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Going The Distance: Pet Travel Tips For A Great Trip


pet welcome on board

We all love our house or hometown. That said, sometimes you hear the call of the wild; sometimes it’s time to heed the call, pack up, and get out of Dodge. For some, that means a short trip to Red Bud Isle, but for many people, traveling to a far-flung corner of the world is what the doctor ordered.

What to do with your four-legged friend during your summer sojourn? The travel and hospitality industries are now officially on the pet travel bandwagon, making it much easier – not to mention safer and more comfortable – to enjoy different destinations together. With our pet travel safeguards lodged securely in place, you and your pet can truly go anywhere.

Pet Travel Preliminaries

Whether you plan to travel via car or plane, your pet needs to be in tip top shape. Before making any arrangements, bring your dog or cat in for a wellness exam. Many pets aren’t physically able to travel, and if your pet is considered too young or is enjoying the senior years, leaving him or her behind may be a better option. We do offer warm, cozy boarding services and pride ourselves on offering compassionate care to all of our guests.

Safe and Sound

If we approve of your pet’s health and wellness, we can help prepare him or her to travel. Depending on where you’re going and how you plan on getting there, it’s highly likely that you’ll need:

  • For air travel – nationwide and internationally – and access to many hotels, a pet travel health certificate (showing proof of health, vaccinations, and freedom from parasites) is required. We can complete this for you within the typically allowed schedule of 7-30 days prior to departure.
  • Parasite prevention (especially if you are going to an area known for ticks and mosquitoes)
  • Microchipping (if not yet completed) provides extra insurance against the possibility of separation while on vacation.
  • Any prescriptions and refills, especially medicine for motion sickness or anxiety

Hit The Road

By far, cruising down the highway in your own rig is the most popular choice for pet owners, and the following aim to help this adventure:

  • Your pet should be secured in the backseat with a car harness, or inside his or her travel crate and buckled
  • Plan to stop at pet-friendly pit stops along the way
  • Keep your pet leashed while out of the car, offer water, exercise, and a meal, if it’s time to eat
  • Your dog may love to stick his or her head out of the window, but injuries from airborne debris can really ruin a vacation. Please don’t allow your pet to roam freely inside your moving vehicle.
  • Keep airflow moving to the backseat, monitor your pet for overheating and possible dehydration caused by stress
  • Prepare a list of emergency veterinarians along your route, and near your destination

The Jet Stream

The time you save in air travel can be applied to the additional required preparations to ready your pet for a flight:

  • Make sure your understand your chosen airline’s rules and restrictions for your pet. Depending on your pet’s size, he or she may have to endure the flight in the cargo hold. This can be a daunting realization, but working closely with your chosen airline can mitigate your fears.
  • The day before you leave, cut back on your pet’s food portion size slightly, but maintain an abundant supply of water.
  • Feed your pet a small meal two hours before placing him or her in the carrier.
  • Exercise your pet before leaving home and again before you check in for your flight
  • International flights may require various documentation regarding your pet’s health; research foreign restrictions and contact the country’s embassy to ensure mutual understanding.

Pet Travel Partners

We understand the needs of a traveling duo, and hope we can help you and your pet toward the best vacation ever. The bonding opportunity alone is enough for most pet owners struggling through the necessary pet travel preparations. Check out this pet travel FAQ from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).


Contact Us

Westlake Animal Hospital


3930 Bee Cave Rd. Austin, TX 78746

Clinic Hours

Mon-Fri: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: Closed