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Guide to travel nursing with pets

Here at Alegiant Healthcare, we love animals! Many of our first-time travelers ask, “Can I bring my pets?” The very simple answer is YES! We know that pets offer support, and companionship that brings light to our lives, and can make your travel nursing experience more enjoyable! On the flip side, pets can also add a range of challenges. Here we will talk about everything you need to know about travel nursing with your pets so you can travel with confidence.

Documentation and Tracking

The first important thing to remember is that you’ll need to have immediate access to your pet’s documentation regardless of if you travel by car or plane. In most cases, we see our travel nurses traveling by car to their new facility locations. Now there are no pet checkpoints” while you are on the road, so it makes it easy to overlook the need for these documents. Here are some general tips to consider:

  1. Make sure to bring your pet’s rabies certifications. It’s important to note that the rabies vaccine requirements are different from state to state, so make sure to check with your facility’s state in advance to see what requirements you will need to be aware of.
  2. Take your pet to the vet for a wellness check and to obtain an interstate health certificate. This is a great document to bring with you on your travels.
  3. Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. This document is required by most airlines at least 10 days before travel. If you are planning on flying check with your airline to see which documentation is required for your pet.
  4. Bring copies of your pet’s vaccination records.
  5. Get your pet licensed before you leave for your assignment. Licensing requirements may vary from location to location so make sure to check with your assignment city in advance. It’s usually as simple as Googling: City Name Pet License.
  6. Bring copies of your pet’s spay/neuter certifications. Many locations require proof that your pets are spayed or neutered to get licensed, so making sure you have these can save you some time.
  7. Get tags with your cell phone number, just in case your pet gets lost/loose. Putting your cell phone number makes it easier for someone, who might find your pet, to contact you.
  8. Consider getting your pet microchipped. Having a microchip in your pet will ensure that animal shelters are able to find and contact you should your pet lose their tag and find themselves sheltered.
  9. Getting pet insurance. Many of our travelers only got insurance for their pets because they are traveling. This gives you some peace of mind knowing that no matter where you are you are. There are tons of pet insurance carriers, you can always google them to do research or use Oasis to see if their pet insurance option is one that works for you!
  10. Check with your Veterinarian before the trip. Vets are almost always able to tell you everything you may need in terms of documentation when it comes to traveling. But they will also tell you about your pet’s health and things to look out for in your specific situation.
Travel Nursing to Hawaii with pets

If you find yourself going to Hawaii on assignment here are some things, you should know! Hawaii is very strict about bringing animals into the state. The islands are free of rabies, and they very much want to keep it that way. As a result, they will quarantine animals for up to 120 days if they don’t meet certain requirements.

You’ll need to begin preparing at least 4 months before your visit to Hawaii with your pet. Your pets need to have 2 rabies vaccinations at least 30 days apart. The second one needs to be given at least 3 months before arriving in Hawaii. Your pets must also pass a blood test that shows a response to the vaccine at least 4 months before arriving in Hawaii. Finally, you must also have your pet microchipped.

As a little tip, more for convenience’s sake, it’s important to make sure your flight lands in Hawaii at or before 3:30 pm. The reason being is that pet inspection hours are between 8 am and 5 pm.

To be safe, check this link for updated information and to make sure all this information is still correct.

Tips for driving or flying

Another challenge when traveling with pets involves the actual traveling part! Most pet owners haven’t taken their pets on a 10-hour (or more) drive or even a flight of any duration before. The good news is we have tons of helpful tips and tools to help you and your pets during your next travel assignment!

Road trips with pets

A majority of our travelers drive from one location to the next. Taking your pets on a long road trip can be challenging on many levels.

Seating your pet for the drive

Many people wonder about the best way to travel in a car with their pets. The Humane Society urges pet owners to use carriers or crates to seat their pets. The reason being is if you leave your pet to roam free in the car while you are driving your pet could become a distraction and result in an accident. They also recommend that the crates/carriers should be secured with seat belts.

For the same reason, the Humane Society also recommends that you avoid putting your pet in the front of the car with you. Not only can this lead to distracting the driver but your pet may get injured if the airbags go off, even if they are in a crate/carrier.

Lastly, the Humane Society urges that all pet owners always keep their pets’ heads inside the vehicle. They also discourage owners from having their pets in the back of an open pickup truck.

It’s important to note that the Humane Society indicates that crates and carries have not been reliably shown to protect pets during an accident. However, many argue that having your pet in a secured crate (with a seatbelt) is better than nothing. Recent research has even indicated that harnesses attached to seatbelts may offer the highest level of safety.

Letting your pet roam

When in a car for long periods of time it is important to map out rest stops where you can take your pet out to stretch their legs. Many rest stops have small dog parks or dog rest areas to give your furry friend some time to release some energy before going back in the car for more hours. Some states even have laws against letting your pet roam free so make sure to look up the states that you will be passing through to make sure you are following the laws of each state.

Managing pet anxiety on trips

No matter how you choose to seat your pet in your vehicle, or even if you’re flying, there’s a high possibility they might experience some problems with anxiety and/or motion sickness on the journey. Many pet owners discover this too late during their first long trip. Your pet may be fine on short trips to the vet or park, but a long trip might have a very different outcome. There are many products and methods that are aimed to help relieve these problems. You can always refer to your vet for any products they might recommend or use Google or Amazon to find some of these products.

Use patience to acclimate

This is something that many pet owners wish they did before a long trip! Many travelers state that their pets were anxious for the first several hours of their first long road trip, but they eventually got used to it on their own. In other cases, it can take multiple long road trips before a pet is fully comfortable. The point here is to make sure you have patience with your pet and try to acclimate them before a long trip. Something you can do taking them for longer than normal drives, something like an hour or 2 drives can help get your pet acclimated to being in a car or their carrier/crate for extended periods of time.

Know where your Vets are

It is important to know where vets and pet hospitals are along your trip. The last thing you want is for an emergency to occur and for you to be too far or not know where the nearest Vet is. If you have pet insurance ask them if they know of any Vets in the areas in which you are traveling or making stops along the way.

Wherever your new assignments may take you, your pet is an important part of your family! If you choose to take them along for the adventure, make sure you are taking their needs and health into consideration. Using these tips will help make traveling with your pet smoother and cause less stress and anxiety for them! You can always talk with your Vet to make sure your pet is ready to travel. 

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