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Travel Safely with Your Pet

Many people consider their pets important family members and want to travel with them rather than leaving them behind with a sitter or board them in a kennel.

Whatever the reason you are traveling with your pet, the most important part of is that he or she arrives at your destination safe and sound. Here are some important tips for before and during your trip.

Make sure your pet has as much identification as possible. Make sure to have ID tags on your pet's collar and list your cell phone number on them. This way, if your pet gets lost, you can be reached wherever you are. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet. After your pet has a microchip, send in the registration paperwork to make sure your contact information will be in the database.

Don't forget to label your pet's carrier prominently with your name, address and phone number. If you're planning an airplane trip with your pet, keep in mind that some airlines don't allow animals at all while some only allow pets to travel during certain months and not during the hottest or coldest months of the year, as the cargo hold can be a very harsh environment.

If you have a very small dog or a cat, some airlines will allow you to bring it onboard. Most airlines only allow a few pets onboard at a time, though, so reserve well in advance.

If you are flying with your pet in the cargo hold, be considerate of how scary that must be for them, so be sure to choose the shortest flight possible and book a direct flight with no layovers or transfers. Your pet's crate should meet airline requirements and be clearly labeled with the words "LIVE ANIMAL" with an arrow pointing up. Don't lock the cage in a way that would prevent a crew member from opening it in case of emergency. Finally, pack something soft in the crate with your scent on it, such as a T-shirt you've worn for a few hours. This can be very reassuring to your pet through the bumps and movements of the flight.

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Claire Newell
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