How to Travel with Pets

You’re ready for something new, a new environment, a change in scenery. The only thing keeping you from packing your bags and hitting the road is your furry friend. To travel with a pet can be a complicated and exhausting process but luckily SkillGigs has your back so you never have to go alone!

Keep Your Papers!

You need to have your pet’s documentation on hand if you travel by plane, train, or even car. Rabies certifications may be different from state to state so you should research ahead of time the law in your next destination. You also should take your pet for a checkup prior to traveling to obtain an interstate health certification, a document you need for traveling with pets. An airline most likely will want a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection at most 10 days before the travel day. Vaccination records are also important and should be kept close.

Your pet may need to be licensed at your tax home depending on your destination so you should research to see if that’s necessary beforehand. It may vary by city rather than state so try searching your destination city and “pet license”. You’ll need your pet’s spay and neuter records in order for you to get your license in some states, just make sure you have it to be safe.

It’s a great idea to have tags made with your number on them in case your pet manages to run off. If you want to take it a step forward you could get a microchip implanted on the back of your pet. This makes it easier for shelters to reconnect lost pets with their owners because all they have to do is scan the back of the pet’s neck and if there’s a chip it brings up all your information. It’s a quick and painless procedure for the pet and can save them if they ever get picked up by the pound. If you already have tags and chips you should make sure the information is up to date. Pet insurance is also a great idea that provides peace of mind to healthcare travelers.

You can always ask your vet about any of these and they should be able to tell you what you’ll need before traveling.

If you’re taking your pet to Hawaii then more preparation is needed. Hawaii has some of the strictest pet laws in the nation and you should make sure you’re ready beforehand to avoid quarantine for your pet when you arrive. You need to begin preparations at least 4 months prior. Your pet will need two rabies vaccinations 30 days apart from each other and the second vaccination needs to be 3 months before you arrive in Hawaii. Your pet will need to pass a blood test at least 4 months prior to your travel date to prove the rabies vaccination worked and they will have to be microchipped. Another important note if you’re traveling to Hawaii with your pet is to book a flight that lands before 4 P.M. because the pet inspection office closes a 5 P.M.

Housing with Pets

You’ll always have the option to obtain company housing or opt for the stipend and find housing yourself. If you choose to get company housing there are a few things you should consider. Almost always we can accommodate housing that’s pet-friendly but it is important to remember that the landlord ultimately decides. In some places, it’s case by case depending on the type and size of the animal. This can cause some issues in finding adequate housing. Going through company housing may help that though because companies build relationships with the landlord through repeat business and can help your case if you have a larger pet.

It’s also a good idea to make it known early you have a pet. While we don’t charge a pet fee, certain housing establishments may charge one so we can help navigate that.

If you decide to take the stipend and find your own housing this is always an option. This is always the more popular option if you can find a place cheaper because you keep the difference. The Downside is that it’s more work and stress for you. Some things to keep in mind when going at it alone are as follows.

You will have to take on any additional cost by yourself, for example, pet deposits require at least the first month’s rent and a security deposit so you’ll need to have money saved to handle that. Next, you need to consider the difficulty of finding a landlord to accept a short-term lease with a pet. This is easier for 1-year leases but might be harder for 1-3-month leases. It’s a long process but it is very possible.

The third option is to think outside the box. If you find you have a hard time securing housing for you and your pet you may need to try other methods. Craigslist, VRBO, Airbnb, and are great ways to find pet-friendly housing. Craigslist is notorious for scams so do your homework before committing to anything. RVs are increasingly popular for healthcare travelers due to their mobility, utility, and freedom it provides. Not to mention it’ll save you money in the long run. There are many healthcare travelers going this route who will swear by it.

READ: “Why you should try to travel nursing”

Hotels and extended stays are an option if you can find a pet-friendly one. There are many hotel chains that are accommodating to pets and some even allow pets in the lobbies. La Quinta and Motel 6 are the more popular destinations for travel nurses. If your stay is longer than 30 days then you should speak to the property manager to discuss a reduced rate. Most places offer rates 50% lower than the regular nightly rate.

Lastly, you should remember a few things when it comes to finding housing with pets. When a landlord means “pets” they generally mean cats and dogs. If your pet is larger than 50 pounds then you will have a harder time finding housing, also your dog’s breed is considered “aggressive”, wrong we know but it’s the case in many places. Lastly, if you have more than 2 pets you will have a hard time finding housing. Don’t be discouraged if you fit in a multiple of these categories there are healthcare travelers already out there just like you who’ve done it!

Tips for the Trip

You’ve done your research. You have all the licenses and documents. Now you’re ready to hit the road! More than likely you haven’t put your pet through an extended drive or flight. Here are some tips so you and your pet enjoy the journey.

If you’re driving there are many things you need to consider for your pet before and during the drive. The Humane Society recommends that pets be out in carriers or cages to prevent driver distraction. However, harnesses have been proven to be a safer option than crates or carriers. They also warn against allowing pets in the front seat as the airbag can increase the risk of injury. There are many variations of harnesses for different sizes of animals at different price ranges, just search harnesses for your pet’s weight. It’s important to note that should you choose to allow your pet to roam free in your car you need to research which states do and don’t allow unrestrained pets in vehicles.

If your pet gets anxious there are ways you can prepare to prevent that on the road or in the air. ThunderShirts are relatively new and are a great tool for soothing a dog’s anxiety. They’re generally used for storms and fireworks but it will also work on the road for most dogs. You can also ask your vet about medicinal remedies for the trip should you expect your pet to have a hard time on the trip. There are many chews, pills, and even collars that can help with your pet’s travel anxiety. Be wary that your pet may not eat or drink on the road. Many pets won’t eat or drink until they feel comfortable so there may be an adjustment period so ask your vet about it.

Finally, the last issue is pitstops. During a long trip surely you and your pet will want to stretch your legs and relieve yourselves. Try planning to stop at certain pet-friendly rest stops along the way. If you have to use the restroom or stop to eat it’s important to remember that leaving a pet in a car without air conditioning is dangerous. Even if it’s 72 degrees outside the temperature inside the vehicle can quickly rise to over 110 degrees. It is recommended if you need to leave your pet in the car for an extended amount of time leave the air conditioning on. In some places, it is the law and you can find yourself with a ticket and sometimes a broken window. If you need to let your cat out to relieve themselves the best option is a walking harness.

Finding a Temporary Vet

When you finally get to your new destination one of the first things you should do for your pet is to find an adequate care facility and look into temporary care for them. For Veterinarian care, a lot of healthcare travelers prefer the PetsMart care system because the records are centralized meaning every PetsMart in the country can pull up your animal’s records. If you want to shop around for a vet has a master list of the vets in your area.

Finding Care for Your Pet

Most healthcare travelers can easily be away from home for more than 12 hours a day and rather than having their pets locked up all day, they find people to take their dog out to run and play during the day. Many popular services are Wag, SitterCity, Rover, and Care all of which have a rating system so you can see if other people liked the dog sitter.

If you need to go back home or leave your pet overnight for any reason, you’ll want to find a sitter or pet camp. Services can range from $25 up to $100 a night. Walker service ranges from $20 to $40 an hour depending on the company. If that is out of your price range there are disposable bathroom mats that are designed to absorb liquids that you can layout. This will require some training but it’s a great option if you don’t want to hire a service.

Your Off Day

When you finally find the time to get out and enjoy the day there are a few resources to help find some cool things you can do with your pet. DogGeek has a tool that lists dog parks in every state! If you find a dog park not listed you can submit it to add to the list. BringFido is a great resource for pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, and even hiking trails for the two of you to do together. They are very active and even offer 24/7 support.

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