Tips on Keeping Your Pet Safe While Traveling

Just like people take preventative measures before they travel, pets need protection when they travel. If you're going on vacation with your pet, that might include additional vaccines or preventive medication beyond what's recommended by your vet.

You'll want to be prepared for a number of risks that may exist at your destination if you're going on vacation and taking your pet with you to ensure their trip is safe and comfortable.

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, common requirements for your pet's admission into other countries include rabies vaccination, tapeworm treatment and tick treatments.

Depending on where you're going, your pet may need to be microchipped. You may also need blood tests to prove your pet is free from disease-causing agents like rabies, Leptospira, Leishmania, Ehrlichia and Brucella.

Here are some risks that your pet might be susceptible to on your trip:

  • Warmer climates can host some nasty, irritation-causing parasites that may also transmit worse diseases.

  • Diseases caused by viruses can be common. That includes rabies and other viruses that may also put people at risk and potentially cause serious illness or death.

  • Some bacteria can cause serious disease. Pets may be more likely to become infected if they have skin wounds, eat contaminated food or drink from contaminated water.

Whether by car, train, or air, there are a few more things you can do to keep your pet safe and comfortable when you're traveling with them.

By car, pets should be kept in a secure carrier or with a pet seat belt. You should leave time for bathroom breaks and keep a leash on hand for dogs. Further, cats should have access to a litter box and some quiet time to use it. You'll also want to talk to your vet if your pet suffers from car sickness.

By train, you'll want to confirm where your pet will be kept, plan for motion sickness, and check how your pet will have access to food, water, and bathroom breaks.

In terms of traveling by air, ensure that you have an airline-approved crate or carrier. While some owners choose to sedate their pets for air travel, the Canadian Animal Health Institute advises that it can interfere with your pet’s ability to adjust to changing temperatures and can pose a greater risk to your pet’s health.

With all of this in mind, it's a good idea to talk to your veterinary team about any upcoming travel and find out how to best protect your pet.

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