Driving with Your Pets to Florida

The two-day road trip to Florida can be a fun-filled event for you and your pets. They can see new surroundings, you can take the family dog out for walks in new parks, and you get to have some fun in the sun with your family pet. But before you leave, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Book at Pet-Friendly Hotels

If this is the first time you’re traveling with your pet to Florida, don’t leave overnight accommodations to spur-of-the-moment planning. The last thing you want is to be dead tired and trying to book a room at a hotel or bed & breakfast that doesn’t allow pets. Using an app, like BringFido, can help you plan ahead and ease some of the stress that traveling with your pet can cause.

Pack Everything and Then Some

You don’t know if you’ll suddenly be stuck for hours on end in traffic, or if you’ll end up with a flat tire, or (heaven forbid) even get sick on the way down. Pack extra pet supplies so you don’t have to worry about caring for your pet in addition to your new emergency.

Mind CDC Requirements for Bringing Pets into the U.S.

You can’t bring pets into the US as easily as you can bring yourself. You need to be very thorough here in your research. Not all laws applies to the same animals. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires proof in many cases that dogs have had their rabies vaccination, but it does not require the same certification for cats. Small mammals and non-African rodents are generally not subject to any specific limitations by the CDC. However, other American departments may be responsible for allowing these animals into the U.S. When traveling with your pets to Florida, investigate the requirements specific to your animal.

Driving with dogs to Florida
Driving with dogs to Florida: Close the window already and let’s go!

States Have Requirements for Pets, Too

Driving down to Florida means you’ll be passing through a number of states. Whether you drive through Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, or Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the Carolinas before hitting the humid air of Georgia, you need to check each state’s requirements for importing pets.

For example, Florida requires that all dogs and cats ages three months and older have a current rabies vaccination. The state also requires specific health documentation. However, Michigan generally has no requirements for importing cats into the state, but it does require health documentation for dogs. Check out this handy United States Department of Agriculture website to help you with your research.

Keep Your Pet Safe in the Car

Do not drive with your pet freely roaming in your vehicle: it’s asking for trouble if you get into an accident. Pets can also cause distractions that can lead to accidents. It may seem extreme to say this, but would you rather keep your pet safe on your drive down to Florida or risk a hospital stay for yourself in the U.S.?

The Internet is Your Friend

Don’t leave plans to take your pet to Florida to the last minute. The U.S. government has websites dedicated to explaining how to legally enter the country with your family pet. In addition, with a few clicks, you’ll likely come across travel bloggers who share their pet adventures with the world. And lastly, call your vet and make an appointment: they’ll know what you need, give your pet the right vaccinations, and share any tips they’ve gathered over their years of practice.

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