Travel tips for pet owners

Jules Benson, Petplan’s chief veterinary officer, recommends pet parents plan ahead and be aware of important travel safety protocols.

1. Safety first. Your pet could become a projectile in an auto accident or crawl under the gas pedal while you’re trying to drive. Restrain your pets with pet vehicle restraints or, if driving an SVU or van, in an appropriate sized crate. Also, make sure the restraints are clipped into your car’s safety belt system. Before the trip, get your pet used to the restraint. Do not wait until you are pulling out of the driveway.
2. Pets can leap from moving vehicles and be killed, injured or cause a wreck. Always attach a leash before opening any doors or windows so the pet can’t escape from you. Forget about the wind in their hair. Their lives are more important.
3. Proper identification tags are a must. Never leave home without them. Tags should include current telephone numbers and contact information. Microchip your animal in case it does get away from you and is taken to a local veterinarian. Be sure that the microchip information is also current. Register your microchip at for free.
4. Do some research and find out the name of the closest veterinarian and emergency clinic close to your destination. Also, get an up-to-date copy of your pet’s medical records to take along, in case they are needed.
Other tips include:
If you’re traveling out of state, talk to your veterinarian about what diseases or parasites your pet might be exposed to at your destination. Ask about needed vaccinations or preventative medicines.
If traveling by plane or train, check your carrier’s pet policies before booking your flights. They aren’t all created equally. Many airlines will accept your dog or cat, but each airline will differ in the services they offer. Some will allow the dog or cat to fly in the cabin with you but there can be restrictions. It can be transported as checked baggage if the airline offers this service.
Or, if your pet is very large or is traveling unaccompanied or your destination country requires it, it can travel as manifest cargo in the cargo hold of the airline. Train travel is usually less stressful for pets but some train operators will not allow pets in passenger compartments. Check before you book your tickets.

Franke Rentals offfers several pet friendly houses and condos. The Inn at South Padre is also a pet friendly hotel.

— Rita Sherrow, World Staff Writer