How to travel with pets

Making your pet’s trip safe and pleasant

Before along trip. have your pet examined by a veterinarian. Make sure that its shots are current. Ask the veterinarian for a certificate of good health and proof of vaccinations; carry the papers with you. If you’re going to a foreign country, consult its national airline or nearest consulate about animal health requirements.

Check accommodation guides for places that accept pets; reserve early. Put an identification tag on your pet’s collar; for an extended trip, the tag should bear the name, address, and phone number of a friend or relative who can be reached easily while you are away. Prepare a travel kit containing a thermos for water, a water bowl and a feeding dish, food, a leash, flea spray, a brush, a blanket, and a toy.

Transport small dogs and all cats in a comfortable, well-ventilated pet carrier. If you’re traveling by car, strap the carrier securely to the back seat; confine a large dog to the rear of the car with a metal grille sold at pet shops.

Taking your pet regularly on short rides several weeks before a long car trip may help it overcome motion sickness. If it doesn’t, ask your veterinarian about a tranquilizer.

Don’t feed your pet for several hours before departure (3 hours for cats and puppies; 6 hours for dogs; longer if the animal tends to get car sick). During the trip, provide cool water as needed. Exercise a dog frequently on a leash. Don’t let a dog put its head out of a car window; flying particles can seriously injure an eye. At your destination, wait at least an hour before feeding your pet. Keep it leashed or in the carrier, away from other animals.

Traveling by air

Because cabin space for pets is limited and airline policies vary, inquire and book early. Otherwise, your pet may have to go as excess baggage on your flight or, as a last resort, as air freight on another flight. Don’t ship your pet in very hot or very cold weather. Most trains and buses don’t accept pets.