If you are a devoted pet owner, the hardest part about traveling is probably the prospect of leaving behind your furry companion. Along with booking and packing, you will have to find a trusted family member or friend to watch your pet while you’re away, and in some cases, you may even need to find a reliable pet sitting service.
So the next time you want to take a trip to Florida or any other sun-filled spot, why not take your four- legged family member along for the ride.
As long as you do your research and plan accordingly, you can bring along your pet and cross one more worry off of your list.
A healthy pet is a happy pet
When traveling with an animal, to Florida, or anywhere else for that matter, the primary focus is the health of your pet. Your pet must be healthy in order for you to get it onto a plane and across the American border.
If your pet looks in anyway unhealthy or dangerous, there is a chance that the officials will deny you entry or make you pay for an on-the-spot veterinary examination.
So be before you head for the airport, make sure your pet is clean, groomed and healthy.
And to make things go as smooth as possible, bring a health certificate from your vet, complete with records of all shots received, with you to the airport. For dogs and cats over twelve weeks, you must have a signed certificate from your vet claiming that your pet is healthy and has been vaccinated for rabies.
If your animal is under three months (too young for rabies shots) they can still be admitted provided that you complete a confinement agreement that states that you are to keep your animal confined until it is old enough to be vaccinated.
But of course, rules always change, so be sure to call Boarder Information Services to double check all that you need before you head out the door.
Don’t forget ID
Before you fly, make sure your pet has adequate identification, just in case the worst happens and your pet gets misplaced. Microchips are the best option, but at the very least have an ID tag with your up-to-date contact information clearly printed on it.
Can my pet come in the passenger cabin?
Call ahead and double check, but many airlines will allow you to bring small pets on board if they are kept in a carry-on bag. But like with any carry-on bag, it must be small enough to fit under the seat during take-off and landing.
Bringing pet food on board can be difficult, but if you must, the food must be un-opened, in its original packaging and it’s best if the food clearly states ‘made in the US.’ Of course, if your pet can wait, opt to purchase food once you’ve landed.
Large dogs will have to be crated and shipped as cargo, which can be a little stressful in its own right. Make sure your kennel has a secure door, don’t give your pet solid food six hours prior to the flight, and try taking them for a good long walk pre-flight to get them relaxed.
Also, to lessen the stress for you and your pooch, book a non-stop flight to make the trip as quick as possible.
Last stop, Florida
If Florida is your final destination, your will find Miami International Airport to be very accommodating.
In fact, there are even designated “doggy parks” situated throughout the airport where your pup can do its business after a long flight.
Find a pet-friendly hotel
Once you’ve picked up your pet, it’s time to check in, and there are a good number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals available in Miami and Orlando. So do your research, browse websites like Trivago or Expedia well before hand and seek out a spot that will be perfect for you and your pet.