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Pets are an important member of many people’s family, which means that more animals than ever are traveling with their human companions. It’s important to research and prepare before traveling with your pet, in order to ensure you both have a pleasant travel experience.
What documents do I need to travel with my pet?
You probably don’t need to carry any special documents while traveling with your pet domestically by car, but it never hurts to have a copy of their vet records — including vaccinations — on hand, especially if you’re crossing state borders. For air travel, it will vary by airline and whether you’re traveling internationally or domestically.
Generally speaking, there are three documents you’ll want to have when traveling with your pet: rabies vaccination, certificate of veterinary inspection or health certificate, and acclimation certificate.
Some states or countries require rabies vaccination within a certain time period before entry, so always check ahead of time. The CVI, or health certificate, is a signed document from a veterinarian that says they inspected the animal for diseases and overall health, and they are fit to travel. It is often only valid for a specific period of time, so make sure it won’t expire before your trip.
Finally, an acclimation certificate is offered by some airlines, and features regulations about hot and cold weather extremes, which some animals may be exposed to while waiting to be placed in plane storage and while on the plane. This frequently only affects certain breeds.
Also, depending on which airline you’re traveling with, you may be required to have a Confirmation of Feeding (food and water before the flight), Live Animal Checklist (instructions for the airline handlers) and tranquilizer consent forms (from a veterinarian) when bringing your pet along on your adventures.
Pet travel essentials
Whether you’re heading on a road trip, traveling by train, or taking a flight with your animal companion, there are a few things you’ll need in order to ensure they have a safe trip.
First, ensure you have all required documents for traveling with your pet. While you likely won’t need much documentation for domestic travel, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, should anyone complain about your pet. If you’re traveling internationally, the documentation required will vary from country to country. Check with the travel authority for the country you are going to before your trip, for their requirements.
Second, some sort of restraint will be required for your pet to travel safely. For dogs and cats, this might be something as basic as a harness and leash, but for birds, or others, it might mean a cage or carrier of some kind. A collar with ID is good if you have it, as is a recent photo of your pet.
If your pet requires any medications for traveling, make sure you have those on hand. Also, bring along their food and any dishes for feeding and watering. Their favorite blanket or toy can also make the experience more pleasant.
Can my pet fly in the cabin?
Whether or not your pet can fly in the cabin will depend on the airline, and their size and breed. Many airlines allow cats, dogs, ferrets, and birds to fly in the cabin with their human owners, as long as they are under a certain size, and safely contained. If your dog is considered a dangerous breed, they might not be able to travel in the cabin with you.
Can I bring my pet to a hotel?
Many hotels now realize that more and more people are traveling with their pets, and as such have updated their policies to allow pets in rooms. You may need to pay a small fee for this convenience, but it is worth it to be able to bring your pet along. A simple call or email ahead of time will tell you whether or not your hotel is pet-friendly.
With a little bit of research and preparation ahead of time, you can enjoy traveling with your pet with as little stress as possible.
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