Finding temporary housing for your pooch can be a stressful process — but with this checklist in hand, it doesn’t have to be.
Breaking away from the city for a few days? Sometimes, taking your pet along for the ride is impractical, and alternate accommodations must be arranged. Since the safety and happiness of your pooch is at stake, it’s important to carefully consider your options when seeking out a boarding facility.
Evaluating a Kennel
With such a wide variety of kennels to choose from in the city, it’s important to conduct a thorough evaluation to find the facility that will best suit your pet’s specific needs. To narrow down the list, consult your veterinarian and ask local dog owners for their input.
After researching your options, be sure to visit each kennel on your list. While touring, you’ll inevitably form a strong first impression of the kennel. Is it clean and well lit? Will your dog receive individual attention, or is the kennel overcrowded? Pay attention to the way the kennel is organized as well as the attitude of the staff and the general disposition of its canine lodgers.
Planning to bring your furry friend along for your next big adventure? Here’s what you should know before booking your flight.
As the holiday season kicks off, people will soon take to the skies in droves to visit far-flung loved ones. For many, a pet is as much a family member as a person, and you can bet that Lassie will be coming along for the cross-country holiday celebrations.
Flying with a pet requires careful planning, so if you’re bringing yours along for the ride, consider these precautionary steps before boarding the aircraft to ensure that both your pet and your fellow passengers are as comfortable as possible.
Routine Check Up
Before you take off, be sure to make a trip to the vet, who can ensure that your pet is healthy enough to travel and provide the necessary paperwork to confirm as much. Obtaining proper documentation from the vet can ease international travel significantly. Many countries have vaccination requirements, a full list of which can be found at the International Air Transport Association. Be sure to request a domestic or international travel certificate that lists the dog’s breed, country of origin and full vaccination history before you go.
Finally, if you know your pet experiences severe travel anxiety, consider the option of pre-flight sedation. Of course, you should only administer sedatives with the vet’s approval. If your pet will have a positive reaction to the medicine, you’ll be able to determine the correct dosage with your vet’s assistance.
Each major airline has its own specific guidelines for transporting pets. Pet owners must take numerous factors into consideration, from dog breed and size to whether the plane is already at pet “capacity.” That’s right — planes can only hold a certain number of dogs at a time, so ensure that yours makes the cut by planning for your trip well in advance. American Airlines only allows seven dogs per flight, and JetBlue caps the number of total canine and feline passengers at four.
Experts recommend that pet owners book their tickets as early as possible to secure seats in the cabin for themselves and their pets. In addition, watch out for airline fees, which can vary depending on whether your pet is traveling as checked baggage or carry-on cargo. Most flights charge about $125 for pets in the cabin, but prices for checked cargo can climb up to $250 each way. With this in mind, it’s best to book direct flights to avoid multiple fees — not to mention the discomfort of multiple takeoffs and landings for your pooch.
Price aside, which is the optimal mode of pet transportation: carry-on or cargo?
One option is storing your pet in the under-seat carriers provided by many airlines. However, these are limited in size. If your pet is too large for a carrier, you can opt to transport your pet in the plane’s cargo hold — but it might not be an easy trip. Cargo conditions, which are subject to very hot and cool temperatures, can make an already taxing situation more stressful for you and your pet. So if your pet is compact enough to fit, you should try to bring him into the cabin with you.
One last thing to consider: airlines generally recommend that snub-nosed pet breeds, like pugs and Persian cats, avoid flying altogether. With their delicate and compressed respiratory systems, these pets are especially sensitive to cabin pressure changes, meaning that flying could be harmful to their health.
Know Your Pet
As the owner, you know your pet’s personality better than anyone. Some dogs and cats may take to the air like seasoned travelers. Others may be thrown off by a new routine, and find the experience too stressful. Only you, the pet parent, can make that final determination.
As a test run, animal expert Cesar Millan recommends putting your pet in an airline carrier and going for a drive to mimic in-flight conditions on the ground. He also suggests applying an “association scent” to your hands when you take your dog for a walk or at feeding time — for example, you might try lavender oil. Use the scent again on the plane, and your pet will develop a positive association with air travel.
Another tip? Take your pet for a long walk before heading to the airport. That way, your pet will be tired and use the flight as an opportunity to nap.
If you decide to forego the hassle and leave your pet at home, consider the dog and cat boarding services at University Animal Hospital in New York City. We offer 24-hour vet supervision, multiple walks per day, and additional outdoor play time in our cage-free area. We’ll take attentive care of your pet while you’re away, allowing you peace of mind as you enjoy the holiday festivities.
If you have ever traveled with your cat or dog you must know that it isn’t the easiest endeavor. Besides finding an airline that is pet friendly there is often paperwork and several hoops that must be jumped through that are necessary in order to board the plane without issue. If you are flying internationally then there’s a whole assortment of steps you have to take in order to cover your bases. If you have not traveled with your pet before then hopefully these dog and cat traveling tips will prepare you for any potential issues that can arise.
The first thing to consider is if it is worth the effort to take your pet on your trip with you. Factor in the length of your trip and what will be required in order to bring your fuzzy child along. Most importantly consider the effect it will have on your pet. Does he/she travel well? Will the three days apart be easier than going through all the motions? If it’s a long trip maybe it would be worth it to bring them along for the adventure.
If you’re traveling domestically with your pet you should immediately contact your airline and ask what their specific requirements are. Most often the airline has rules specific to them. Almost every major airline will require a domestic health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, that states that your pet has been examined within a certain period (usually 30 days) and is fit for travel.
Many of them require your pet be in a certain sized carrier. They have to be certain that your pet, in the carrier, will fit under the seat. I learned the hard way that the size of this space can alter depending on the size of the plane your flight is scheduled for. I spent at least an hour on the phone with Delta Airlines customer care team having my flight changed to ensure that the plane I would be flying on would have the appropriate sized space under the seat to fit my cat (Maggie Rooneymara Nilbog-Ackerman IV) in her carrier.
Should I get my pet micro-chipped before I travel?
Consider the possibility that your pet could be lost at some point during your trip and make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your contact information (address and phone number) clearly visible. It’s also a very good idea to have a microchip implanted into your pet (if you haven’t already) which can help locate your pet if he/she is lost at any point during your trip. It’s a quick injection, non-invasive, that can be done when your pet is awake.
If your pet is a nervous traveler discuss with your veterinarian any supplements or medications they might suggest to help keep your pet calm during travel. There are calming supplements that can help your pet without actually having to medicate them. In some cases your pet might need a sedative but this should always be something you discuss with your veterinarian first. Do not attempt to administer medications without discussing with your vet beforehand.
Pack some water if it’s a long flight. You don’t want your dog or cat to get dehydrated. A few treats to reward good behavior couldn’t hurt either. A chew toy or something to keep him or her distracted is always helpful. Don’t forget to pack a leash, some toys, extra water/food bowls, poopy bags, any necessary medications, etc.
If you’re staying at a hotel make sure it is a pet-friendly establishment. A little bit of research goes a long way and you’d rather have things set up in advance than be scrambling to figure them out in a crisis.
Remember that emergencies can happen so it’s also very important to do some research on emergency veterinary hospitals where you’ll be staying just in case your pet begins experiencing symptoms of illness. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s medical history on hand for this very reason. Save it to your e-mail as a PDF file so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.
How hard is it to traveling internationally?
If you are traveling internationally things get a little more complicated. The rules for international travel are not standard. They vary from country to country and change on a semi-regular basis. In almost every case you will need an international health certificate issued by a USDA certified veterinarian that proves your pet was examined and found fit for travel. Most often this needs to be done within ten days of arrival in your destination country. The vets at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified and fully capable of filling out any documentation required to travel. They are familiar with paperwork necessary and can inform you what you’ll need when trying to get into the country of your destination.
If you are planning on traveling with your pet set up an appointment with one of our doctors to get the process moving and to answer any questions you might have. Let them handle the details and the nightmare of paperwork so you can focus on your trip and the fun things you plan to do, with your dog or cat in tow.
So you have plans to travel to another country with your pet. You looked up the information but it seems confusing and complicated. Depending on where you plan to travel there are specific requirements and they’re all time-sensitive and overly specific. You’re feeling anxious because it seems like there are too many steps and you aren’t sure if you’ve completed them all.
At this moment you’re probably thinking “Great! He’s going to tell us exactly what we need to do! We should buy him a present!”
You can lower your enthusiasm a tiny bit because this entry is not going to give you a breakdown of the exact protocol and procedure for traveling out of the country with your pet. You can feel free to still get me a present, though. I like presents.
“Why!? Why wouldn’t you want to tell us this information and just be done with it? Our tickets are booked and we just need some answers! Fluffy wants to see the Eiffel Tower! There’s no way you’re getting a gift now! We’d sooner toss it in the trash!”
Okay, that seems a little excessive. I like gifts. I’d love nothing more than to help you with this situation but the reason I can’t give you a simple list is because such a thing doesn’t really exist. Unfortunately pet travel is not simple.
The fact of the matter is that pet travel (out of the country, at least) is complicated. In order to fly outside of the country with your pet you aren’t so much following protocol from the USA — you’re following the protocol of the country you’re flying into. This means that different countries have different requirements. In some cases your pet might need to have seen a vet within ten days of arrival at your destination. In some cases it’s three days.
Some countries require proof of de-worming at a certain point before travel. Other countries require your pet have a microchip implanted within a specific time-frame prior to your trip. There’s no easy answer for exactly what you’ll need but when you come in for an appointment to get your certificate the doctors will make sure everything you need to travel is in order. What I can guarantee is that in almost every situation you will require an international health certificate. That much I do know. So haul that present out of the garbage and send it on over.
The USDA maintains an online database for each country which breaks down specific requirements and provides the exact paperwork for that nation. Even these documents and requirements can change from time to time as individual countries update their standards, etc. The paperwork is essentially a legal document stating that a USDA accredited veterinarian examined your pet on a specific day and has deemed them fit for travel. All of our staff veterinarians are USDA accredited and are highly experienced filling out these forms. They know how to make the process as simple and stress free as possible for you.
Our vets can handle all of this
I realize it’s a daunting task reading up on all the requirements and it can seem overwhelming. That is why our vets are here. Let them do all the work. These papers seem complicated and overly specific but our vets are used to filling them out and know what is required for wherever you are traveling to. We will find the necessary paperwork and handle everything we can