SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

March 8, 2013

Do homework before traveling with pet

Have you ever wanted to take your pet on vacation but you weren’t sure how to make it happen? It can take some advance planning to bring your dog or cat with you and even more if you have an exotic pet such as a snake or bird.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org), more than 53 percent of people take their pets with them on vacation. It’s not easy to do so because two of the four most common modes of transportation, trains and buses, prohibit pets. That means your pet will most likely be traveling with you in the family car or be in the pet cargo section on an airline. Either way, there are a few precautions you can take to make the travel easier on your pet.

For pet owners preparing to travel by plane or car, a bit of preparation and time will prevent future heartaches and frustrations on the trip. First, make sure that your pet has proper identification. This can be something as simple as an ID tag or GPS unit on his collar, but a more permanent solution would be the use of an implantable microchip.

Next, make sure you have copies of vaccination records and needed medications easily accessible during the trip. And finally, do your homework. Most airlines and destinations require a health certificate for your pet. This document must be dated within 10 days of the start of your travels. If you are traveling internationally, your pet will require an international health certificate. Each country has specific requirements. It is your responsibility to find out the specific requirements of your destination country. You can look these up on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website, www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/states/newengland_info.html. An international health certificate must be signed by a veterinarian who is USDA-certified. Then you must get the form to the APHIS veterinarian in Littleton and pay a fee to APHIS for their veterinarian to sign off on the form. Unfortunately, the APHIS office refuses to accept electronic or faxed copies of the signed forms, so this process can be complicated and time-consuming and must all occur within 10 days of your departure.

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