For most of us the best trips are the ones we take with the entire family, including our beloved pets. Especially as we re-emerge into the world with little travel breakaways to nearby beautiful places.
It is always memorable to take our pups along on our adventures and have quality time with them. From booking pet-friendly flights to accommodations, you can make sure you and your furry companion have an ideal breakaway. But, if your pet is old, has a health condition, or is not used to travelling, it can be challenging.
Read on for some of the best tips you’ll need when travelling with your dog or cat.
1. Take frequent breaks if travelling by car
If travelling by car it’s easy to make the journey flexible. While you can stop the car at a gas station and use a washroom, your pet will need frequent breaks along the drive too. Let your dog or cat out – always on a leash, and allow them to wander around a little to relieve themselves. For smaller pets, keep a litter box inside to make it easier for them. Carry ‘poo bags’ as you don’t want to leave that kind of mark as you go. Besides that, keep an eye on your pet for signs that they are okay. Long stares, agitated behaviour, or restlessness are sure signs that your pets need a break. That and barking – as is my Tuscan and Sienna’s way.
2. Have the necessary medications and essentials
Almost every pet has a favourite plush or chew toy that they can’t do without. If yours does you must carry it along to make them feel comfortable and so that they have something familiar from home to comfort them while they’re away with you exploring new lands. For those travelling to colder areas, they’ll need appropriate clothing, like dog coats, to keep them safe from the harsh weather conditions. In addition to that, remember to take their medications as well as preventatives for flea, tick, and heartworm. While it may sound absurd, your pet can get an upset stomach from the travels.
3. Train your dog before the trip
Whether you are a parent to a tiny kitten or a big grown dog like mine, it is always easier to travel with them if they have basic training. Before you plan a trip teach them basic commands like sit, stay, or stop. You can work on teaching them basic manners and obedience to make the journey easier for you both. You can take help from videos and tutorials that are available online to train your pet or find a dog training school if you’re struggling.
With your pet well-trained and familiar with staying home alone, you can leave them in the hotel or a rental apartment/home while you go for meals and exploring. Moreover, with a well-behaved pet, people around you will be ready to accommodate and adjust to them and likely give them extra love and treats too.
4. Make sure your pet is microchipped and tagged
An excellent way to ensure a pet’s safety is by making sure they have an ID. You can put a tag on their collar with your updated phone number, which will help you find them if your pet gets lost in a foreign land. You can also get them microchipped before travelling. It is a tiny grain-sized chip that goes inside your pet and contains a permanent ID and your contact information. The authorities can use this information to contact you and help you find your cat or dog.
5. Check if your flight allows pets and what the restrictions are.
When travelling by air, the first and most important thing you need to do is confirm the airline’s policies and ensure that pets are allowed on board. Each airline has different rules and regulations. Besides the airline’s specific policies, the government keeps updating the rules and these may have been further influenced by Covid-19 protocols.
An amendment to the laws now restricts dogs and cats with snub noses from travelling by air and there are currently 21 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats that cannot fly with United Airlines due to health concerns. The total hours of travel and the number of connecting flights are also restricted by government regulations. Do your research and find an airline that not only permits you to take your pet along but also ensures that the journey is comfortable.
NOTE that sometimes the animals have to go in the hold.
6. Get your pet familiar with the crate.
If you’re flying, from the moment you leave home till the time you return, your pet will spend most of its time in a crate and may not be familiar with this. To get them accustomed, leave your pet in the crate for a few hours a day leading up to your trip. To make sure your furry companion is extra comfortable, you can keep them with you throughout the flight – this applies to small animals as per airline restrictions. For that, get a soft-sided carrier that is well-ventilated and leakproof. It will give them enough space to move around and be comfortable through the journey.
7. Avoid using sedatives
Many pet parents use sedatives and tranquillisers to help ease the journey, but it can do them more harm than good. Sedatives make it challenging for your pet to control their body temperatures, and they may feel too hot or too cold. While travelling by air, the altitude pressure can also increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems that can prove fatal for your pet.
Travelling with your pets is very rewarding but takes a bit of planning, for their sake and yours. Hoping these pointers help keep your pet safe, comfortable, and having as much fun on the trip as you are.
That way it’ll promise to be a great bonding experience for the whole family.