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Traveling with Your Pet


 Traveling with your pet can be rewarding but challenging if not enough preparation has been made.  Planning will help your trip go smoother and should include acquiring any paperwork that is needed, consideration of the temperatures to be experienced and how to deal with them, and obtaining equipment that will make the trip easier.

It is a good idea to first consult with your veterinarian.  Make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations.  Ask your pet's doctor about the region to which you will be traveling and whether there are any diseases that require additional vaccines, i.e. Lyme or Lepto, or other measures, i.e. heartworm preventative.   It is important your pet have identification; make sure the tag on the collar is current and the printing is legible. Your veterinarian should also implant a microchip into your pet as a form of permanent identification because collars can be lost easily.

Whether traveling by car or plane, you will need to take the current rabies certificate, a list of all other vaccines, and the microchip number.  There is a law (rarely enforced), that any animal crossing a state line, by any means of transportation, needs a health certificate, with your veterinarian performing the exam within 30 days.  Airlines do require a health certificate; most ask the exam be performed within 10 days of the flight.  If your stay exceeds 10 days, you may need a second exam and health certificate for your return flight.

Not all airlines accept pets either in the cargo space or in the passenger section.  You will need to call and ask for a reservation.   If your pet will fit in a soft-sided crate that will fit under the seat ahead of you, it is better for your pet to travel in the passenger section.  If the airline does accept pets, they usually will take only two per plane in the passenger section and they require one person to be traveling for each pet, i.e., one person can't take two pets.

If your pet is flying in the cargo section, get a direct flight if possible, as the most critical time is not while flying, but at layovers.  If there is no direct flight, you should plan your routing considering the environmental temperature of the city and time of the layover.  For example, you should not plan a layover at 2pm in Phoenix, Arizona in July.  While we worry more about heat than cold, if you have a choice, you may not want to schedule a layover in Minneapolis in January.
It is recommended to not tranquilize your pet, especially if it is flying in the cargo section.  The pet needs to be able to react to its environment.  It needs to shiver if it is too cold, or pant if it is too hot.  More pets die as a result of being tranquilized during a flight than not.  

You should obtain a crate that is sturdy and made for airline travel.  The crate should have a towel or absorbent pad on the bottom.  It is better to not have any food in the crate, as eating may stimulate defecation.  A water source is a good idea, especially a water container that can't spill like a licker bottle.

If you are traveling to more exotic locations, such as Hawaii or another country, you will need to apply for special permits, and you may need to start planning as much as six months ahead of the trip.  The testing requirements and paperwork can be quite extensive.  You may want to contract with one of the pet moving companies.  

If you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to keep your pet in a crate or restrain them with a pet seat belt. It is dangerous for them to be loose in the car in the case of a sudden stop, and it is distracting for the driver. You will need to pack all their necessities: food, bowls, toys, plastic bags, and a good leash. Pets can easily escape from the car, so make sure the leash is attached before the car door is opened. A handy item to have is a travel water bowl that can be folded and easily carried. Some people find that their pet is sensitive to water from other sources and will take a large container of water with them.

 Traveling with your pet can be lots of fun as more and more facilities are becoming pet friendly.  Planning can help your trip proceed smoothly.  If you have any questions, your veterinarian can help you.

 

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The First Pet Airline!

A new company, Pet Airways, has started the first pet -only airline for dogs, cats and exotic animals.  Flights are between five major cities: New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.  The first flight is scheduled for July 14 from New York to Los Angeles.  Pet Airways hopes to expand to 25 continental cities in the next few years. A one -way flight costs around $149.  Pets are dropped off at a facility near the airport and are cared for in a reception area before boarding the plane.  The plane has seats for only the crew, and up to 50 secured traveling crates.  Pet attendants are with the pets at all times; pets are not allowed to roam about the plane.  Pet owners collect their pets from a lounge at the destination. Pet Airways states " You don't have to worry about missed flights or connections.  Someone will be with your pet at all times, until you are there to collect them." For more information, visit their website PetAirways.com.

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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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