Traveling with pets can be rewarding for both you and your furry friends, but only if it’s done right. If you rush it or fail to plan properly, you can stress your pet out, causing more headaches for you on the trip and even after you return home. Before you travel with your pets, it is essential to adhere to a few recommended veterinarian guidelines, transport regulations and good-all common sense.
Consider Your Destination
It is common practice to ensure that your accommodation destination welcomes our furry friends. Certain accommodation establishments do not welcome pets due to possible damage to their interior decoration and in recent years, a growing concern about pet allergies that may affect future guests. The best advice is to check before departing and not leave it to chance.
Traveling with Pets By Car
The most common transportation method when traveling short to medium distance is using the family car. When traveling with your pet by car, it is a good practice to follow these suggestions:
- Do not allow your pet to roam free within the vehicle, but ensure they are kept in a pet travel box, crate or harness.
- If traveling with a dog, allowing his or her head out the window can be harmful, if not outright dangerous.
- In their immediate space, keep away objects that might harm them (or yourself), during an emergency stop. However, do place items that are familiar to them such as a soft toy or blanket to keep them clam.
- Dogs in particular are susceptible to motion sickness, so avoid over feeding before the journey and do not feed your dog while moving. When you stop to have a break, offer them a snack supplemented with a high protein treat and of course water.
- Depending on the pet, you should allow them to stretch their legs as you do. A short walk and a chance to alleviate their needs will do wonders for the reminder of the journey.
- While on break, never ever leave your pet in the car with the windows closed. Even with the windows slightly open, the car can quickly turn into an oven. When you are out and about, take your pet with you.
Using Modern Pharmaceuticals
There are equal amount of pharmaceuticals designed to medicate pets during travel, as there are for us humans. The best advice on this matter is to consult with your vet rather than self prescribe. In some cases, the stress in which the animal is under may require the use of modern medication, while in other cases your voice and attitude will suffice to keep the animal calm. There is a growing concern that reliance on medication will make even a shorn non-holiday related journey harder to complete without sedatives. Your vet will likely bring up this subject of dependency and you will have to take a decision on whether to use sedatives or not.
Traveling By Plane
Traveling with pets by plane is a “whole ‘nother ballgame”, to coin a phrase! Naturally the first step is to check airline and airport regulations depending on the type and size of your pet. Your airline of choice will usually display the most accurate regulations at the time. However, you must also check the regulations at your travel destination country that many neglect to do. Contact the consular office at the destination if you are unsure. A few tips can make the journey easier for the pet and less stressful for you.
- Your pet will be traveling by crate or pet box. Before entering the terminal, ensure they are already in the crate or box.
- The crate or box should include a calming and familiar item like a soft toy or blanket.
- Similarly to car travel, do not over feed your pet before the journey. However, ensure they have had sufficient water.
- When the airport staff takes your pet, avoid making a scene. Your pet is not the first to travel by plane and airport staff many of which are pet owners themselves will take good care of your furry treasure.
Arriving At the Destination
Traveling, in particular over long distances does not come naturally to most pets. Dogs and cats are territorial animals so when you arrive at your destination you should allow them to explore the new area under your supervision. A walk around the grounds will allow them to experience the new smells and sounds under your supervision and do what nature calls after a long trip 😉
Safety Tips for Your Pet
There are some basic things that you need to gather before you set off on a trip of any length with your pet.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and you have a copy of its health records, especially its rabies vaccination.
- A name tag for the collar is essential. It should contain contact information, especially your cell phone number. A picture of your pet is also a good idea if it happens to get lost.
- If your pet is not healthy, or is too old, it might be kinder to put it in a kennel for the duration of your trip. Another choice is a pet sitter. They come to your house at established intervals to feed and water your pet. If your pet needs walking, they will do that too.
- If you are going to a motel or a campground, check ahead to see what their pet regulations are. This is critical if you are traveling with your pet on an airplane. You will surely need some type of pet carrier.
- You should have a basic first aid kit for your pet. Antiseptic ointment, bandages, tweezers and eye drops should be included. If you are going to be in an area where there are lots of ticks and fleas, an application of an insect repellant would be prudent.
When traveling with pets, here are some things to consider on the trip itself.
- Your pet must be restrained in your car. There are many styles of harnesses for dogs. A harness will allow your pet to look out the window and to move around a bit. Cats will do better in crates. However, even if your pet is secured in a crate, the crate itself must be anchored to something stationary in the car.
- Do not allow your pet to hang its head out the window. It could easily be hurt by some object outside the car, not to mention the bugs that could fly into its eyes.
- Make frequent stops to allow your pet some exercise and also to “take care of business”. Of course this involves cleanup too, so be sure to bring a pooper scooper and plastic bags.
- Provide moderate food and water for your pet. It’s best if you use bottled water or bring some of your own water in a jug. Many pets react negatively to water that they are not used to drinking.
- If your pet does tend to get carsick, you can install seat protectors which are easy to clean. Don’t forget to bring some type of spray cleaner and plenty of paper towels to make the job easier.
- Be sure to bring a leash so your pet doesn’t run away when you let it out of the car.
When you reach your destination, you want your pet to be comfortable and relaxed in its new surroundings. Try these following tips.
- Bring your pet’s own food and water. Now is not the time to start a new food regimen. You may want to try new recipes on your outdoor grill, but your special friend will do best on the “tried and true” menu.
- Having its own pet bed goes a long way to getting your pet to settle down at night.
- Likewise, having its special blanket and a few familiar toys helps to ensure that your pet enjoys its trip.
- If you are staying in a motel, you will probably have to restrain your pet in a carrier. If you have to leave your pet in the room for a short time, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign out. You don’t want the housekeeping staff to startle your pet. It’s a good idea to notify the front desk too.
- If you are camping, whether in a RV or a tent, you can attach a long leash to your pet’s harness and put its water just at the end of the length of the leash so it can’t knock it over. Some family camping tents have multiple rooms and even a screened outdoor room, making it easier to corral your pet at night.
I hope these guidelines help you