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If you’re a pet owner, you know how terrible it is when horror stories about pets hit the news. One common travesty we hear about is when an animal was improperly handled while traveling, whether it be in a vehicle, train, or airplane. There are a lot of places that have strict regulations when traveling with animals, and you don’t want to get stuck in a bad situation because you weren’t prepared. There are even some serious laws about taking animals in and out of the country. Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe, healthy, and happy no matter which mode of transportation you choose.


Pups on a Plane

Of course, you want to bring your four-legged best friend on the road with you. Maybe you can’t imagine hiking that mountain without your trusted puppy sidekick, or you’re visiting your in-laws and need your sweet kitten on your lap to dispel the anxiety that’s bound to build up over the next few weeks. Just make sure that you are traveling in a safe way that accommodates the needs of your pet. If you plan on flying, the Humane Society always recommends that pets travel in the cabin with you when possible. There’s also a lot to do before you book a flight with your pet, such as taking them to the vet to be deemed healthy enough to fly. There are certain breed restrictions when it comes to flying with dogs and cats, and this is due to safety precautions. You may also be limited as to whether your pet can or cannot join you in flight based on temperatures in the area where you’re flying.


Cats in a Car

When traveling by vehicle, make sure animals are appropriately stored for their own safety. As cute as it is to see a dog with his head out the window with his tongue hanging out, enjoying the breeze, it is actually quite dangerous. Debris can be kicked up from the road and get into their nose and eyes, and depending on the temperature of the air, a strong chill could make them sick. Both dogs and cats should be restrained instead of roaming freely within the vehicle. Both can be put in a crate or carrier, but dogs can also be buckled up in a restraint. Make sure any carriers are also properly restrained in a seatbelt or harness. Whether the car ride is long or short, make sure to stop for frequent water, food, and bathroom breaks for pets. For cats, disposable litter boxes can be a lifesaver on the road and can easily be tucked into a crate when the car is parked for a quick break. Remember, when you need to stop for a snack or a bathroom break yourself, never leave pets unattended in a vehicle. Traveling by car is the most comfortable way to travel with your animals, but it can also be the most dangerous. Most accidents happen within a few miles of your home, so make sure your pet is properly restrained in the car whether you’re heading cross-country for your cousin’s wedding or cruising a few blocks down the road to check out those new Vancouver houses for sale. Their safety, and yours, should be a priority.


Turtles on the Train

You probably wouldn’t bring your turtle on a train ride, but hey, we’re not here to judge. What we will judge you on, however, is how safely you ride the train with your animal companion. There are many Amtrak lines that now allow pets to travel with their owners, outside of the normally allowed service or therapy animals. Unlike in a car, you can’t stop whenever you please, so take advantage of each station stop while you’re traveling. Your pet will thank you.