Before taking a trip, schedule a visit to the vet.

If you love to travel but hate the idea of leaving your pet at home under the care of another person, take the dog or cat with you. Traveling isn’t as stress-free for animals as it is for humans, though, so it’s important to make sure your furry friend is healthy enough to manage any length of distance traveling. Scheduling a visit with the veterinarian prior to a trip identifies any health issues that could potentially be problematic for the animal.

The medical professional will clear your pet for travel. They will also let you know if there are certain vaccinations the cat or dog needs before taking off to another country as a travel companion. The vet will likely give tips on ways to prevent the animal from getting carsick while traveling by vehicle.

The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that some pets do not travel well due to “illness, injury, age or temperament.” If this applies to the animal in question, plan for someone else to care for them in your absence. It’s important to note that if you do get an “all clear” from the pet’s vet, the dog or cat may get sick or even become so frightened that they bolt out the door.

There are things that make the experience less stressful for pets that travel and their owners. Here are some suggestions for a smoother travel experience for humans and their canine and feline companions.

Make sure the pet has identification on his or her collar.

The pet’s name along with your name and phone number should be included on the tag. It’s important to also have current photographs of the dog or cat in the event you’re required to identify them because they have no collar on when found.

Have the pet microchipped and registered if you haven’t done so already.

This is among the safest and surest ways to be reunited with the pet if they get lost while traveling. When the microchip is scanned, contact information comes up in the database and alerts the person who has the animal to who the pet belongs to. It’s easier to contact you if the animal’s tags have been removed or fallen off their collars.

Stay on top of product recalls from the pet industry to make sure you aren’t feeding the dog or cat tainted food or treats.

Use the Petrics app to monitor the safety of the brands fed to the dog or cat while on the go. Available to download onto a smartphone or tablet, the app provides its users with up-to-date information about pet food and treat recalls in real time. It’s also a great way to look up ingredients if the pet’s normal food isn’t available at the destination you’re traveling to.

Expect the best but plan for the worst when traveling with pets. It beats leaving the dog or cat at home with a caregiver. Many accommodations and businesses welcome well-behaved animals, too, so it can be an adventure of a lifetime for the entire family.

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