Hillsborough, NJ - The summer season is the one irresistible time of year when indulging in new and exciting outdoor activities is hard to resist. From a camping trip to a walk on the beach, the opportunities are endless in this beautiful weather. However, there are several things you should keep in mind before you rush off on a summer trip with your pet.

Veterinary Visit

Before you pack your bags, take your pet to your veterinarian. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian about your travel plans since this is the opportunity for him or her to assess your pet’s overall health and share travel recommendations. Nevertheless, your veterinarian’s advice and suggestions will depend on several factors, including but not limited to, what type of pet you have, your pet’s current health status, and age. Your veterinarian may also address the need for appropriate vaccinations and test for certain diseases such as Lyme disease, leptopsirosis, and canine influenza. Travel certificates and/or legal documentation may also be issued depending on your destination. Typically, veterinarians recommend that you carry plenty of your pet’s food and water in addition to other essentials like a litter pan for cats. It is also suggested that you check to ensure that your accommodations are pet friendly.

Best Time to Travel

Always consider the best time to travel before marking your calendar. Keep in mind that, like humans, pets are also sensitive to extreme weather conditions; therefore, traveling during extremely hot summer days is not recommended. Nonetheless, when traveling, the best times to do so in the summer are during morning and evening hours when temperatures tend to be cooler. Avoid traveling during holiday weekends and opt for traveling during weekdays instead whenever possible.

ID Tag and Microchip

Losing a pet is a reality for many pet owners every year, particularly during the summer months when outdoor activities are most popular. The first and easiest step to increase the chances of your pet being returned home is to make sure your pet is carrying an ID tag, preferably with your cell phone number listed so you can be reached immediately. ID tags are a safe and reliable way for your pet to be easily identified at all times, in any location. For additional peace of mind, speak to your veterinarian about microchipping. Imbedded microchips, which are very small in size, allow any veterinarian, shelter, or animal control officer to run the tag and view your contact information in their database. Speak to your veterinarian about the added benefits of a pet identification microchip.

Transportation Vehicle

When traveling, be sure to stay informed about transportation requirements. Whether is by car, train, or air, each mode of transportation has potential dangers and carries certain requirements and restrictions that you should be aware of. Starting with the carrier, which, depending upon what type of pet you have, should fit comfortably in a car, train, or plane. Keep in mind that comfort is key for your pet. Therefore, when purchasing a crate for example, make sure it’s comfortable enough for the animal to stand and turn around as needed. Also, note that some airlines now allow up to three pets in cabin per flight, while others still only allow one per flight.

For more details on requirements and recommendations when traveling by car, train, or air, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website at www.avma.org and click on Animal Health.

For additional tips on traveling with your pet this summer, visit the Animal Health Center at www.njvma.org and click on the Summer Pet Tips, Traveling with Pets, and Pet First Aid Tips articles.