Travel nursing can be an amazing experience. You get to see the country, meet lots of new people, and start a great career all at once! The best part is that you do not have to leave your furry friend behind. If you are wondering if it is possible to travel nursing with pets, or how to manage pet care while you are on assignment, read on for some helpful tips.
First things first. Do you even want to bring your pet? There are many benefits of bringing your pets along for the ride, including having someone who loves you no matter what, never being lonely because they will always be excited to see you come through the door, and giving them a playmate during long assignments away from home can help them feel comfortable and adjust more quickly. However, some people may not be able to handle the hassle of taking care of a pet while on the road and that is totally understandable.
It is definitely possible for travel CNAs to bring their furry friends with them on assignment though! There are many companies that allow pets as long as they have all their shots up-to date and there is no risk of escape or illness. To find out if your company will let you bring your cat or dog along, make sure to ask HR during your interview process.
Become Familiar With Local Laws
It is important to become familiar with local pet laws before you decide to bring your pet along. Some states require specific vaccinations for dogs and cats, like the rabies vaccine, while others may ban certain breeds (like pit bulls) or any outside pets (think New York City). Be prepared by getting to know what is required in the state that you will be working in. Make sure that if there are other requirements for animals, like mandatory sterilizations or microchips, that you do all of those things first.
You should also check your homeowner’s insurance policy because some companies only cover personal items and not others – meaning they typically won’t reimburse travel CNAs for their pets no matter how much you paid for vet bills out of pocket.
Preparing for the Actual Traveling Part
If you are driving to your next assignment, it is best to crate train your pet so they do not freak out during the long journey. Most pets will need at least a week reminder of what the cage is and how to behave in it before leaving so if this part scares you, you might want to consider taking them with a family member or friend and then flying instead.
Pet-proofing your car is also important for preventing any escape attempts while on the road. Make sure that all doors and windows are latched and that there is no room for them to slip through – we don’t want them causing any accidents! You should also bring along their favorite blanket as well as anything else they like (food, toys, etc) to make sure they are as comfortable and happy as possible.
Pet-friendly housing is a must. You have to make sure that your potential housing has no breed or outside animal bans so you can find somewhere comfortable for your pet to roam around while you are on assignment. Pet-friendly lodging is becoming more common, but if it isn’t listed as an amenity for your area be sure to ask about it before making any final decisions. A good tip is to look on HomeAway and VRBO because there are a ton of pet-friendly options out there.
Pest Control & Personal Grooming
Remember, most companies require pets to be up-to-date with all their vaccinations and preventative care like ID tags, microchips, and sterilizations before coming along on assignment. This means you need to know when all of these things are due so that you can be sure they get taken care of before your next assignment. You should also check with the state that you will be working in because some require proof that the animal has been groomed in a certain way – typically flagging or trimming around ears, feet, and tail is enough though!
- Plan for any additional costs like air travel and pet deposit fees
- Ask if their insurance covers pets as personal items
- Meet local pet health requirements and understand what they specifically entail (vaccinations, microchips, etc)
- Be prepared by making sure your family is aware of the animals’ needs during long assignments away from home
- Figure out where pet-friendly lodging is in your area.
- Check if any breed or outdoor animal bans are enforced by your potential housing.
What to Bring When Travel Nursing with Pets
If you are traveling on the road or even by airplane, bringing enough food for your pet while you are working away is extremely important so they do not end up having to wait around for days without any dinner. If your cat is finicky and only eats dry food, make sure that it does not require refrigeration because most airports will not allow you to bring it on board (not like there isn’t room in that tiny overhead bin either). You can also talk to your company about store bought items on location because some dependable companies may provide these necessities if you ask ahead of time.
It is also important to keep in mind how much your pet typically eats per meal. You do not want to end up with too much food that will go stale or rot if you are gone for several weeks at a time, but also make sure you have enough for your pet while you are away because no one wants their pet to be hungry!
Collar & Leash
It is very important that your cat or dog has a collar with ID tags on it when they are traveling. The last thing you want is for someone to find your furry friend and take them in because they don’t know anyone is missing them! Include the following information:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your veterinarian’s contact information (just in case there is any confusion with other animals)
- Also include the pets name and your contact information for them
Whether you are traveling on the road or flying somewhere, bring a special toy that only belongs to your pet so they have something familiar with them during travel. You want to make sure that whatever toy you bring is safe and not something they can swallow, because if it gets stuck in their throat there is nothing worse than having to leave your job and go home just to take your beloved animal to the vet.
Pet Carrier/Car Seat/Crate
If your company says that pets cannot be left alone at all times, you should make sure they have a safe place to stay when you are not around. A carrier or car seat will allow them to feel comfortable no matter where you are. It is important to make sure they are safe because you do not want them trying to jump out of the car or get into anything that could harm them. If your pet does not like their carrier or car seat, try taking them in your vehicle to see how they act before setting out on a long road trip just so you know what will happen when it comes time for you to go back inside.
Pet Medications When Travel Nursing
Make sure to ask HR at your new hospital if pets are allowed and find out about any other necessities while you are there. You do not want to show up at orientation only to be told that pets are not allowed after all! Also look into how far away the closest emergency vet is from where you will be working because all animals are different and sometimes they can have panic attacks or freak out if they are in an unfamiliar place.
You should also bring any supplements that your animal might need for their joints, heart, or eyes with you when traveling away from home. It is best to talk to them about what supplements they need before getting on the road just so there is no confusion with the medications when someone hands it over – especially since most doctors would never recommend giving human medication to a furry friend without knowing their medical history!
If you want to bring them along for your next trip, then remember to crate train them before leaving, meet local laws regarding outside pets, become familiar with pet friendly lodging options (HomeAway & VRBO are great resources), and make sure to secure pet-friendly housing early on in the process. Lastly, remember to pack their favorite blanket and/or toy to make them feel at home while you are away!