Owners of special needs pets are unique. Looking beyond certain disabilities, these people open their homes and their hearts, providing comfort and love to these highly adaptable animals. While pets with disabilities sometimes require higher levels of care, in many ways, they’re just like other pets.
However, when it comes to leaving home for the holidays, there are a few important distinctions. Travel with a special needs pet can be done, and when they’re protected from harm, fear, and insecurity, it can even be fun!
Even if you’re not preparing for air travel, it’s a good idea to have your pet examined before you leave home. Travel with a special needs pet is definitely less fun when they’re uncomfortable or stressed out, and we can help determine whether they can handle the demands.
Airlines do require a health certificate that shows your pet is fully vaccinated and healthy enough for flying. Certainly, keeping your pet in the cabin with you is preferable, but larger animals fly as unaccompanied cargo. While this area is temperature controlled and pressurized like the cabin, these pets don’t receive constant attention.
Conduct thorough research before making reservations, and reach out to the carrier with any questions or concerns.
All animals are creatures of habit. Deviating from their everyday routine can be highly disruptive, which is one reason traveling with a special needs pet gives some owners cause for concern. However, as long as meal times, bathroom breaks, and sleeping schedules remain intact, pets should do fairly well on a trip. Obviously, this is much easier to achieve if you’re in control behind the wheel of your own car.
Navigating a New Environment
Travel with a special needs pet involves many new sights, smells, sounds, and terrain. While most animals will be fine with these changes, it’s best to approach every new environment with caution. Always be on the lookout for signs of stress or fear; bring along comforting items to distract and soothe your pet.
Pets with vision or hearing impairments depend largely on their owners to guide or carry them – especially in unfamiliar environments. Similarly, animals with mobility issues who rely on a wheelchair, harness, stroller, or other supports may require extra time getting to where you need to go.
Travel with a Special Needs Pet
Winter temperatures can negatively affect pets with special needs. If they’re traveling in the cargo space, be sure they have appropriate gear to insulate them from extreme cold. Likewise, when traveling in a vehicle, be sure that your special needs pet is warm and cozy. Line their carrier with blankets, dress them in insulated sweaters or vests, and check on them often.
If the stress and unpredictability of traveling with a special needs pet sounds like it would be too much, perhaps reconsider your holiday plans. We can also help you find a high-quality boarding facility or pet sitter to care for your special needs pet while you’re away.
As always, our veterinarians and staff are here to help. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about how to travel with a special needs pet.
When my parents’ dog Kya died very suddenly a few years ago‚ their regular vet was not at work that day. But thankfully‚ Dr. Tullio was and treated my parents and their dog as if he was their doctor for the past 15 years—doing everything he could to try and revive Kya and by being so compassionate to my parents in the waiting room after having to deliver the sad news. We truly can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Tullio and can’t wait for him to open his new facility! Thank you.
—Lori Forrest & Bob Leahy
Dr. Tullio has always treated our dogs with great knowledge‚ care‚ and compassion‚ and we have grown to know him quite well. We have been so completely impressed with Dr. Tullio’s consistent excellence in care and services that we wanted to share our experience with others. We are pleased to recommend as the place to go for both quality treatment and compassionate care for your furry family members.
Doctor Tullio is a kind, caring gentleman who has cared for my cocker spaniels for many years now. He has always been helpful‚ honest‚ and understanding with my pets and me. He is a man I trust completely and have and do refer others to him. Any pet owner can feel safe and secure in trusting their beloved pets to his skilled hands.
—Margaret Rowe‚ Howell‚ NJ
Molly and Oscar have been patients of Dr. Tullio for several years. I have been very pleased with his care‚ his expertise‚ and his understanding with my two Wheatens. Dr. Tullio has been quick to diagnose any issues and remedy all of the problems we’ve had. I look forward to many more years working with Dr. Tullio. I wish him well in his venture.