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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Safety

Must-have safety item when traveling with pets

Most owners will pack food, treats, toys and a leash when preparing to travel with their pet, but many will overlook the most important item needed to prepare for a safe trip with your dog or cat because it cannot be tucked into handy, little bag.

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This simple item, or actually task, that can be so crucial to the safety and well-being of your pet when traveling is a visit to the veterinarian before you embark on your journey, an animal welfare official says.

Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for Veterinary Pet Insurance, advises owners to talk with their veterinarian to determine if a pet may need special preventative medical treatment for diseases specific to the travel destination.

It is also critical to ask your veterinarian about unique exposures at your travel destination (such as mosquitoes and/or ticks), and inquire if preventive medication is appropriate for your pet,” Dr. McConnell states in a media release.

Owners should make sure their pet's vaccinations are up to date and receives a clean bill of health before traveling, Dr. McConnell said. “Traveling with pets by air requires specific attention because airlines will require a formal health certificate from your veterinarian.”

Your veterinarian can also help you determine if your pet's personality is suitable for travel and adaptable to unfamiliar surroundings, Dr. McConnell said.

Some 30 million people travel with their pets each year, according to the Travel Industry Association of America, and VPI offers these tips to those who plan to bring their pets along on vacation:
  • Make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times in case it becomes separated or lost. Verify that your pet’s ID tag is up-to-date, durable, legible and includes your mobile phone number. 
  • Pack a recent photo of your pet along with current vaccination records. If your pet becomes lost, having a current photograph will make the search easier. 
  • Pack enough food to safeguard against travel delays. 
  • Make reservation with a pet-friendly hotel. 
Related reports about dogs and travel:
  • Take early morning or late evening flights to avoid temperature extremes that may affect your pet. 
  • Look up the phone number, hours and driving distance of a veterinary hospital near your destination, so you will be prepared if your pet has a medical emergency.
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