Summer travel season is here, and If you’re planning a trip with your pet, you’ve probably already started making mental lists of all the things you need to do to prepare. Our team at Burlington Veterinary Center knows how stressful it can be to plan for a trip—especially one that includes a four-legged family member—and we want to help you simplify the process. We’ve put together some do’s and don’t to ensure you and your pet enjoy a stress-free travel experience. 

DO schedule a veterinary appointment prior to travel

Before your trip, schedule a pre-travel veterinary appointment to ensure your pet is healthy enough for travel and current on their vaccinations. For plane travel, you also will need to request a health certificate for your pet that is signed by your veterinarian no more than 10 days before your travel date. If you know your pet is an anxious traveler or suffers from motion sickness, your veterinarian can recommend supplements or medication to keep them comfortable.

DON’T wait until the last minute to practice traveling with your pet

Pets are creatures of habit, and traveling is far beyond the realm of their daily routine. Ease your pet into the journey by taking them on frequent trips in the car before you actually head out on vacation, and slowly lengthen the duration of the trip each time.

DO keep your pet secured during travel

The safest place for your pet to be in a moving car is in a crate in the back seat. An unrestrained pet can be a distraction to the driver, and airbags can injure them if they are sitting in the front seat when it deploys. Ensure your pet is comfortable traveling in a crate, and keep their crate secure while the car is in motion. Your pet’s crate should be large enough to allow them to stand up and turn around. 

DON’T forget your pet’s ID tags

There’s never a good time for a pet to go missing, but losing your furry companion while traveling is the worst-case scenario. You can increase the chances of a happy reunion by: 

  • Fitting your pet’s collar securely so they can’t slip away
  • Securing updated identification tags on your pet’s collar
  • Microchipping your pet
  • Ensuring the information on your pet’s identification tags and in the microchip database are current

DO plan potty breaks for your pet

Break up your travel and ensure your pet gets plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves and stretch their legs. On a road trip, plan to stop every two to three hours, and put your pet’s leash on before opening the car door to ensure they don’t get loose. 

DON’T rule out leaving your pet home

It’s normal to want your pet to come with you on family trips, but some pets would do better staying behind. Before you decide to travel with your pet, consider if their age, health, and temperament are conducive to traveling. If you decide not to bring your pet on your trip, you have plenty of options for pet care, including:

  • A family member or a trusted friend
  • An experienced dog sitter
  • An accredited boarding facility 

DO make a pet packing list

Planning is essential when traveling with a pet, and taking the time to create a packing list will ensure your furry companion has everything they need for a happy, safe, and comfortable trip. When creating your pet’s packing list, start with the basics and then move on to the special items that can help them feel more comfortable during the journey. The following items can help you get started:

  • Collar with current ID tags
  • Leash
  • Crate
  • Waste bags 
  • Food, water, and treats
  • Travel bowls
  • Medications 
  • Veterinary health documents
  • Bed
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Toys

Traveling with your pet takes some serious planning and preparation, but the time you get to spend together and the memories you create will make it all worth it. Before you and your pet hit the road—or sky—this summer, schedule an appointment with our Burlington Veterinary Center team, and let us help with all of their pre-travel needs.