Posts Tagged ‘domestic flight’

So you’re going to visit Charlie, Linus, and the gang for the same old Thanksgiving dinner of buttered toast, jellybeans, and popcorn.  You do it every year.  And every year it’s dull as dishwater.  You decide to find a way to make this trip more exciting. Then it hits you:  what could be more exciting than driving 668 miles with a screaming cat in the car?

That’s right – this installment is all about Taking Your Pet With You (subtitle:  Great Idea or Medieval Form of Torture for You Both?)

Travel by Auto

Research rest stops and pet-friendly hotels along your route, if the drive is a long one. 

Stop every two hours to stretch, eat, and use the bathroom; it’s good for you and your pet.  This gets tricky if you’re traveling alone, because pets should not be left in cars in extreme temperatures.  So do you bring your pet with you into the restroom and use the handicapped stall for its roominess?  No one has ever told me what s/he does in this case.  If you have personal experience, please mention it in the Comments section.

Bring a sturdy harness and leash (this goes for cats, too) so you can exercise your pet at rest stops.

Identify your pet through ID tags and a microchip.  Add a cell phone number to the info, so you can be reached on the road if the worst should happen and your pet escapes.

Pack pet dishes, food and water, medications, and a favorite toy or blanket.

Remember to bring a litterbox for the cat and plastic bags to dispose of pet waste.

Also pack a crate if your crate-trained dog can’t sleep without one.

Transport your cat in a roomy hard-sided cat carrier.  Your cat should not be allowed to roam the car while you drive.  (For reference, see “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor.)

Invest in a canine seat belt/harness combo to protect your dog during the ride.

Use caution when tranquilizing a pet.  Some pets (especially cats) become more fractious when under the influence of tranquilizers.

Look into organic non-drug supplements to calm pets; many pet stores sell homeopathic remedies for anxiety and upset.

Make a copy of your pet’s vaccination records and any pertinent medical history and bring it along.

Crossing the border?  Canada and Mexico may require a health certificate and proof of Rabies vaccination, at the least.  Gather all necessary documents before you hit the road.

Information on bringing pets to Canada and Mexico can be found here.

Travel by Plane – Domestic Flight

You will need to bring:

Interstate Health Certificate*;

Proof of Rabies vaccination;

Crate or hard-sided carrier meeting airline size requirements, labeled with your contact information and a description of your pet;

Any needed medications in the original labeled vials;

ID tags;

Small supply of pet food for a long flight;

Any other item the airline requires.

*Hawaii also requires microchip ID, 2 Rabies vaccines and Rabies titer testing.  Pets that do not meet the qualifications are quarantined for 120 days.


Don’t bother with:

Tranquilizers – airlines today deny boarding to tranquilized pets due to the increased risk of death or injury.

Find out:

Whether your pet will fly in a climate-controlled bay;

Whether your pet will be left unattended at any time during a multi-leg flight.

For more on US state requirements for importing pets, click here.

Travel by Plane – International Flight

Contact the embassy or official website of your destination country to learn its import and quarantine regulations and to download travel forms.

Most items listed under Domestic Flight apply, with a few additions:

International Health Certificate, rather than Interstate Certificate;

Foreign-language Health Certificate, specific to the country to which your pet is traveling;

Microchip ID (bring a scanner if your pet’s chip cannot be universally scanned).

Some countries have highly specific and somewhat complicated terms for avoiding quarantine, including specific timing of Rabies vaccination and Rabies titer testing.

Some countries may also require proof of flea, tick, and tapeworm treatment prior to arrival.

Careful research and adequate preparation time will prevent your pet being quarantined or even denied entry at the border.

For more on bringing pets to foreign countries, click here.

Next:  Holiday Travel Series Part IV:  Vaccinations

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