Dog Travel Tips
Vacation! Finally, Summer is here and the travel plans are being made. What does this mean for your best buddy? If you are planning to travel with your pet, or pets, there are things you must know. Please note, the 10 rules below cover only the Continental United States. For any travel to the Territories or international travel, please consult the Department of State’s website. http://www.state.gov/
1-TRANSPORTATION: Always contact an airline, train, or cruise line* directly to make travel plans when traveling with a pet. Make sure your know all the rules and regulations for check-in, trip, and pick-up for each independent mode of travel.
2-CONFIRMATION: Contact the airline, train line, or cruise line* 48 hours before your trip to confirm the plan. Weather can change is this may affect pet travel.
3-WARNING: Note: All companies providing modes of travel have the right to refuse to transport or allow a pet that displays aggression or illness or is housed in an inappropriate container, or the weather is not safe for pet travel.
4-PREPARATION: A pet under duress does not travel well. In the weeks leading up to your travel date, put your dog in his or her carrier for a while each day. Reinforce the calm behavior and give rewards and treats.
5-MINORS: No airline allows an unaccompanied minor to travel with a pet.
6-CARRIER: Pet carriers must be solid and latch safely. They must be leak proof and have an absorbent towel on the bottom. Carriers must also have handles to lift. You must put two bowls, one for water and one for food. Your dog must be able to stand and turn around in his her carrier. NEVER attach a leash or muzzle to the carrier. One dog per carrier is allowed. Mark “Live Animal” on the side and include your address and phone number.
7-PUPPIES: Puppies must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned in order to travel within the United States.
8-USDA: The USDA requires your dog have food and water within four hours of travel. Make sure your dog is hydrated within four hours of travel. A full stomach may be uncomfortable, but food should be available to your dog within four hours of travel. Mark your carrier with the time, certifying that your dog was offered food and water within the four hour window. Attach a note with any feeding instructions. If the attendant notes any physical distress, such as dehydration, your pet will not be permitted to travel.
9-HEALTH: Pets must have health certificates to travel state to state within the U.S. Your dog must have a valid rabies vaccination certificate and health certificate issued by a vet within 30 days of travel. Puppies must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned to travel. The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend using tranquilizers for dogs, particularly the snub-nosed breeds. They can be disorienting and dangerous for any dog’s health. Ultimately, it is up to you and your veterinarian, but make the choice with careful consideration.
10-CALM: Give your dog an opportunity to exercise before they go in the container. Keep him or her calm and do not lose your patience with whining or discontent.
Dogs are members of the family and taking them away with you can be fun, but your need to be prepared. Make sure you have any medication they made need. Bring a dog first aid kit and extra food. Most importantly, know that taking a dog out of routine can cause tension. Be extra patient and extra cautious around new dogs and new people.
*Cruise line information provided here is for water way travel within United States borders only.