Traveling With Pets: Tips for Travel Nurses

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By AMN Healthcare

December 10, 2023

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Tips for Travel Nurses Traveling with Pets

AMN Healthcare provided this article.

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

travel with pets

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.” Planning your route beforehand lets you ensure your pet is welcome wherever you stop.

That means making reservations at pet-friendly hotels along the way. Check out their pet policies, particularly if traveling with more than one animal, as even pet-friendly places may have limits. If you’re traveling with your pup, 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.

Don’t Forget Your Pet When Packing

traveling with pets

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

Visit Your Vet Beforehand

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, getting your vet’s okay for travel is also important. Your veterinarian is also an excellent source for travel tips and can prescribe safe, effective medications to make the trip easier on anxious pets.

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.

traveling with pets

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 always keep your pet with you if you’re traveling alone, safety should come first. Use drive-throughs, pet-friendly stores, and exterior vending machines so your pet is never left behind.

Make Sure Your Pet Has All The Proper Identification

Unfortunately, pets get lost, and losing your pet on the road is frightening. Ensuring your pet is microchipped and wearing an up-to-date tag that includes your cell phone number will 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.

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 AMN Healthcare.

Are you looking for your next travel nurse assignment? Click here to view our job board. Do you need housing for an upcoming assignment? Click here to search our housing page.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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