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Packing and Preparing Pets for Travel by Car

It’s a good idea to follow a pre-trip checklist when traveling via auto with pets. This is a working example.

  1. Have your veterinarian examine the pet to ensure he or she is in good health.Make sure the pet receives any vaccinations due at that time. Discuss the need for a sedative or tranquilizer, and if the doctor recommends one, consider making a medicated trial travel run to observe the effects of the dosage.
  2. If traveling across state lines, you must obtain and keep accessible current health and rabies vaccination certificates, available from a veterinarian.
  3. Make sure your pet wears identification tags on a sturdy non-choke variety collar. There should be a rabies tag, as well as a tag with your phone number (one from which you can retrieve messages when traveling) and permanent address. Additionally, we recommend a Home Again implant, a computer chip that enables a scanner carried by most vets and animal shelters to identify your pet.
  4. Pack your pet’s food (feed lightly before travel) and water, food and water dishes, bedding, litter and box,waste disposal tools and bags, necessary medications and first aid kit.
  5. Make sure your pet is comfortable traveling in a carrier or using a pet harness by acclimating him or her to it in advance of the trip.A carrier should be well ventilated, four sided and opaque, have a secure door and latch and be large enough for the pet to sit, lie down and turn, and small enough to avoid tossing around in the event of an accident. Always secure the carrier in the car in a manner that will protect the pet in the event of an accident.
  6. Prepare an information card with pertinent identification information, including email addresses and secure it to the carrier.

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