little white dog poking head out of pet carrier next to luggage
Contract Nursing January 23, 2018

5 Tips for Traveling with Pets as a Travel Nurse

Travel nurse jobs can take you far from friends and family for months at a time, but traveling with a pet is a great way to avoid loneliness, alleviate stress and make short-term housing feel more like home. To help RNs keep their furry friends with them on assignment, many travel nurse agencies offer pet-friendly housing, but there are other considerations when traveling with pets. Ensure safe and easy travel with pets with these five tips.

1. Plan Your Route Before You Go

If you're traveling by car, the last thing you want to hear when you're ready to stop for the night is "No pets allowed." By planning your route beforehand, you can make sure your pet is welcome wherever you stop.

That means making reservations at pet-friendly hotels along the way. Be sure to check out their pet policies, particularly if you're traveling with more than one animal, as even pet-friendly places may have limits. If you're traveling with your pooch, ask for a ground-floor room to facilitate trips outside for potty breaks.

You can also look for restaurants with pet-friendly outdoor seating and safe places, such as dog parks or grassy rest areas, where your pet can stretch its legs. If you're traveling with an elderly or infirm pet, it's also important to know the locations of animal emergency centers along the route.

2. Visit Your Veterinarian

A pre-trip visit to your vet is important for several reasons:

To make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date. Many hotels and boarding facilities will only allow pets that are current on shots.

  • To obtain physical copies of your pet's medical records. Having quick access to this medical history can be life-saving in an emergency
  • To obtain a health certificate if your destination state requires it. To find destination-specific health requirements for traveling with pets, visit the USDA's website.
  • To get pet prescription refills. Don't forget heartworm medication and flea and tick prevention, especially if you're traveling to a high-risk area.
If you have older or ill pets, it's also important to get your vet's okay for travel. Your veterinarian is also a great source for travel tips and can prescribe safe, effective medications to make the trip easier on anxious pets.
 

3. Make Sure Your Pet Has The Proper Identification

 
Unfortunately, pets do get lost, and losing your pet on the road is a frightening prospect. By making sure your pet is microchipped and wearing an up-to-date tag that includes your cell phone number, you'll give your pet the best chance of getting home safely if the unthinkable happens.
 
Many pet stores now sell battery-operated GPS locators, which attach easily to a collar and let you track your pet via a smartphone app. The app also alerts users on the network to lost pets nearby so they can mobilize to help your pet.
 

4. Don't Forget Your Pet When Packing

 
When packing for your trip, include items that will make your pet more comfortable in his new surroundings. Pack enough food and bottled water for the trip and the day of arrival, and don't forget important medications.Your pet's go-bag should also include:
  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Waste bags for dogs or litter and a litter box for cats
  • Collapsible travel bowls
 

5. Practice Car Safety

 
It's important to always restrain your pet while you're driving to avoid injury in an accident or if you have to stop short. For small dogs and cats, that means a secure, comfortable carrier. For larger dogs, car harnesses and seat belt restraints give your pet room to move while promoting safety.
 
Most importantly, never leave your pet in a hot car, even for a few minutes. The American Kennel Club warns that the inside of a car can hit 100 degrees F within 20 minutes on a 70-degree day, and opening a window doesn't really help. Many states now have laws in place to protect animals left in cars.
 
While it can be challenging to keep your pet with you at all times if you're traveling alone, safety should come first. Make use of drive-throughs, pet-friendly stores and exterior vending machines so your pet is never left behind.
 

What If You Aren't Traveling By Car?

 
If you're flying to your new destination, research the airline's policies for traveling with pets —many airlines now permit pets in the cabin —and talk to your vet about flight safety.When you're ready to embark on a travel adventure with your furry best friend, search for great assignments or talk to a recruiter at NurseChoice.