Safe Travels


Road travel has been on the rise in recent years, and for those going “over the river and through the wood” this season, here are suggestions for keeping travel with your favorite co-pilot(s) safe and fun.

His/Her Papers.  If traveling out of state, taking your pet’s medical records and a health certificate is a good idea.  Obtaining the latter is easy — just a checkup with your Veterinarian within 10 days of travel.  When scheduling the checkup, explain you would like a health certificate for travel. 

First Aid Kit.  A good kit includes a Veterinary-approved anti-diarrhea medicine (I learned this the hard way), as well as a pill or two for light tranquilizing.  For a good list of standard items, visit  Also, VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists publishes an excellent resource, the “Pet Emergency Care Handbook,” available free at the clinic, or at the Spot booth at pet events. 

ID with Current Info.  In addition to having your own phone number on the tag, include one for a friend or relative not traveling with you.  My sister-in-law dropped her phone in a lake (actually my brother dropped her phone in the lake . . . boy was she unhappy) rendering her number useless.

Extra, Extra.  Always keep a spare collar and lead, the latter in various lengths if possible.  Your pet may be the best, but leash laws vary by county and state, and it’s simply a precaution worth taking, particularly away from home.  Buckle Up.  If your pet isn’t crate-trained for travel, consider seatbelt-type restraints.  With them, pet passengers can move around some, but can’t leave their seat.  Never allow pets to ride “shotgun” — air bags can easily kill a dog or cat.

Water.  Water in different places tastes different.  I grew up in Portland but often stayed with country relatives who had well water.  I didn’t like the taste, so didn’t drink much water while I was there.  While pets won’t complain, they might not drink enough if the taste doesn’t appeal.  Also, many pets prefer drinking only from their own bowl.
Best bet:  Either switch the pets to bottled water a few weeks before traveling, or pack a few gallons from your own tap.

I hope these suggestions help make traveling with your pets this season safe and fun.  Happy holidays!

Janis Stange owns and operates Jackie’s Clip Joint in Portland, OR.