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Matthew Sisk: Steps to follow when traveling with your pet
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Long story short: The government of Argentina has a copy of my driver’s license.

Now, that may sound odd to you now, but imagine how I felt as I went through the circus that is the paperwork related to vacationing with your dog in Argentina.

Different locales call for different requirements for your pet when traveling, which brings me back to Leia. She’s southbound. Well, she will be next month.

Along with her owner, Leia is destined for the Florida Keys. They will fly, which is important to know, because it necessitates additional paperwork.

When traveling with your pet from one state to another, you are usually required to have paperwork that states your companion animal isn’t a threat to the public health of your destination. This usually means a quick exam and a lot of copies of the same form that states no signs of communicable disease are present, as well as the dates of the most recent vaccinations.

But if you fly, many airlines require a statement from the veterinarian that your pet can handle the temperatures the cargo hold is expected to experience during flight. It’s not the South Pole, but it can get chilly.

For her part, Leia looks as good as ever. The slight head tremors are noticeable, but otherwise she is healthy and ready for a loving head-butt at a moment’s notice. Her vaccines are all up to date, and she’s on parasite prevention.

As it turns out, she’ll be in a carry-on bag anyway. No temperature extremes should be noted that way.

Leia’s owner asks about a sedative for the trip, as Leia has never been on a plane before. This is tricky.

If she needs one, I want her to have one. But without previous flight experience, I have no idea if she’ll need one. Her system should be able to handle it anyway, so I prescribe a mild sedative that will last a few hours. She’ll take it about 30 minutes before boarding.

Leia and her owner exit our door, headed for adventure. A few weeks later, I’ll hear about it.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at