Traveling with Your Pet: Tips for Happy Vet Visits

happy vet visits before traveling with your petThe mere thought of traveling with your pet can cause people a great deal of stress. Conforming to rules and regulations involved in pet travel can be difficult. In fairness, it?s never going to be easy, but there are things you can do to make the whole experience a little less stressful for the two of you!

Before traveling with a dog or cat, it is a very good idea to take it to your veterinarian for a check-up, and it is mandatory before traveling internationally.

Here are several reasons why a vet visit before traveling with your pet is a good idea:

  • Your vet can check your pet for overall wellness.
  • Your vet can verify that your pet?s rabies and other vaccinations are current and issue a vaccination certificate..
  • Your vet can microchip your pet. This is very important for pet identification and is required to enter many foreign countries. Don?t forget to register your contact information in the chip manufacturer?s database.
  • Your vet can renew any prescriptions your pet may be taking so you can bring them along.
  • You can discuss any sedation your pet may need when traveling with your vet.
  • Your vet can complete a health certificate as required by many airlines and foreign countries.
  • Your vet can check and treat your pet for fleas and ticks.This treatment is required by many foreign countries.
  • Your vet can trim your pet?s nails.

Very few people like going to the doctor for a heath check-up. People even struggle in the days leading up a doctor?s appointment even though they know it?s for their own good. Now imagine how your dog feels when he?s being poked and prodded in a place full of unfamiliar smells and sounds. It?s hard for them to know what?s really happening and therefore, it can quickly become a very traumatic experience for them.

How to Make Visits to the Vet Easy

Making vet trips easier is really about removing elements of stress at every step of the process. It?s unlikely that you?re going to arrive at a stage when your dog loves going to the vet, but you may get them to reach a stage of acceptance – just like people do!

Give Them a Safe Place

When traveling with a dog or cat by car, you need to secure them to keep them safe. Whether it be a carrier, crate, booster seat or harness, restraining your pet not only protects them but also the driver and other passengers in the car. Getting your pet used to its restraint is so important in keeping it calm. Your pet will feel more secure in a carrier or crate if you take the time to acclimate it. Practice, practice, practice, and don’t forget to give lots of hugs, praise and treats during this process.

Plan Other Adventures

If the only time your pet gets in the car is to go to the vet, then it will be hard to convince them that this will be a great experience for them. It is good to remove your pet from its day-to-day routine occasionally and give them the stimulation of a new environment. Take them to a dog (or cat) friendly place – the beach, a park, a pet store or restaurant so they will not always associate a ride in the car as going to see the doctor. If nothing else, just take them for rides in the car and give lots of love and treats when you return home.

Practice Calmness

As we all know, dogs and cats are so good at picking up on emotional cues, and if they can see you?re stressed before you even leave the house, they?re going to pick up that something ?bad? is about to happen. Try to remain calm and comforting as most dogs and cats already know that they?re leaving their territory once they are in the car. Try to act as if everything is fine! Speak to them consistently in soft tones as much as you can.

Try a False Alarm

You can also try to visit the vet first – without actually seeing the doctor! Give your pets a few minutes to become familiar with the waiting room and exam room, give them a few treats, and head on home. Hopefully, when they go back to familiar surroundings, they?ll remember the treats they received!

Avoid the Crowds

Another issue your dog may face is with all the other animals in the waiting room. Depending on your schedule, try to pick a time when the vet?s office is a little on the quieter side. Of course, this is not possible in emergencies, but it may be worth keeping in mind for more regular check-ups.

Make it a Happy Ending

Another tip is to combine your trip to the vet with another happy experience. After your vet visit, go to a pet store or dog park, visit a friend or relative or just take a long walk. Be consistent though – your pet will remember the previous experience and expect the reward at the end.

Using these simple tips can get you both through the stress involved in a vet visit before traveling with your pet. Stay positive and know that your support will help your pet get through the experience.

Contributor to this article is Greyhounds As Pets, a non-for-profit initiative for the adoption of greyhounds.

Information on traveling with a pet can be found at


Traveling with Your Pet: Tips for Happy Vet Visits — 13 Comments

  1. I recently bought a new pet dogy. We really don’t know how to start to take care of it! I will be sure to invest in a doghouse for our new pet, so he feels safe when he is outside. Thanks for sharing nice blog!

  2. Please help me .. my dog has been microchip and rabies vaccination .. Plus had it checked … she has a French mastiff trying to find an airline that will bring her from Toronto to the UK London ..

  3. I didn’t realize that some pets may get so nervous traveling that they need sedation. My friend is moving to a different state, so she’s been wondering what to do with her dog. I’ll share this article with her, so she can prepare to travel with her pet.

  4. I noticed you sad that Your vet can microchip your pet because this is very important for pet identification. We are taking our puppy Roxy to get microchipped this week. Thank you for the tips on how to make the dentist happy.

  5. I like that you suggest giving your cat a safe place when you take them to the vet. My cat is terrified of the vet and we just moved to a new area. I think I am going to have to find a vet that is willing to work with my scared kitty.

  6. I am glad you mentioned making the end of a veterinary visit a happy one by taking your dog somewhere they love afterward. We just got a boxer puppy named Bella and we have to take her to the vet for her first shots. Thank you for the tips on how to have happy vet visits.

  7. This is very nice article,
    I am a pet lover and I have 2 dogs in my camp and also have a cat and a rabits. So I feel this is such a nice article for the pet lovers.

  8. I thought it was interesting all the things you mentioned a veterinarian can do for your dog before traveling. My sister is looking to do some traveling with her dog. I’ll be sure to talk to her about finding a good vet that she can see more often to keep her dog healthy.

  9. This is full of details that I need to prepare for the upcoming trip! Also, you might need a trial trip to know how your pet response!
    I read that information in here:

  10. Thanks for going over some ways that you can help your pet be happy for the vet, or even for travel. I’m glad that you mentioned that it could be useful to take the pet to a friendly place, especially so that they learn that driving doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to see a doctor. My sister has been thinking of getting a pet, so I may share these tips with her in the future.

  11. I like what you said about being sure to remain calm yourself, because pets can pick up on your stress and anxiety. My cat is always anxious about vet visits, and it causes me to get stressed. I will try to be more calm and cool in the future and hope that my cat will pick up on that and feel a little better. Thanks for sharing!

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