Humans are always on the go. Seemingly, our pets want to be on the go with us. For many, traveling with pets is a risky and daunting task. There is a lot to take into consideration when planning a trip that may not be the most pet friendly experience. However, there are a number of ways to make the most of your trip while also bringing your furry friend along. Whether you are traveling by car, plane or some other form of transportation, take stock of every aspect of your travel to ensure that your pets will have a safe and comfortable journey alongside you.
Prep your Pet by the Vet
If you are considering taking your pet with you as you travel, then you need to check in with your veterinarian for a number of reasons. First, ask your vet if they think your pet is healthy enough for traveling. Tell them some specifics of the trip such as the mode of transportation, where you will be staying, and the types of environments they will be experiencing. All of this information will help your veterinarian decide if your pet is healthy to travel with you.
For those who are traveling by plane, you will need to get a certification of health for the airline. All airlines require them so be sure to get it well in advance. You may also want to consider medication for your pet while on the flight, however, this is not recommended. Vets are able to prescribe pets certain drugs to help them relax or sleep during a flight. This is something to ask you vet. It’s also worth noting that most vets and even some airlines advise that you not travel by air with brachycephalic cats or dogs, as their airways are generally restricted and more sensitive to changes in the oxygen levels of their environment.
Water? Check. Food? Check. Vaccination Records?
Packing for yourself won’t be the biggest challenge when prepping for travel with a pet. You’ll want to be sure that you pack well for your pet, which is going to have a strange assortment of requirements that you might not be used to if you travel alone. For example, you’ll want to make sure you have food on hand, and it should be the food they’re used to so as to avoid any dietary complications while you travel. You’ll also want a steady and readily available supply of good clean water. A leash, a collar with identification, any necessary grooming tools, a familiar toy or two, a comfortable blanket for their carrier. It’s an extensive list, but it will help your pet be as comfortable as possible during any particularly long travel plans.
It’s also important to bring or have access to a copy of your pet’s vaccination and health records. Some states or other countries will have different requirements for traveling pets, and most will want to ensure that your pet is up to date and healthy. You may also want to consider multiple forms of identification, from chips to tags to current photos in case the unthinkable happens and you are separated from your pet during your travels.
Familiarize Your Pet with Travel
Traveling via car is one of the most common forms of travel in the United States. Preparing your pet for a car ride is super simple. It will not only make them more comfortable, but also make you more comfortable. Get your furry friend used to the car by taking short trips around the block. You can also just bring them into the vehicle without it moving. That will help them familiarize themselves with the space.
It is crucial to note that you should NEVER leave your pet in a car unattended. It is important that someone is with them at all times. Keep in mind the vehicle’s temperature. It needs to be a comfortable temperature so that they can get comfortable in the space. No matter what temperature the car is, you should not leave your pet in the car alone for any amount of time. Heat stroke or other issues could affect your pet rapidly, and it’s never worth the risk to your pets health.
Speaking of Crates
It is important to pick the right crate for your animal companion. You want to make sure it is leakproof starting out. This will prevent any bodily fluids from escaping the crate while in the midst of travel. Like mentioned before, leave a soft blanket or bed inside for the pet to sleep on. Make sure the crate has plenty of ventilation for your pet to receive air.
Picking up a crate water bottle so that your companion can stay hydrated is also something to include. A favorite toy will also help your furry friend stay comfortable within the space. Flying travelers will want to purchase “Live Animal” stickers to stick to the sides of the crate. These stickers will give airline employees a notice of what is inside. They also allow you to write your information on the crate in case of an emergency.
The Location in Which You are Traveling
Traveling to new places can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to remember the practical side of things, particularly when traveling with your pet. Familiarize yourself with your destination before and during your travel. Learn where the nearest animal hospital or veterinarian will be in case of emergency, and keep their contact info in your phone or on hand.
You should also consider the physical place that you intend to stay. Hotels, hostels, and Airbnb’s tend to have fair strict pet rules that vary by location. Learn the policies of your temporary residence to avoid any excessive charges or being turned away for some pet related policy. In most cases, the limitations are set by breed, weight, or type of animal.
As a final point on destination, be considerate when traveling with your pet. Some places don’t allow off-leash pets, and most places frown on pets that aren’t capable of maintaining an outdoors bathroom policy during your stay. Beyond that, other people traveling with their pets may be present, so you should exercise the standard cautions if you think your pet will interact with another. Again, be sure your pet is healthy and fully up to date on all immunizations and other necessary medical checks to prevent illness or other unwanted consequences.
Traveling with Your Pet
There’s a lot to consider when you travel with a pet. While they can be excellent companions at home and abroad, many pets don’t take well to the means of travel, and often times you’re significantly limited in your travel options and accommodations due to the semi-scarcity of places that are completely and totally pet friendly. It’s worth noting that some pets, cats in particular, do not typically travel well. Beyond their physical needs, it may also stress your pets to leave their familiar surroundings.
If you absolutely must travel with your pet, do what you can to familiarize them with the methods of transportation and other accompanying concerns before doing so. Last minute travel with pets can be dangerous, expensive, and unhealthy for both you and your pets. So make a plan early and stick to it if you plan to take your furry friends along.