Holiday Travel 4-1-1

The holidays are a magical time where family travels from near and far to gather together and celebrate. However, it is not always easy to bring our best friends along for the trip, and accommodations often need to be made. Whether you are boarding your pet, hiring a pet sitter, or traveling with your animal, the following recommendations can help prepare you for what to expect and aid you on how to best take care of your pet during the holidays.

  1. Boarding: Although it can be very hard to leave your pets, boarding them at a veterinary clinic or doggie daycare is sometimes the best option when you need to travel. Many boarding facilities require certain vaccines to be given, so be sure to call ahead and visit your primary care veterinarian before you attend in order to ensure your pet is up to date. Required vaccines often include Rabies, DHPP (aka. Distemper, 4-in-1), and Bordetella (aka. “Kennel Cough”), with some now requiring the canine influenza vaccine. The canine influenza vaccine is a two-booster set given 2-4 weeks apart. A negative fecal sample is also often required to help avoid passing gastrointestinal parasites to other animals. Did you know that we board pets at Norwalk Animal Hospital as well? What better way to have peace of mind that your pet is receiving optimal care while you are gone than having them under the watchful eye of trained veterinarians and technicians? NAH also gives you the option of having services completed while you are away, such as grooming, bathing, exams, vaccinations, surgeries, and more! Call us today to schedule your animal’s next vacation!


  1. Pet Sitter: Bringing your animal to a pet sitter’s house is also a viable option when traveling. It is recommended that your pet is wearing a collar and ID tag with your information on it and are up to date on vaccines before attending. Leaving the sitter with information for your pet’s primary care veterinarian in case of emergency is always a good idea. Even better yet, having someone trustworthy come to watch your pet in the comfort of your own home can be a lot less stressful for anxious animals. Be sure to review your pet’s normal daily routine with the sitter so they can best try to stick to it.


  1. Driving: When traveling in a car with your pet, it is important that you take several precautions to keep them safe. Keeping cats and dogs in a kennel or crate or connected to a seat belt or harness is helpful to keep them off your lap and safely contained. There are multiple car harnesses and seat belts on the market that have been crash tested and proven to be safe for travel with pets.


  • If your pet gets motion sickness while in the car, NAH can help with that as well! Cerenia is a powerful anti-emetic medication helpful for acute vomiting and motion sickness and is available by prescription. Keeping your pet on the floor of your vehicle, as well as keeping the area well ventilated can help too. If your animal gets anxiety from just being in the car, please call us to discuss options to help make the drive more comfortable for them. Lastly, if you are driving long distance, be sure to stop along the way for bathroom breaks and to offer your pet water.
  • Be sure to call ahead to any animal friendly hotels you may be staying at to see what vaccines and paperwork may be required. NAH would be happy to print, e-mail, or fax you or your final destination any vaccination paperwork you may need!


  1. Flying – Whether traveling domestic or international, taking your pet on an airplane can be stressful for everyone involved. Although many people are not aware of this, the airline as well as your final destination determines what paperwork, vaccinations, and special services (microchips, etc.) are required for your pet to stay there. Most of these things need to be done in a time sensitive manner as well. Regardless, when flying to a different country, airports ALWAYS require an International Health Certificate for your pets. Did you know our very own Dr. Stecker is USDA Accredited and does International Health Certificates by appointment? If you plan on flying with your pet in the future, please call Norwalk Animal Hospital to discuss what may be needed and be sure to have the following things in mind: Where are you traveling to? When are you traveling? Is your pet microchipped and if yes, the microchip number? If you are a new client, please have your vaccination records faxed to Norwalk Animal Hospital so that we can accurately bring your pet up to date.

As always, we at Norwalk Animal Hospital are happy to help and assist you with any travel questions or concerns you may have.

Happy Holidays!