If you’re a healthcare traveler and you have a pet, chances are you’d love to bring your pet with you on your travel assignments. The thought of leaving your pet at home may bring you a great deal of anxiety. Good news is that many short-term housing companies allow traveling healthcare providers to travel with pets.
With that in mind, there are some tips to make traveling with pets as easy as possible. Granted, if you’re traveling within a short distance, it may be an easy task, but traveling across long distances can bring along some challenges. However, with proper planning and preparation, you’ll ensure the comfort of your pet during the journey and the temporary stay.
Traveling with pets by air
If you must fly to your allied travel job, research and observe flight restrictions. Some flights may not allow more than one pet, so if you’re traveling with more than one, check with the airline. Be sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations, as you don’t want him or her to be susceptible to illness while traveling with pets. Most airlines will require a time sensitive health report from a licensed veterinarian. There are also kennel restrictions and some breed type restrictions. If you check your airline’s website, you’ll find all the information you need to know what is expected of you and your pet for travel.
- Book Direct Flights: Minimize the risk of delays or mishandling by opting for direct flights whenever possible.
- Schedule a Pre-Trip Vet Visit: Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian.
- Invest in a USDA-Approved Shipping Crate: Choose a crate that allows your pet to move comfortably and line it with absorbent bedding. View Airline approved carriers on Amazon
- Proper Identification: Clearly mark the crate with “Live Animal” and your contact information, including a photo of your pet.
- Communicate with Airline Staff: Inform every airline employee you encounter that you’re traveling with a pet in the cargo hold.
Traveling with pets by road
Traveling with pets can be a wonderful experience, allowing you to share adventures and create lasting memories with your furry friends. However, it’s crucial to plan and prepare carefully to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and stress-free journey for both you and your pet. Here are some essential tips for a successful road trip with your beloved companion:
- Gradual Acclimatization: Accustom your pet to car rides by taking them on short drives before the actual trip.
- Carry Rabies Vaccination Record: Bring your pet’s rabies vaccination record when crossing state lines.
- Secure Crates or Carriers: Use a well-ventilated crate or carrier that fits your pet comfortably and secure it to prevent shifting.
- Pet Travel Kit: Pack essential items like food, bowls, a leash, waste bags, grooming supplies, medication, and travel documents.
- Hydration and Meal Schedule: Provide ample water and avoid feeding your pet while the car is in motion.
- Never Leave Your Pet Unattended: Never leave your pet alone in a parked car, regardless of the weather conditions.
Before embarking on your travel assignment, ensure your pet is comfortable and acclimated to car rides. Take them on short drives around the neighborhood, gradually increasing the duration to get them used to being in the vehicle. Familiarize them with the car travel kit, including their food and water bowls, toys, and bedding.
Bring plenty of food
Whether flying or driving, pack enough food and drink for your pet. Pet bowls, medication, bedding, and toys should also be packed. Some pets will lose their appetite during a trip, but will get back to their hungry selves in no time once you’re settled.
Safety is paramount when traveling with pets. Secure your pet in a crate or carrier that is appropriately sized for their comfort and movement. This will prevent them from roaming around the car, which can be distracting and dangerous for the driver. Alternatively, consider using a pet-friendly car harness that attaches to the seatbelt.
Comfort and entertainment
Make your pet feel comfortable and engaged during the journey. Bring along their favorite toys, bedding, or a blanket to provide them with a sense of familiarity and security. Consider packing some interactive toys, such as puzzle feeders or snuffle mats, to keep them occupied and mentally stimulated.
Rest stops and hydration
Regular rest stops are essential for both you and your pet. Take breaks every few hours to allow your pet to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and enjoy some fresh air. Provide them with ample water throughout the trip, even if they don’t seem thirsty. Avoid feeding them large meals before or during the car ride to prevent car sickness.
When choosing accommodations for your road trip, consider pet-friendly options. Many hotels, motels, and vacation rentals welcome pets with open arms. Make sure to book in advance and inquire about any pet policies or restrictions.
Enjoy the journey
Relax and enjoy the journey with your furry companion. Road trips offer a unique opportunity to bond with your pet and create unforgettable memories. Take time to explore new places together, go for walks, and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Here are some additional tips for traveling with pets, applicable to any mode of transportation
Moving to a new location, even if it’s temporary, allows for an opportunity for your pet to go stolen or get lost. This could happen during travel time or while you’re residing in your temporary home. You may want to consider microchipping your pet to ensure that you can find him or her if this occurs.
If you do microchip your pet, ensure the chip company receives all registration papers and details. This process ensures that if the pet is lost or stolen, the company can track it back for you. It acts like an insurance policy. Then the pet can be tagged to provide a means of identification. The ID tag should have a phone number and an alternative address that can be used in case your pet is lost.
Choose pet-friendly temporary housing
Think about the housing arrangement with your pet in mind. Dogs will require a bit of room to run around outside. You may want to choose a place that is convenient to taking your dog outside. After all, you won’t want to feel like trudging down five floors at 5am to take Rufus out to use the bathroom. Cats are not as needy, but they may like such features like a balcony to soak up the sun.
Consider a pet sitter
If you’re going to be at work long hours, consider hiring a pet sitter to take your dog out for a bathroom break while you’re at work. Cats don’t usually require pet sitting, unless you will be out for more than a day. Check reputable pet sitting companies and always do a trial basis before making a firm commitment to a person or company.
Give extra love
Travel jobs can upset pets momentarily. When they’re not in their normal environment, it can cause them some stress. Give them extra attention and love to assure them that everything’s alright. When your pet feels that you’re alright (and many times they can tell), he or she will feel less anxiety and more at peace.
Healthcare traveling is certainly an exciting and rewarding career, and it’s even better when you can have your furry friends pack up and go with you. If you’re ready to embark on a travel assignment with your pet, keep these tips in mind. You’ll not only save on fees for a pet sitter or kennel, but you’ll also be able to stay connected with your lovable pets while you’re on assignment.
Traveling with pets additional resources:
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) tips for traveling with pets
- US Department of Transportation tips for traveling with pets by air
- Federal Aviation Administration tips for flying with pets
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) traveling with pets FAQs
- Amazon: Airline approved pet carriers
- Amazon: Pet travel bags, travel food containers
- Amazon: Dog seat protectors for car
- Amazon: Pet car seats