Animal Planet host weighs in on pet travel: Trip preparation and packing

Animal Planet host weighs in on pet travel: Trip preparation and packing

Photo by Christina Spicuzza  CC BY-SA

Just like researching documents in advance is a wise decision making a list of what to pack early on can save pet owners a lot of headaches and grief. “If you are scrambling the night before a trip- running to the pet store and trying to grab as many items as you can it’s probably not the best idea- especially if you are flying,” Animal Planet host Dan Schachner explained during May 6 interview.

As previously mentioned pets may need certain medications while travelling and being sure these meds can enter the country is highly important. It is also important to make sure you have enough meds to get your pet through the trip. Other general upkeep items may be required such as nail clippers, brushes, dental care items, ear cleansers and grooming supplies. Any liquids may be regulated by border security and may not be allowed on aeroplanes in certain quantities. An emergency first-aid kit is always a good idea for any travelling pet.

Pet food and treats made in Canada coming into the US are allowed but are subject to certain restrictions when crossing the border. “If your pet food is made in Canada and it’s in a sealed bag and you declared it in customs as ‘pet food’ it will be allowed into the United States,” reassured Schachner. “On the reverse side, if you’re travelling out of your country whether it be out of Canada or the US just do your research with that particular country and make sure what restrictions- if any- they would have on both your pets and the food for those pets before you travel.”

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, some of the limitations Canadians face bringing pet food and treats into the US include restrictions against pet food containing lamb, sheep or goat meat. Like Schachner said the bag must be unopened and properly labelled- including a marking that states the country the food was made in. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) should have all information in its policy on importing pet food and pet owners are encouraged to call with questions.

Photo by smerikal  CC BY-SA

Schachner also recommends packing “items from home that are familiar” to your pet. This includes their food, favourite toys that smell like home and treats. You are also going to need poop bags or kitty litter and a leash and collar or harness for a cat. “If they do get stressed out or they do get an anxious look into calming soft chews and other types of treats that might have some natural ways of calming them down during a flight,” Schachner said. Calming supplements and tools should be tested in advance to make sure that they are effective. If natural alternatives are not effective contact your veterinarian for information about whether a prescription mild sedative would be ideal for your pet.

Your pet will be spending time in confinement while travelling so it is important that the pet has room to stand up and turn around comfortably while inside the carrier or crate. The carrier or crate should be able to be secured in place and should be well ventilated. Make sure you have the proper supplies to give your pet food and water inside the crate- many airlines will have specific requirements for food and drinking dish for pets in cargo.

“Knowing where to go and what to do before you leave can make your trip extra special for the whole family!"

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