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Traveling With Your Companion Animal

As more stores, hotels, and vacation destinations become pet-friendly, traveling with a companion animal is becoming more common than ever. However you travel – there are steps you must take to keep your animal safe.

Before You Leave Home

Whether you expect to be at your destination in five minutes or five days, consider whether or not you will be able to take your

companion animal with you. If your animal is bound to spend most of a vacation crated alone in a hotel room, or even worse, unattended in a car while you shop, leaving the animal at home or with a sitter is likely the best option. For long trips, pack a “go bag” for your animal that includes bottled water, bowls, an air-tight container holding a food supply, a leash, waste bags, treats, and any medication your animal needs. Always make sure your animal is traveling with a collar and ID tag naming you as the owner with your current phone number.

Vehicle Travel

Always make sure your companion animal is secure in a crate or fastened into a suitable seat belt while traveling, and never allow an animal to roam around a moving vehicle. Not only can roaming pets be distracting to drivers, a sudden stop or collision at 60 miles per hour could send a 30-pound dog through a windshield. In New Jersey , drivers can be pulled over for failing to restrain companion animals.

  • Never leave an animal in a car on a warm day. Temperatures inside a car can soar to 150 degrees in a matter of minutes, even when the outside temperature is a breezy 73 degrees. Rolling down the windows or parking in the shade is not sufficient to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
    Drivers who leave animals unattended in vehicles during warm weather may also be subject to citation by law enforcement.
  • If your vehicle has airbags, do not allow your companion animal to ride in the front seat. Just as children can be injured or killed by deployed airbags, so can animals. The safest place for your companion animal is in the back seat.
  • If your animal is prone to car-sicknesses, your veterinarian can suggest medicines that may help.

Travel by Air

  • If you must fly with your companion animal, transport the animal as carry-on.
  • Consult with your veterinarian prior to travel, and have the animal’s proof of rabies vaccination handy.
  •  When traveling abroad, be aware of required quarantine periods for animals arriving from a foreign country.
  • Call the airline to obtain the exact specifications of airline-approved animal carriers, and make sure the carrier you use conforms to those specifications.
  •  Your animal will be subject to inspection by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Have a leash handy in case you are asked to remove the animal from his or her crate.

Hotels, Motels, and Resorts

  • Many travel websites allow you to use a search filter to view only pet-friendly accommodations.
  • Even pet-friendly accommodations may place restrictions on rooms you can book and areas in the hotel where animals are welcome.
  • Always clean up after your animal when traveling.
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