Traveling with or Shipping / Transporting your Pets

Useful Travel Information (Vet Finders, Boarding Kennels, Pet Sitters, Import/Export Regulations, Airline Polices and Regulations)

Traveling with your Pet Bird

Birds often don't enjoy traveling for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they associate bird carriers with bad experiences, such as uncomfortable, maybe even painful vet visits or groomers; or they get car sick or are frightened by the excessive visual stimuli.

There are several ways of "rewiring" your pet's perception of his travel carrier.

  1. Teach your pet that his carrier is a positive environment for him. Use a comfortable travel carrier or cage. Gradually turn the carrier into a "treat room". First give your pet treats when inside. Then leave the carrier open and place treats inside the carrier for the pet to retreat. Once the pet is inside to get his treats, close the carrier door for a short moment only. During following sessions, keep the door closed for longer periods. This should be done slowly and progressively.

  2. Once your pet is comfortable inside the carrier, take him out to the car. Place your pet and carrier inside the car and give him or her a treat. Then immediately take him back into the house and release him. Partially cover the carrier, three quarters or so, before taking him out. Some birds require total coverage for maximum comfort. Let your pet's body language tell you what his preference is.

  3. Gradually increase your pet's car time. Once he is comfortable in the carrier and the car, take him with you on trips. Make the trips focused on your pet. Eventually, most birds are fine riding in the car.

Motion Sickness:

Some birds suffer from motion sickness, resulting in your pet feeling nauseated and vomiting. If this is the case, before a trip, familiarize your bird with fresh ginger root by placing several slices in the carrier every time you go for test rides. Ginger is usually readily accepted as a treat and it prevents motion sickness in most birds. However, do not give birds a major meal before the trip. Place a few moist foods, such as half an orange or a few grapes inside the carrier.

Free or Reduced-Cost Airline Travel

Patrice Tubbs suggested a way to allow people to take their pets with them on flights for free by presenting a letter from their doctor indicating that their pet is an emotional support animal. Airlines cannot charge you extra for your avian or animal pet when taken on the plane.

To learn more about this, please visit the Emotional Support / Service Animals section.

Useful Travel Information:

  • Protect your pet from diseases: When taking your pet bird on vacation with you, it is a good idea to check with local health departments in the area of your destination for specific concerns about diseases. Alternatively, you can log on to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for current information about diseases of concern, including potential outbreaks of diseases such as West Nile Virus in that area.

  • If you are transporting your pet bird within the United States of America, I would recommend contacting your regional USDA Fish & Wildlife Administrative Office for information pertaining to regulations and procedures to follow. Some species are protected or illegal to keep or transport through certain states or even internationally. You may have to complete paperwork or require a vet's certification.

  • USDA Offices - contact the administrative office in your area for more information.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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