Today, vacations include the whole family, even our special needs animals. Whether your pet can walk on all fours or needs a bit of assistance, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a vacation with everybody else. But pet parents must know that traveling with special needs animals takes careful thought and advanced planning. Susan Marino, founder of Angel’s Gate, a place for special needs animals with nowhere to go, frequently travels with her handicapped animals and has found that besides animal travel basics, there are additional provisions that should be made for special needs animals. In order to ensure the health and safety of special needs animal companions and a great trouble free vacation, we’re providing you with a list of Susan Marino’s recommendations for traveling with a special needs animal:
1) Obtain most recent health records from your veterinarian. Records should include:
– Veterinarian letterhead
– Date of last visit
– Spay and neuter certificate
– Current medications and/or treatments
– Inoculation history with up-to-date information
2) Carry current photo of your animal companion.
3) Get prescriptions for medications your animal is currently taking.
4) Check vaccine and quarantine requirements of area you are traveling to (especially for traveling abroad). You may want to reconsider traveling with your special needs companion if quarantine is necessary.
5) Know your veterinarian’s availability during the period you will be traveling.
6) Locate and call a local 24-hour veterinary clinic in the area that you are visiting. Speak to the veterinarian there and ask about their policies regarding emergencies. Keep their phone number in your cell phone address book and their address in your GPS.
7) If you are planning an evening out without your animal, call the local vet to get names, available services and rates of animal caretakers or licensed vet techs.
8) Locate the local pharmacy and take note of their phone number, address, and business hours they are open.
9) If your animal is on medication that requires refrigeration and you are staying at a hotel, call ahead and request a small refrigerator be put in your room.
10) Should your companion animal be wheelchair bound take tools needed to make adjustments to cart.
11) Consider a properly fitted harness while traveling. It is highly recommended that all animals be microchiped or tattooed. In addition special needs animals should be fitted with a harness and tagged with their special need and emergency contact numbers. Even better, write numbers with indelible pen on the harness. A collar can also be used, however it is much more difficult to slip out of a harness than a collar.
12) Take an animal emergency kit with rectal thermometer and all prescribed medications – I usually take more than a sufficient amount for the duration of the trip. Bring Benedryl especially in warm weather or when going camping. Keep medications with you in case you are separated from your luggage.
13) Bring ice/hot packs.
14) Do not tranquilize if flying as the use of pet tranquilizers is unpredictable at high attitudes.
15) IMPORTANT NOTE: A Certificate of Health is required if you should travel by air or sea.
I carry a health certificate for all types of travel. A Certificate of Health is issued by a licensed veterinarian usually within 10 days of travel. A Certificate of Heath should include:
– The date of examination and issue
– Your name and address
– Any microchip number or tattoos assigned to the animal
– The breed, age, sex and weight of the animal
– A statement from veterinarian that the animal isin good health
– A list of administered inoculations. The animal should be up-to-date with vaccines
– The signature of a licensed veterinarian
Traveling with your special needs animal can be fun for you and enriching for them – just don’t forget to bring your camera. With proper preparation you can stay focused on having fun, seeing the world, and making lasting memories with your pet.
For more information visit: angelsgate.org.