to enabling happy reunions.
Depending on your country of destination, the requirements for bringing a pet along can vary quite a bit.
Research, Research, Research the country's and your airline's requirements for the trip well in advance of your departure date,
Here at Stream Valley we strive to make your trip as stress-free as possible by doing our part in researching the travel/entry requirements as well.
Common requirements may include specially-timed vaccinations and dewormings, blood tests (commonly rabies titers), and finally an International Health Certificate signed by a specially-permitted veterinarian.
Stream Valley has several of these veterinarians on staff or associated with our practice, but please be certain to mention your need for an INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE when making your appointment.
Don't hesitate to discuss the necessity and/or disadvantages of sedating the individual pet during flight.
As an example, two of our feline patients, Duke Ellington and Duchess Marie, moved from Ashburn, Virginia to London, England during September 2007. They set in motion their journey's preparation during the previous March, allowing ample time for research, exams, vaccinations, testings, and paperwork.
We can set up an appointment for your pet to receive an Interstate or International Health Certificate with an exam, so that your pet will be ready for your family's travel!
Our Customer Service Representatives act as our "pet-travel concierges" when it comes to checking requirements, arranging testing/vaccine needs, filling out required forms, and alleviating pre-travel stress when dealing with your international health certificate needs!
Some hotel chains are pet friendly, so you can check to see if you would like to bring your pet with you. However, remember travel is stressful and often nauseating; we recommend an appointment for a general health exam. Your pet may be a good candidate for helpful medications such as Dramamine, Acepromazine, or Cerenia. Safety is an issue as well. Remember pets will also be injured in a car accident similarly to a child without a proper car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt. For this reason, we recommend transport in a kennel cab or with padded harnesses that can be secured in seatbelts.
Dog Car Travel Do's & Don'ts
Always carry water. Keep a portable water bowl in your car. Cars get hot, even when they are moving, and pets can become dehydrated.
Let your dogs head hang out the window.
Domestic Airline Travel
Flying puts a quite a bit of stress on your pet and will require a general exam and written health certificate from a veterinarian.
Step 1. Check with your airline and your departure and destination cities, but usually health certificates are required within 10 days of your flight.
*During this health exam, vaccines can be updated and any concerns about sedating the pet for travel can be discussed, whether your pet will travel within the cargo section or in the cabin if they are small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat.
Step 2. You should research/question the airlines themselves about their restrictions on weather; it may be too hot or cold to fly pets in cargo.
*You should also find out about any specific criteria for types of carriers that are accepted, especially if your pet is flying in cargo.
Additionally, personal pieces of clothing, usually cotton T-shirts, are probably reassuring to your pet and conducive to sleep during the flight.
**Special precautions should be discussed when flying brachycephalic, or "short-faced," dog or cat breeds, as minimal respiratory stress can lead to grave health consequences in flight; private pet shipping agencies do exist and could be safer in these circumstances.
Traveling Without Your Pet
What if you plan to leave your pet with a friend, relative, or pet-sitter while you travel?
Some important tips:
Leave your pet's caretaker at least two good phone numbers where you can be reached
Leave your pet's caretaker contact information for at least one other person whom you have authorized to seek medical attention for your pet in the event that you cannot be reached
Leave your pet's caretaker the contact information for your regular veterinarian and for the closest emergency veterinary facility
In advance of your travels, provide your regular veterinarian with a signed statement of whom you have authorized to seek medical attention for your pet while you are away (including the specific dates for your trip and any medical or financial parameters you would like honored in your absence)
Provide your pet's caretaker with a similar signed statement that may be presented to an emergency veterinary facility
Provide your regular veterinarian and pet's caretaker with payment information, such as a credit card number, that may be used to pay for any necessary veterinary services while you are away
Provide your pet's caretaker with a detailed list of your pet's regular food, treats, toys, and medications and of any restrictions or allergies to such items
Alert your pet's caretaker to your pet's favorite "hiding" and sleeping spots so that the caretaker knows where s/he might have to seek out your pet when checking on him/her
If you have any questions about preparing your pet and/or pet-sitter for your absence, please feel free to call us at 703-723-1017.
And remember, boarding with Stream Valley is available, so you can give your pet his or her own vacation while you're away!
How to turn your Cat Carrier into their
"Home Away From Home"
Train your kitten early on - makes it easier to take them to routine vet visits!
Integrate the cat carrier into your home - leave it in a room where your cat spends the most time
Place familiar soft towels, clothing or bedding with your scent
Be patient: do not chase your cat into the carrier!
Be sure to reward desired behaviors as they learn
Place treats, catnip, or toys in carrier