5 Things to Know When Traveling with a Pet
Having a pet as a traveling companion can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Taking your beloved furry friend on vacation gives you the freedom to explore your destination without being alone. You also eradicate the stress of leaving your pet at home. However, traveling can be stressful on your pet. Going through an airport and boarding a plane in a small kennel isn’t exactly the epitome of relaxation. So, if you’re facing a trip with your pet, keep the following tips in mind.
Always Research Airline Pet Rules
Though there is a common thread with airline pet rules, there are differences that could prevent you from boarding. Each airline will have different carrier specifications and limits on pet size and weight. Furthermore, most airlines only allow a certain number of pets on each flight. Double check these guidelines for a smooth airport experience.
Never Place a Pet in the Cargo Hold
Large dogs are placed with the luggage in the cargo hold of an airplane. These areas are not heated or cooled regardless of extreme temperatures. As reported by the airlines themselves, numerous pets have died in the cargo hold or on the tarmac. Even companies that advertise pet-safe cargo holds should be treated with caution. If you have a large dog you want to transport, see if the airline will allow you to purchase a seat for your dog; if not, consider driving to your destination. It is not safe for your pet to travel in the cargo hold.
Each Country Has Different Animal Import Rules
Each country will have its own specifications for bringing a pet across the border. If you fail to prepare your pet properly, he can be confiscated and quarantined for months at a time. Be sure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and acquire any proof of health you need when you arrive at your destination.
Have the right equipment for the car
Your pet will be safest if secured in a well-ventilated crate or carrier while traveling in the car. Larger animals might be more comfortable wearing a safety harness in the backseat, possibly with a divider between the front of the car and back. Pack a supply kit with bowls, extra food, bottled water, plastic baggies, and any medication your pet might need. Some places may require you to have vaccination records if crossing state lines, so keep those handy, as well. If it’s going to be a particularly long trip, be sure to take breaks frequently enough that your pet get sufficient potty and water breaks.
Calming Travel Remedies Exist
Pets can feel stress when traveling just like a person can. Many natural pet stores or grocery stores will provide calming tabs or drops for your pet to relax during your trip. Remember to check the labels of these remedies and avoid anything that contains substances to which your pet is allergic. ThunderShirts can also be an option for calming your anxious pet when you travel.
Bring Smells of Home
If your pet will be stuck in a carrier for an extended period of time on your trip, try bringing a blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you to comfort him. As his protector, your smell is very soothing to your pet and can help relax him even in the confusion of a busy airport. Favorite treats are also a good idea to take along on your travels to make your pet feel more comfortable. Similarly, if you’re traveling because you’re moving with your pet, it’s a great idea to put out familiar items as soon as you get to your destination. Whether you’re at a hotel or a new home, a familiar bed or toy, for example, will help them feel at ease and settle in more quickly.
Don’t forget that because your pet will be traveling in a completely foreign environment, you’ll want to use a secure, well-fitting harness or martingale collar for the duration of the trip. Even if you typically use a collar and leash, your pet is going to be engulfed in new sights, smells, and people. That kind of stress can cause even the most dutiful pets to slip out of their collar and flee. Be sure your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date, as well.
Though traveling with your pet can be stressful, it is worth it in the long run. A person walking a dog in a strange place is automatically assumed to be a local, offering you a whole new perspective on your destination. Furthermore, having your dog at your side can make vacationing less stressful for you too. So, if you can keep your pet safe in the process, it certainly is worth bringing your four-legged friend along for the trip. If you don’t think you can manage taking your pet with you, you can always consider a boarding service.
A Bit About Our Guest Blogger
Jessica is the creator of OurBestFriends.pet. Jessica lives in Dallas, Texas with her loving family (which includes 2 dachshunds and a black lab). She is a certified dog lover, and believes dogs are just about the greatest creatures on earth. She loves collecting and sharing photos of them. Jessica’s number one party tip is to let your furry friends have some fun with friends too!