Travel Nursing with Man’s Best Friend
Are you interested in travel nursing but hesitant because you have a pet? If so, we’ve got good news: With some preparation and planning, your pets can come with you on assignments without any extra hassle. In fact, man’s best friend can make exploring new cities even more fun and open you up to new opportunities to socialize and meet new people.
When Your Dog is the Co-Pilot: Car Travel with Pets
Traveling by car with pets comes with its own challenges. To ensure their safety, make sure to keep your dogs in crates and cats in carriers.
Never leave your pets in the car alone with the windows rolled up during warmer months. In addition, be sure to schedule plenty of breaks for you and your furry companion, and make sure they are wearing their collar with current tags at all times.
Tips for Traveling By Plane with Your Pet
Talk to Your Vet. If you are traveling by plane to your new temporary location, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your veterinarian in advance. Your vet can provide any medical records necessary for travel and discuss options if your cat or dog doesn’t feel comfortable travelling to ensure they stay calm and collected.
Help Your Pet Get Comfortable. Allow your pet to inspect their pet crate or carrier prior to the trip, and put food, water, blankets and toys in it so they feel like it’s their safe and comfortable home. If you have a dog that will be wearing a harness or restraint while traveling, practice waking them on short trips around the block so they are more familiar with it.
Check Airline Rules Before You Travel. Airlines insist a kennel be large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around. Some airlines will allow small pets, including cats to travel under a seat with you but check for individual guidelines and fees.
Remember: If the weather is too hot at some destinations during summer months, airlines won’t let pets fly in the cargo area. Check before you travel – especially if your assignment is taking you someplace warm.
More Helpful Tips for Stress-free Pet Travel
Luggage: Not Just for Humans. You will need to pack for your dog or cat, too, so they have familiar items in the new home. It would be wise to bring a bag or cans of their regular food, water and food bowls, bedding, litter and box, medications, collar and leash, and toys.
Schedule Feeding Times. On the day of the trip, give your pet a light meal four to six hours prior to a flight. If you’re driving, feed them two to three hours prior to car departure. Avoid feeding during actual travel and only give small amounts of water at a time or you’ll be visiting lots of rest areas.
Exploring Your New City with Your Pet
When it comes time to choose a place to live, be sure to tell your Advantage RN Housing Coordinator the details of your pet so she can find an appropriate place. If you are finding your own housing, search online for resources of pet friendly accommodations such as Extended Stay America or other temporary housing at sites like www.peoplewithpets.com or www.bringfido.com. Airbnb.com also offers pet-friendly apartment shares and homes.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of being a travel nurse with a four-legged friend is the companionship in your new location. Research ahead of time to find out if there are parks within walking distance where you can meet other animal lovers, explore dog parks, and check out Meet Up groups for outings with fellow animal lovers.
Keep Your Best Friend Healthy. It’s important for your pet’s well-being to find a new veterinarian once you move. Look at the American Animal Hospital Association to find local vet offices and emergency clinics, or ask fellow nurses with pets for recommendations.
Traveling to a new city can be stressful for pets – especially cats, who don’t typically like changes. Notice signs that your animal is stressed including: a decrease in appetite, digestive issues, an increase in sleeping, and destructive or aggressive behavior.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, try taking them for a walk or playing a game of fetch if your companion is a dog. You may also have their favorite blanket or toy in a quiet part of the house for them to relax.
Contrary to their independent nature, cats do in fact require attention, more so when they are stressed. Set aside time to do enrichment activities with them and make sure they are eating a high quality food.
While travel nursing with a pet may seem like an insurmountable goal, with a little planning, it’s definitely a goal that can be achieved. In fact, as a travel nurse in a new city, having a pet opens new avenues to help you make new friends and get to know your new city.