Before hitting the road with your favorite travel partner we thought a quick best practices travel checklist would make the trip more enjoyable for you and your pets. Here are some helpful travel tips from our friends at the American Humane Association. These travel tips can help ensure that your travels year-round, are safe and enjoyable for people and their pets.

  1. Properly identify pets with ID tags and microchips — Make sure your pets have ID and current rabies tags and are microchipped. To be extra cautious, give your pets an additional tag with the address and phone number of where you will be staying for the duration of the trip, in case they get lost after you arrive.
  2. Train pets to travel in their crates — Whether you’re heading to your holidaydestination by plane, train or automobile, getting your pets used to their crates will make the entire traveling experience less stressful. Even when away from home, pets still view their crates as a safe haven from stressful situations.
  3. With a crate, size does matter — Crates should be large enough for pets to stand and turn around in comfortably. Remember to keep water inside the crate or allow for breaks every three hours so that your pets can drink and stretch.
  4. Never leave your pets unattended — Just as you would never leave a child unattended, never leave your pets alone in a car.
  5. Be prepared — Take your pets’ health records with you, just in case they need to see a veterinarian during your trip. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if she recommends heartworm prevention or treatment for fleas or ticks for the area in which you are traveling. Keep pet dishes in your car, as well as extra water and pet food, in case of car trouble or bad weather.
  6. To fly or not to fly — As a rule, puppies and kittens, sick animals, animals in heat, and frail or pregnant animals should not travel by air. If a pet is too large to fly in the cabin with you, perhaps a stay at a boarding kennel would be a safer choice. You should also plan ahead because many airlines have restrictions regarding pets, and your pets may need a health certificate to fly.
  7. Visit your veterinarian — Your vet may prescribe a sedative to help reduce your pet’s stress level while traveling. However, sedatives are not always safe for pets so be sure to give your vet the details of how your pet will be traveling and how long the trip will take.
  8. Boarding is an option — If your pets are too large to fly in the cabin with you, or if a long car ride might be too stressful for them, boarding your pets at a kennel may be a safer choice. Or you could hire a licensed pet sitter to take care of your pets in the comfort of your own home.
  9. Try to keep pets on the same “schedule” — Stop when you would normally let your pets out at home and at feeding times.
  10. Plan lodging ahead — Research your route, make reservations and carry a list of pet-friendly lodging along the way. Also, ask for a room on the ground floor so it is easier to walk your pets. Don’t let your pets stay in the car.

To support the American Humane Association and 2012 Hero Dog Awards be sure to order your Hero Dog Award t-shirt on 100% of the retail profit is donated directly to the AHA.