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Transporting pets

All animals, including cats, dogs, exotics and reptiles, must be kept safe from harm and injury when they are travelling by land, air or sea.

Tips to help you make sure your pet has a safe journey

Health check

It is always a good idea to check the health of your pet before any long trip to make sure it is fit to travel. Health certificates or other documentation may be required when taking your pet on an airplane or to another country, including the United States. Find out in advance what will be required.

Pet carriers

Pet carriers must be large enough for the animal to comfortably lie down, turn around and stand in its natural position. The carrier should be secure so the animal cannot escape or be injured, but still provide adequate ventilation.

The carrier for your pet should be appropriate to the species of animal you are transporting. For example, snakes and other reptiles require a different type of carrier than a cat or dog. Speak to your veterinarian if you are unsure about what type of carrier you should use for your pet.

In your vehicle

Contain your pet – Animals that could distract the driver should be contained. Some animals, such as cats, are more comfortable in a vehicle when they are in a carrier.

Pets should not be allowed to roam freely in the back of pick-up trucks or be exposed in any way to flying debris.

Watch the weather – Animals should not be kept in parked vehicles for long periods of time, especially in hot or cold weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise or fall to levels that could cause your pet to suffer or even die. If you must leave your pet in a vehicle for a short period of time in hot weather, ensure it has fresh water and leave windows open a little on either side of the vehicle to create a cross-breeze.

Provide food, water and rest – On long trips, make sure your pet has food and water and that you make regular stops so it can rest or get out and walk around.

In an airplane

Most airlines have specific requirements for transporting animals. It is recommended that you contact the airline well in advance to let them know you will be bringing your pet and to find out if you need to do anything before arriving at the airport, that is purchase a special pet carrier or obtain a health certificate from a veterinarian.

Additional resources

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