By Erica Radhakrishnan


Pet Transport Training | No matter the form of travel used – car, plane, boat, or train – training a pet to be comfortable in a carrier is important and necessary.  This is true for both cats and dogs.  Most commercial transportation agencies require pets to be crated during travel.  The best time to prepare a pet for transport in a carrier is as a kitten or puppy.  However, if this was not possible, getting your adult cat or dog to feel comfortable in a carrier is not necessarily impossible.  It will take practice and LOTS of it.  For both cats and dogs, bring the crate into your home several weeks in advance of travel.  Allow your pet to become familiar with it.  Leave the door open to allow curious noses the opportunity to smell and explore the crate or bag.  For cats, turn the bag on its side to allow easier exploration.  You can encourage them to enter the crate or bag on their own by placing some catnip inside, as well as an item of your clothing that contains your scent.  For dogs, feeding them in their crate is a great way to acclimate them to this enclosed space.  Also, create a comfortable space inside the crate with pet-safe bedding and an item with your scent to encourage your dog to use the carrier as a resting place.  The more at ease you can make your pet in a carrier at home, the easier it will be on the day of travel.

Visit Your Vet | It is important that your pet get a clean bill of health before traveling.  If your healthy pet has not been in to see your vet within six months of travel or one month of travel for a pet with a chronic disease, it would be wise to take them in for a checkup.  Talk to your vet about any concerns about travel anxiety and your travel plans in general.  They may make some recommendations about different medications based upon the region of the world in which you are traveling, such as different flea and tick prevention or have additional suggestions about reducing your pet’s travel anxiety.  Get refills on any medications your pet is taking and a copy of your pet’s medical record, if you are traveling for an extended period of time or are relocating.  This information could help save your pet’s life and your wallet in the event of an emergency during travel.  If recent tests were performed on your pet, they may not need to be repeated.  Consider getting your pet a microchip in the event they are lost during travel.  Lastly, be certain that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and have all necessary documentation or tags as proof.

Plan and Pack | When making your travel plans, know all hotel and modes of transportation pet policies, including those for rental car agencies.  Make your reservations well in advance, as certain airlines restrict the number of pets in flight.  Confirm that your pet’s ID tags are correct and legible.  If you are relocating, you may want to update their tags to the new address and phone number.   Pack and double check your pet’s supplies.  Be sure to remember their leash and/or harness, medications, portable water dish, food, water, sheets to cover furniture, a photo in case you are separated, plastic bags for picking up after them, and a can opener (if using canned food).  Most importantly, pack your sense of adventure and fun!  

Safe Travels!