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Tips for traveling with your pet

Celebrate the holidays with your best friend.
Photo courtesy of POND5

Washington, DC (WUSA9) — The busiest travel season of the year is upon us with the holidays. Since our pets are members of the family too, it's great to bring them along for the celebration. Whether you're flying or going on a road trip, Friendship Hospital for Animals has tips to keep your furry friends safe.

  1. Make an appointment with your vet. This is especially important if you're flying with your pet. Check that the vaccinations are up to date, and get a health certificate dated within 10 days of your flight. Your veterinarian may have tips on how to keep your pet calm while traveling as well.
  2. Buy the proper kennel or crate. Depending on your pet's breed and size, they'll either fly with you as a carry-on item, or be checked and kept in the cargo hold. For pets you can carry on, make sure they stay in the kennel placed under the seat in front of you. The kennel should be roomy enough for the pet to be able to stand and move around. For checked pets, you'll need a USDA-approved shipping crate. It also should be roomy and lined with paper to absorb accidents. Make sure your pet has his tags and the crate is labeled properly.
  3. Build up tolerance for a long drive. If you're driving long distance instead of flying, prepare your pet in advance. Take him on a series of drives beforehand to get used to the feeling. If you're traveling across state lines, make sure you have the rabies vaccination record handy.
  4. Pack a travel car kit. Just as you'd pack plenty of snacks and drinks for your family for a long drive, pack supplies for your pet. Bring food, a bowl, and bottled water. Water from a rest area could upset your pet's stomach. Avoid feeding them while the car is moving. Include a favorite toy or pillow to make your pet as comfortable as possible, and don't forget the first-aid kit.

This article is sponsored by Friendship Hospital for Animals. Additional information provided by the ASPCA.

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