Your Pet Deserves a Safe and Healthy Trip
For many people, traveling with a favorite four-legged companion makes a family vacation complete. In Missouri, many events, attractions and lodgings welcome pets. However, before you travel with animals, you should personally verify whether pets are welcome at the stops you plan to make.
Dr. Greg Boyer, veterinarian and owner of Animal Medical Center in Jefferson City, says there are many tips people should follow to help keep their pets safe while traveling. First and foremost, Boyer says, pets should never be left inside a vehicle – even for a short time.
“It doesn’t matter if you crack a window or it’s ‘just for five minutes,’” Boyer says. “You cannot leave them inside a vehicle.”
Boyer says pet owners also should take precautions to protect animals from contagious diseases; different areas have organisms that could affect your animal, even if that organism isn’t found near your home. Protecting pets with flea and tick products, along with heartworm preventative, also top Dr. Boyer’s “must” list.
Among Boyer’s other recommendations:
• Carry a copy of your pet’s vaccination records. If the animal is on special medications, pack more of those medications than you think you’ll need.
• If your pet has a complex condition, carry a copy of its medical records, just in case you have to stop for treatment.
• If flying to Missouri, make sure your pet’s health papers are in order and be sure to check airline regulations on traveling with pets.
• Plan appropriate breaks and secure your pet with two leashes; Boyer recommends both a slip leash and another secured to the animal’s collar.
• Traveling with a cat? Place a small litter box in a pet taxi/dog crate. Boyer also says all animals are much safer statistically if they travel inside of a pet carrier of some kind, as opposed to roaming free in a vehicle.
• Traveling with horses? Missouri requires a Coggins Test for equine guests.
• Keep a gallon of water in your vehicle and take more food than you anticipate needing. Additionally, take the same kind of food your pet eats at home; the region to which you’re traveling may not have the brand your pet prefers.
Find more information about traveling with pets, call the Missouri Division of Animal Health: 573-751-4359.