In 2012 the APPA (American Pet Products Association) estimated that 62% of US households have at least one pet. It is therefore not surprising that from time to time pet owners will take their precious pets traveling be it a planned holiday or an unexpected necessity to travel somewhere. Before doing so, it is essential to adhere to a few recommended veterinarian guidelines, transport regulations and good-all common sense.
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 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 – 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 😉