Traveling with pets: tips to keep them safe

Hotels and resorts are becoming more pet-friendly, and more people are traveling with their pets. In fact, today 37 percent of pet owners take their animals along when they travel. That’s up from 19 percent just a decade ago, and there’s no sign that this trend is going to slow down.1

Traveling with a pet can be fun, but it requires taking precautions to ensure that both you and your pet stay safe. Here are some ways to keep your animal friend secure when you’re traveling.

Protecting your pets on the road

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), car travel is by far the most common and easiest form of travel for pets.2 Two of the big advantages of traveling by car are that you can take bathroom breaks when needed and you always know where your pet is.

Here are a few things to consider:

Whether canine or feline (though dogs generally travel better than cats), be sure to crate your pet while you travel, and make sure they are wearing a collar with ID tags.

Place crates in the back seat and secure them properly. Make sure your pet can get plenty of air and that they are out of direct sunlight. (Consider covering your crate with a sunshade.)

For pets who don’t do well in crates, try a harness that attaches to a seat belt to secure your pet in case of sudden stops.

Finally, don’t let your pup hang out of the car window, and never leave them alone in the car during a pit stop.

My wife, Amy, and I have two dogs – Gus, an Irish setter, and Junebug, a Pomeranian. We consider them members of our family. We take them with us whenever we can, and they love it.

— Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Flying the pet-friendly skies

Airline travel with pets is becoming more common, although it still remains somewhat risky. If you do choose to travel by air with your pet, thoroughly research the airline’s pet policy and make sure you understand the risks.

Make sure you know your pet’s personality and have your veterinarian give a thorough checkup before choosing to fly.

Preparing for takeoff

The risk to pets is higher when they must travel in the cargo hold of a plane, in part because they may be loaded even if outside temperatures are too hot or too cold. If that’s your only option, your pet is likely better off staying at a boarding facility or with a sitter while you’re gone. Typically, only small pets can travel as carry-ons in the passenger cabin, and they are usually limits to how many pets can be accommodated on a flight. Check with your airline to reserve a spot.

Flying can be risky, especially dangerous for brachycephalic pets, or animals with flatter faces like Persian cats or French bulldogs. They’re more susceptible to respiratory difficulties and may have difficulty getting air.

If you do choose to fly with your pet, you’ll need a health certificate issued by a veterinarian showing up-to-date vaccinations before you head for the airport. Avoid feeding for six hours before the flight. Make sure the animal is properly harnessed; your cat or dog will have to come out of the crate or carrier when going through security checks. You’ll also want to make sure to offer a bathroom break before going into the airport.

As soon as you arrive at your destination, offer your pet fresh drinking water — air travel can be dehydrating. Dehydration can be particularly dangerous for older dogs and puppies, so have the water bottle and bowl ready.

Regardless of how you travel, getting there safely is top priority. Make sure you’ve done your homework to ensure that your travels are as stress-free and enjoyable for both of you as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact your agent or Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions professional. For more information on how you can help prevent losses, visit nationwide.com/solutionseries.

 

1American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, 2017-2018: americanpetproducts.org/Uploads/MemServices/GPE2017_NPOS_Seminar.pdf
2American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): phz8.petinsurance.com/ownership-adoption/pet-ownership/travel-with-pets/top-5-pet-travel-tips

 

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