When preparing for a trip we often follow various checklists in order to plan for the most common contingencies. When traveling with pets, the same level of planning can save you from a great deal of stress, and save your pet unnecessary discomfort as well.
Before you travel with your pet,
- Take your pet to the veterinarian for a physical exam and update on all vaccines. Most vaccines are updated yearly.
- Tell your veterinarian where you plan on traveling. Your veterinarian may recommend specific medications or vaccines depending on your destination. For example, mosquitoes in many regions of the country (and North and South America) carry a heartworm parasite, which can cause heart disease in dogs. Giving a monthly medication during mosquito season can prevent heartworm infection. Your veterinarian may also recommend that your dog receive a vaccination against Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks in certain regions of the country.
- If you plan to cross an international border, request a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination from your veterinarian. Generally, health certificates must be signed within 30 days of travel.
- If your pet takes medication regularly, remember to get a supply that will carry you through the whole length of your trip. This same recommendation is true if your pet requires a special diet.
- Obtain a copy of your pet’s health and vaccination record. This information may be helpful if you have to visit a veterinarian while you are on the road. In addition, if you have to kennel your pet while you are on the road, you will need to provide proof of vaccination before most kennels will accept your pet.
- If your pet is not accustomed to travel, take it for a few short rides before setting out on a long trip.
- Update your pet’s identification information (tags). In addition, it is now possible to have your veterinarian implant a small microchip under your dog’s or cat’s skin. The information from the microchip is reported to a national registry that shelters can contact to reunite lost pets with their owners. Most shelters now routinely scan all pets for microchip identification when they first arrive.
– Guy Mulder, DVM, Director, University Laboratory Animal Resources, University of California, Irvine
In next week’s post I’ll complete this series, Traveling with Pets, by giving some final tips for you to use while on the road with your pet.
Enjoy your RVing!
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Whenever we travel with our pets, all of their health records, registrations, tags, etc are contained in one 3 ring binder. We have a signed vaccination record for each pet since some states (New York is one) require it for camping in State Parks.
On the front of the binder is a cover sheet with pictures of each of the pets, in our case dogs. This is helpful if they become lost and you need to describe them to people.
There are some regulations about taking pet food across the border to Canada. Check before you reach the border.