Traveling alone or with family involves lots of planning things in advance. But when you add your pet to the equation, things can get a bit more complicated. Your four-legged friend will undoubtedly give you joy when accompanying you on your travels, but you have to do it responsibly.
I’ll show you how to travel with your pet, and what are the steps you must follow to ensure their safety.
1. Study the pet travel laws
Depending on where you want to travel to, each country or region has its own rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with pets. Of course, keeping up with your pet’s health and vaccinations is a priority no matter if you’re planning to take them on a trip or not, but some countries or regions require different intervals, for example, for rabies vaccinations. Documentations such as a passport, proof of quarantine, and a clean bill of health signed by your veterinarian might also come into play.
Airlines have their own requirements as well. From proof of health to certain crate requirements, they vary depending on the airlines. It’s essential to study pet travel laws a few months in advance, to make sure you do everything on time.
2. Buy the essential items for traveling with your pet
Depending on how you’re planning to travel, you should purchase a few essential items required for the trip. First, no matter how you travel, you must purchase a custom tag for your beloved four-legged companion. This should include the address of residence, country, and phone number. Losing our pet would probably be the last thing on your mind, but the possibility still exists, and this way you’ll be able to protect them and get them home as soon as possible.
The vet may also talk to you about the benefits of a microchip. It’s a non-invasive procedure that would allow your pet to be scanned and returned to you in case anything happened.
If you travel by plane, purchasing an approved travel crate is extremely important. The crate must be approved by the airline prior to flying, must be tagged and labeled accordingly. If your pet is not used to staying in a crate, prior crate training is essential in order to reduce their stress.
Other items that you might find helpful in any case, are collapsible and portable bowls, such as this hassle-free pet traveling kit, that even comes with a poop-bag dispenser or this multifunctional tool that you can hang in your car, and that can serve as leak-free water or food dispenser, and a poop-bag dispenser and shovel.
If you travel by car, keeping your pet secure with a safety belt should be as important as anyone else in the car. You can use a harness or a pet booster seat.
One of the most important things, which is not required but which you may want to consider, is pet travel insurance. This type of insurance is fairly new, but some offer international coverage for accidents and other issues. It’s essential to study the coverage carefully before purchasing it.
3. Keep your pet safe
Aside from getting your pet used to the crate, harness, and booster seat prior to traveling, during your trip you have to also take certain precautions. If you travel by car is important to make frequent stops. Your pet shouldn’t be allowed to roam in the car, so giving them the freedom to move once in a while is very important to their overall stress levels and health.
If possible, plan your trip in later spring or early fall, so your pet won’t be uncomfortable because of extreme temperatures. Don’t overfeed your pet and try to keep the same feeding schedule they have at home, and always have food close-by during the trip. Bringing your pet’s favorite toy and blanket is always a good idea, to give them a small familiar comfort.
If you travel by plane, you should keep in mind the following:
Check-in last if your pet can travel with you in the cabin, and check-in early if your pet travels as cargo.
Never give your pet any sedatives, as it can cause them breathing problems. Try to use only direct flights, or if possible, use alternatives instead of traveling by plane. This is especially important if your pet is a breed that is known to have breathing issues, such as pugs and bulldogs.
Also, don’t be afraid to let the staff on the plane know about your pet, so they take extra precautions about the air pressure.
Don’t feed them a few hours before boarding, to avoid them aspiring food in their airways if they throw up.
Overall, while traveling with your pet, treat them like any other member of the family, and take all the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and happiness. Planning in advance will help you be aware of every step you must take to ensure the well-being of your pet.