How to Keep Your Pet Healthy While Traveling

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­Whether it's a weekend getaway, an extended trek or moving to a new part of the country, bringing pets with you on the road raises a host of considerations.

Some concerns are logistical. You'll have to worry about a getting an irritable animal into its carrier, timing both feeding and potty breaks and other matters. For your pet's comfort and your security on the road­, you'll want to invest some effort into getting the animal accustomed to its carrier.

You'll also have to consider your pet's health. As a responsible pet owner, it pays to be aware of certain precautions you should take both before and during your trip. After all, an injured or ailing pet will complicate your travel in very unpleasant ways.

­First, you should talk with your veterinarian before taking any trip. If you're flying, you must present a health certificate issued no more than 10 days before your departure date. Animals on planes usually fly in the cargo hold, except for some smaller animals that can travel as carry-on baggage.

Anxieties about confining pets for long periods tempt some people to give their pets a sedative, but this is usually a bad idea and can be life-threatening to some animals. Traveling in a pressurized airplane cabin at high altitude can cause severe cardiovascular or respiratory­ distress in sedated animals [source: Healthy Pet].

Traveling by car is easier for most animals, but you should keep them secured in a carrier, harness or seat belt designed for pets. Setting an animal loose inside a moving vehicle is very risky; the animal can create a hazardous distraction and, in an accident, the pet could be seriously injured and harm the driver or other passengers.

Read on for some other pet health factors to keep in mind on the road.