Any pet owner will vouch for how much the furry being has changed their life positively. You would want your pets with you at all times, but sometimes when you travel, circumstances may not allow for the togetherness. There are exceptions when you can travel with them, but it can be stressful, especially if it's your first time. Ideally, we would recommend traveling with your pet only when necessary or if the travel is local and close enough.
From the pets point of view, we think they love their owners, and would want to be with them at all times. They would probably also be perfect travel buddies. And just like us humans, pets have individual personalities and adapt to situations differently. Today, let's make the trip easy on you and your pets by following just a few simple, yet important tips.
Check all is in order before the trip.
- It is important to make sure that the animal is physically fit to travel. Sometimes it is difficult because of old age arthritis, or some injury, or even their general temperament.
- This is a good time to consult with the veterinarian, inform them about the possible travel, and get some expert opinion.
- Make sure your pet wears a collar for identification, with your cell phone number inscribed on it. If your pet is microchipped, confirm that the information on the chip is up-to-date and current.
- Click pictures of their vaccination papers, and their medical history documents. If you are traveling within Europe, maybe you could get your pet its own EU Pet Passport.
- Traveling anywhere may require that you buy a well-ventilated and comfortable travel crate for your pet. Let the pet get used to the crate at home before using it on the trip. If you plan to fly, make sure to check the guidelines for the required gear.
Things to keep in mind when traveling by car.
- It is extremely important to calm the animal down, so tire them out before departure. Take a long walk or play fetch, this will help them to sleep through the car drive. Provide some semblance of home by placing a favorite blanket or your worn shirt inside their carrier. This helps them relax and settle down.
- Make sure you feed your pet 3-4 hours before traveling. Then, the pet would not be affected much in the car due to motion sickness.
- Create a positive association for the pet with the car ride. Take them to the dog park, or reward them with treats after a short practice drive (not to the vet).
- Of course, buckle them up when driving. Keep them safe and secure. Do not drive with your pet in your lap, that can be extremely dangerous. Also, keep pet paws and face inside the vehicle at all times.
- Take frequent breaks, maybe every 2-3 hours, so you can allow for exercise and bathroom breaks.
- Keep the car temperature under regulation. That said, do not leave your pet in a parked car, the temperatures can easily shoot up, and that's not safe. Same goes for music, keep their sensitive ears away from blasting loud music.
Things to keep in mind when flying with a pet in the cabin.
- Animals 20 pounds or less are allowed to travel inside the cabin with an adult, but there is a restriction on the number of pets in the cabin. So, you will have to make reservations with the airline for your pet as soon as possible.
- Try a non-stop flight if possible. Use the pet relief station ( available at airports) before travel, and if you have a layover.
- Keep treats, food, toys and a favorite blanket with you for your pet, especially in case of delays, or your baggage getting lost.
- Check with the airline beforehand to make sure you have the correct pet carrier. Always place your pet crate on the floor under your seat, or in a designated area the airline has set aside for takeoff, landing and turbulence. Never place the carrier in the overhead bin, even if the airline staff asks you to do so.
- Use ice cubes for your pets to suck on during takeoff. Swallowing will unplug their ears and will make takeoffs or landings a little comfortable.
- Do not use medications or tranquilize your pet, that can affect breathing. Try Thunder Shirt, it helps with nervous pets. Check with your vet for all these possible situations.
Things to keep in mind when flying with a pet in cargo.
- This is generally not something we would recommend, if it can be avoided, just leave them home with a care-taker. But sometimes, such a situation happens, especially if you have a large animal. Check with the airline, you will have to make special reservations for your pet, and some airlines do not even allow cargo pet travel.
- The best option is to choose direct flights to wherever your destination is. Temperatures are usually controlled inside cargo, but the pet will have to endure extreme temperatures during loading and unloading, or some mishandling by the crew.
- Label your pets carrier with the sign - Live Animal. Attach your name, phone number, address, and the destination address. When traveling internationally, translate the sign in the local language as well. Hopefully, your precious cargo is treated with care.
- When selecting a crate, and if the airline allows, invest in something where your pet can stand up easily. Make sure the bottom of the crate is waterproof, and it is very well ventilated. Freeze a water bowl to be placed inside the crate to help your pet stay hydrated.
- Make certain that you get a notification when your pet has been loaded into the plane.
- Let the cabin crew know that you have a pet in the cargo, so they can keep an eye on the pressure and the temperature maintenance.
Reserve a hotel room that's pet-friendly.
- Not all hotels allow pets, there are some that do and they charge you extra for that. Verify to check with the hotel about fees, amenities and programs that they have for pets sleeping in your rooms.
- Get details about the rules. For example, some hotels do not allow pets on their furniture. If your pet makes the room dirty, be aware that there could be extra cleaning fees, and it could be steep.
There you have it, some tips and tricks that will save you and your pet some serious distress. It is very important that your pet enjoys the trip as well. Just like humans, their experiences affect their behavior for future travels. It's a little extra work, but it is well worth the effort. So, enjoy your travel, your destinations and have amazing experiences with your favorite furry friend by your side.
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