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EmBARK on Your Next Trip with These Expert Pet Travel Tips

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Our pets are some of our most loyal companions, and we love taking them everywhere with us – even on vacation. However, traveling with a four-legged companion can lead to questions about what to do if your pet falls ill or gets lost while away from home. According to Dr. Kathleen Heaney, a little pre-travel preparation can make the trip safe and relaxing for everyone – your pet included!

“Even though I was just a kid, I can still remember how devastated I was when we lost our cat during a vacation in the Poconos. We were lucky enough to find her when we returned the following weekend, but a lot of families aren’t as fortunate,” says Dr. Heaney. “I’m about to travel with my two cats, Bellini and Olive, for the first time, and I’m making sure to take precautions to keep them safe. I’m a lot more comfortable and confident in my decision to bring them on the trip, because they both have HomeAgain® microchips.”

Here are some tips from Dr. Heaney to help make travel with your furry friend as stress-free as your vacation.

Before You Go…

Make a checklist to help pack your pet-friendly travel kit, including:

  • Prescribed medications
  • Collar, leash, harness
  • Crate (USDA-approved shipping crate for air travel)
  • Bed/blanket(s)
  • Pet Pheromone Diffuser. “This device will emit soothing pheromones that can calm your pet when they’re in an unfamiliar environment,” says Dr. Heaney. “Just make sure to start using it at home a couple of weeks before your trip for optimal effect”
  • Toys
  • Fresh food and water, and accompanying bowls/dishes

Prepare for possible emergencies by making sure the following information and documents are updated and easily accessible:

  • Pet ID: This includes a color photo of your pet, collar and travel crate ID tags with both your home and local destination contact information (name, address and phone number)
  • Microchip Information: Update your microchip with your current contact information and ensure that your membership is active before you leave. Click here if you think you might need to renew your membership
  • Necessary Pet Records: Compile a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and certificate for air travel (if necessary)
  • Emergency Contact Information: This should include phone numbers for your pet’s veterinarian, local veterinarians and 24-hour emergency animal hospitals close to your travel destination, the HomeAgain® number for reporting a lost pet (1-888-466-3242), and the National Animal Poison Control contact (888-426-4435)

If Your Pet Goes Missing While Away From Home…

  • If your pet is microchipped, contact the company immediately. HomeAgain’s pet recovery system includes many services, like contacting local shelters and creating signs that are essential to bringing your pet home
  • Identify what you can do quickly locally based on your travel destination. Ask employees at your hotel, campsite, airport, etc. to make an announcement, post on a community social media page or post “lost pet signs” throughout the location with an image of your pet and your contact information
  • Contact local animal shelters, animal control and veterinarians near your travel destination. Even if they haven’t seen your pet, they may be able to provide you with resources to help you in your search, especially if you return home prior to finding your pet

Returning Your Pet Home Safely…

“HomeAgain® provides greater assurance for pet owners, like myself, because even if your vacation ends before you pet is found, you can trust that lost pet specialists are continuing the search,” says Dr. Heaney. “Once your pet is found, the specialists will notify you immediately and, if your pet is found more than 500 miles from home, HomeAgain’s travel assistance will cover up to $500 in pet airfare to return them safely to you.”