Planning to take a trip with your furry companion? You’re in good company. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by PetRelocation.com, over 60% of respondents had taken at least one trip with their pet during the calendar year.
While visiting a new destination might be fun for you, it could be really stressful for your dog or cat. So before hitting the road, here are a few recommendations on how to make the trip special and comfortable for everyone.
Before You Leave
Because the safety of your little friend is important, we strongly recommend that you take your pet to the vet beforehand. This will make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. You can also obtain a health certificate, which is often required when you take your pet to a pet-friendly hotel. This may also be required prior to any international travel.
While you are there, be sure to ask your doctor about any potential health risks you may encounter on your journey along with the necessary preventive measures. This is also a great opportunity to stock up on any prescribed medication that your pet might need along with an extra prescription in case you need a refill. Finally, ask about any recommendations if your pet is prone to motion sickness.
Depending on the duration of your trip, it also may be advisable to enroll your pet into an obedience refresher course. This is especially important if your trip will require your pet to be inside with limited exposure to other people or animals. You should also look ahead to map out a list of animal clinics near your destination.
Traveling by Car
Some pets enjoy riding in the car, but most unfortunately associate it with a trip to the vet. To help with this anxiety, experts recommend that you take the time to retrain your pet so that they will view a car journey as pleasurable. This can be accomplished by taking short trips to places that are considered fun, such as to the dog park or the drive-thru.
To ensure everyone’s comfort on a car trip, it’s recommended that you let your pet out every four hours to stretch their legs and get a drink of water. Just remember to make sure Fido is leashed prior to opening the car door to keep him from running away!
Flying the Friendly Skies
Air travel can be particularly tricky with pets and the trickiness varies depending on the airline you choose. There are many airlines that do not allow animals on their flights. Make sure to inquire about animal shipping and welfare policies before booking.
It’s always best to have your pet beside you in the passenger cabin, but many carriers only permit animals in cargo hold, especially larger breeds that can’t easily be “checked in” as under-your-seat luggage.
If putting Fido in the cargo hold is the only option, be sure you are aware of the potential hazards. Because a plane’s cargo hold is not cooled or heated until take off, your four-legged pal could be exposed to extreme temperatures for an extended period of time. Therefore, it might be best to consider the time of year when planning your trip to avoid any potential problems.
Considering bringing your pet on an international journey? Depending on where you travel, you might be able to obtain a pet passport! Initially created in 2001 to cover animals entering the United Kingdom, this document has become the standard for pets traveling from the United States, Canada and Australia.
Unfortunately, this document doesn’t cover every country, which is why it’s important to check out the nation’s immigration policy prior to your trip. In most situations, you can bring your dog or cat without incident. However, many places require a mandatory quarantine of any animal, which could create hardship depending on the length of your stay.
Once You’ve Arrived
Once you have arrived at your location, let your pet out to give them a feel for their new surroundings. In many cases, they may be disoriented from their journey, so be watchful for any dramatic changes in their behavior.
Once they have fully acclimated to your new lodgings, you can slowly introduce food and water. You can also provide them with their favorite toys and treats to put them at ease.
There are a number of great resources available to assist pet owners when traveling. Here are a few of our favorites!
Bring Fido: One of the internet’s most trusted (and detailed) source of information for those looking to travel with their dog. http://bringfido.com.
Pet Travel: An excellent resource for international pet travel. They also provide information on how to obtain the pet passport. http://pettravel.com
AAA: Long recognized as the travel experts-they now have a “pet book” that helps you find pet-friendly hotels and travel accommodations http://aaa.com/petbook
The US State Department: Want to find out which countries require mandatory quarantines? The State Department keeps an up-to-date site that easily searchable. http://state.gov/m/fsi/tc/c10442.htm
Fido Factor: Commonly described as the “Yelp of the dog directions”, this app rates everything from hotels to restaurants that welcome your pet. http://fidofactor.com
Featured Image from allcatscarecenter.com