Have Paws Will Travel


In today’s day and age our four-legged friends have become more and more an intracule part of the family.  Whether it is in an empty nester household or maybe the single or coupled home or your average husband, wife and 1.5 kids they all seem to have a soft spot in their hearts to care for something warm and fuzzy.

As a member of the “Family” many times they accompany us on our travels, vacations and errands.  However, unlike other members of the family their communication skills are limited.  So as care takers it falls on us to be aware of what their needs are beforehand.    Below find a list of top ten things you need to know when traveling with your pets.

  • Never leave your pet in the car unattended, even with the windows cracked open, whether it’s hot or cold temperatures inside the vehicle can change rapidly and can be deadly.
  • Holding your pet on your lap while driving may make you feel good but it hinders your ability to react to unforeseen situations, limiting you steering, braking and vehicle control. And in many areas, it is against the law.
  • Always keep them on their leash when you open your door, being in a strange place once out of the car they may feel the need to head for home, or head out into that busy parking lot or street.
  • The U. S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Animal Welfare Act, and requires that dogs have all current vaccinations and a valid Health Certificate when crossing state lines. (for more information go to aphis.usda.gov/pet travel).
  • If your planning on staying in a Motel while on the road check ahead to see if their lodging is “pet friendly” and what their policy and charges are.
  • Always bring enough food, water and treats for the trip, remember the food and water dishes, and don’t forget the poop bags.
  • When traveling be sure you make enough pit stops so they can relieve themselves.
  • Be sure your pets ID tags, the chip or their tattoos are up to date with your current contact information.
  • A favorite toy and blanket will also help keep their stress level down,
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association it is not recommended to give sedatives or tranquilizers to dogs as it may cause respiratory and/or cardiovascular problems.

Taking your pet on an airplane brings up a whole new set of travel situations.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture( www.aphis.usda.gov ) regulates the air transportation of pets, along with the FAA (www.faa.gov) and airlines are required by law to follow their guide lines. Although the commercial Air Lines are allowed to expand on those regulations to accommodate the Companies policies and regulations.   Always check your Air Lines web site before booking your flight to see what their specific policies and regulations are, as well as any additional charges.  Most have weight and size limits for in cabin transportation of your pet, plus the size and type of carrier required.

State to State (Interstate) travel – if you are on vacation or traveling through States to get to your final destination the requirements laid out by the Department of Agriculture (USDA.GOV/aphis/pet travel) are pretty straight forward, have all your pet’s vaccinations up to date and obtain a health certificate from your vet.

Traveling with your four-legged family member is both challenging and rewarding, but sometimes the thought of leaving him or her with a friend or checking them into a doggy day care for any length of time is just not an option.  So, by doing a little homework and preparation you should be good to go.  And don’t you just love to see the smile on your pet’s face when you say, “let’s go by by.”