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December 1, 2018


Plan Ahead
Before you start the car or board the plane, make sure your pet has a wellness check-up and their vaccines are up to date. Traveling with a sick pet or exposing them to other pets who may be ill, is dangerous and could definitely ruin a family vacation. Planning your pet’s travel is no different than planning your own. Make sure you pack their food, bottled water, feeding bowls, medicine (if needed), bedding, toys, collar, leash, vaccination/ID tag, brush, and pet treats. This helps you avoid giving them food that is not pet-friendly. It’s also helpful to bring a portable kennel. This provides a safe space if you have to leave your pet unattended. You should also make sure you have the clinic’s phone number (205-967-7383) handy in case you need to contact us. Make sure to locate (in advance) a reliable animal clinic at your destination, in the event emergency services are needed. Due diligence ahead of the trip assures that the hotel selected allows pets. Just as importantly, if you’re staying with friends or family, make sure they are informed, and your pet is a welcomed guest. 

Microchip Your Pet
If your pet has not been implanted with a microchip, consider having this painless and safe injection. This simple procedure can improve your chances of getting your pet back if they become lost. 

Traveling By Car
Some pets enjoy a nice car ride and others can be constant whiners or nervous pups. Just like humans, pets can also get motion sickness.  If you think your pet might not handle extended travel very well, we can prescribe medication to help calm your pet and reduce their stress, including medications to prevent and treat nausea/vomiting associated with car sickness. Just call 205-967-7383 to schedule an appointment. To help them adapt to the travel conditions, make sure you build in several stops along your route for water, restroom breaks, and to stretch their legs. This is especially helpful for older pets. It also breaks up long trips into manageable segments. Just make sure you NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Also, be sure you secure your pet in a travel kennel or seat harness for their safety and yours. 

Traveling By Plane
According to the American Kennel Club…

  • Airlines make it clear that it is the owner’s responsibility to verify the dog’s health and ability to fly. Ask us if it would be best for your dog to be sedated for the trip. Be sure to check the temperature of the flight’s starting point and destination; it may be too hot or too cold to be safe for your dog.
  • Federal regulations prohibit shipping live animals as excess baggage or cargo if an animal will be exposed to temperatures that are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours during departure, arrival, or while making connections.
  • Remember that each airline has its own variations on regulations and services. For example, if your crate doesn’t meet its requirements, the airline may not allow you to use it. They may, however, allow your dog in the passenger cabin if your crate or carrier fits under the seat in front of you.​
  • When making your reservations, you must make reservations for your dog. There are restrictions on the number of animals permitted on each flight. They are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.​

Certificates for Travel
Depending on your final destination, you may need to obtain a health certificate from a USDA-accredited veterinarian prior to travel. The veterinarians at Altadena Valley are accredited and happy to assist you in your travel process! 

A health certificate is a document that guarantees your pet meets the vaccination and diagnostic testing requirements set by your destination and ensures that a veterinarian has examined your pet and deemed them healthy for interstate or international travel. Always check with your airline for any additional requirements they may have as well; some airlines may have separate requirements that those of your final destination. Keep in mind when traveling internationally there are documents required for your pet's entry into international countries, as well as requirements to re-enter the United States. 

Check out the USDA APHIS Pet Travel website for more information ( 
You should always travel with a copy of your pet's rabies vaccination certificate and rabies tag - rabies vaccinations are required by law in most U.S. states. Almost all airlines require proof of vaccination.  

Have A Safe Trip
If your travel plans include your pet this holiday season, we hope this information has been helpful. If your pet needs a pre-trip check-up and travel medication, call 205-967-7383 and schedule your appointment today. Making your travel preparations now is the key to reducing the stress and problems you and your pet may encounter.

Safe Travels,

Sarah Foster, DVM

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Traveling with Your Pet? What To Know Before You Go!
Christmas is one of the busiest travel times of the year for those of us who visit family or take vacations. While many families board their precious pets to avoid the potential trauma and problems a long road trip or airplane flight may cause, others like having their furry friends along for the ride as their travel companion. If you’re contemplating a family trip with your pet, make sure you first consider your pet’s age, health, and temperament. Travel is stressful enough for parents this time of year, so imagine what it can be like for an aging pet, one who has health issues, or a difficult disposition with other pets or people. Once you’re satisfied these issues are not a problem, here are some tips to make their travel safe and less stressful…for everyone.

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Dog in Travel Crate

Pet Travel Tips

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Altadena Valley Animal Clinic