You finally have the chance to take an assignment out-of-state but you have a pet…what should you do? Have no fear, KPG Healthcare is here to give you some helpful advice if you’re planning to travel with your pets!
Check out this helpful page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that outlines what YOU should do before traveling with your pet via airlines.
Research is the most important step in anything we do. It’s incredibly important when deciding on whether you should bring your pet with you on an assignment.
Airline vs Driving
The biggest question and determining factor when traveling with a pet is whether to use an airline or to drive.
Different airlines will have different rules about how a pet should travel. Your pet can either be checked-in and placed in a safe room within the cargo hold or placed in the cabin with you. One of the determining factors in whether your pet will be with you or in the cargo hold is the breed and size.
For example, American Airlines does not accept snub-nosed dogs of any mix (Shih Tzu, Pugs, Boston Terrier, etc). Southwest Airlines will allow a pet into the cabin if the pet fits within a Pet Carrier with maximum dimensions of 18.5’ long x 8.5’ high x 13.5’ high. Check the airline’s pet policy before booking flights: Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Delta Airlines.
Your pet will cost anywhere between $95-125 to be placed in the cabin. Some airlines may not allow more than one animal per person, but other airlines may accept two animals in one pet carrier. Regardless, you will need to make sure you indicate to the airline company that you will be bringing a pet on-board/check-in.
Also, airlines may require documentation from your vet verifying your pet is safe to fly.
Driving is the other option and, arguably, the easier solution. The majority of the travel nurses who take assignments with their pets will travel the country by car or RV. Traveling by car or RV allows travel nurses the opportunity to take assignments with their pets anywhere in the country.
There may be some restrictions on crossing state lines with your pet, but make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Each state will have its own rules and regulations about bringing pets into the state.
For example, Hawaii has strict rules on bringing any animal into the state. Check out California’s regulations.
You should double-check your car is prepared for a long journey with your pets. There should be space for your pet to sit and lay down, enough food and water to get to your destination and make sure there are frequent stops for the potty, to run/walk, and to eat/drink.
It’s important to remember to ask your vet if your pet is well enough to travel via airlines or on a long road trip before departure. Vaccinations and health checks are important to consider when thinking about taking your pet on a flight.
If you plan on taking your pet on a plane, you CANNOT travel within 30 days of your pets’ rabies vaccination. Some airlines require you to microchip your pet before the flight.
If your pet has all their vaccinations and is good to fly, research a vet in your assignment city. It’s good to know where you can safely take your pet while on assignment in case of an emergency. It’s always a good idea to reach out to that vet in your assignment location to verify if your pet is accepted there for treatments.
Housing is another factor you should research before taking an assignment.
Not all housing, even Airbnb’s, will allow pets! It’s important to double-check with the host or leasing company to verify if pets are allowed OR if there is a pet deposit you would need to pay. If you’re not sure about pets, always ask questions!
Now that you’ve done your research and have decided to bring your pet along for the assignment, it’s time to plan!
With the prior research, you should have an idea of whether or not you will be driving or flying, where you’ll be staying, and located a vet nearby.
If you plan on driving to your assignment, it’s best to pack and plan with your pet in mind. A cleaning kit will come in handy for any accidents that might appear throughout the trip. A goodie bag with treats, toys, potty bags, and leashes should be kept together for easy access during any rest stop.
If you plan on flying, make sure you have completed any requirements brought forth by the airline company, received a clean bill of health for your pet, and are up to date on vaccinations. Additionally, make sure you have indicated you will be bringing a pet on board the flight and the carry-on bag fits the dimensions.
Cost-of-living will be different everywhere you go. It is wise to budget and calculate how much of your income will be going toward your pet(s). Creating a budget is a great way to see where your costs go and where you need to make cuts to save. Check out this website to compare the cost of living between where you live and where you’ll go!
By this stage, you’re about ready to head to your next assignment location with your pet! You’ve done the research and you’ve done the planning, all that’s left is to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
If you’re flying, try to remain calm and remember to keep your pet in mind. Make sure you aren’t feeding your pet right before a flight, but allow plenty of time for them to eat and drink. Go to any pet relieving areas before your flight to avoid any accidents.
If you’re driving, make sure to enjoy every moment of the journey! Stop and smell the roses, literally. Take your pet to a field of flowers and let them run wild. Just make sure you are taking plenty of breaks and resting when you can.
The only thing left to do is to enjoy the journey to your next assignment.
If you’re looking for more resources, please refer to these other blog posts!