Traveling with your pet can be a fun, memorable experience. However, it takes preparation and planning to ensure everyone’s safety.
It is important that your pet be accustomed to car travel, especially in a carrier or harness. Make sure to start with short trips and gradually increase the length.
Preparation is Key
The first thing you need to do is make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. Ask your vet for a complete checkup and any vaccinations or health certificates that you will need. It is a good idea to get those done well in advance of your trip, especially if you are traveling to a different country where you will have to meet their requirements.
Your pet should be securely crated or otherwise restrained during the trip, so they cannot escape. Free-roaming pets in a car are a serious safety hazard to other passengers, as they can be injured by sudden braking or flying debris. They can also be stolen, or even killed. Make sure your pet’s crate or carrier has plenty of headroom and is well-labelled with your name and phone number. And don’t forget to microchip your pet, so if they do become lost during the trip, there is a better chance of them being returned to you.
Plan ahead to book direct flights whenever possible. This will cut down on stress for your pet, especially if they must travel in cargo hold during the flight. It is also a good idea to bring your pet’s favorite toys and blanket so they have something familiar to comfort them during the trip. Finally, remember to pack a travel kit, which should include their health records, food, water and medications.
Check Your Pet’s Health
Traveling can be stressful for many pets. Some may love to go on the road with their owners, while others prefer to stay home. If your pet is prone to car sickness, it is important to talk with your vet to find out how best to help them during the trip.
Make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date and their health records are in order. If your pet is traveling internationally, there are additional requirements such as proof of rabies vaccination.
Ask your vet to test any medications that can ease stress and anxiety symptoms during the trip. You should also have a collar that contains your name and contact information in case your pet becomes lost during the trip.
If your pet will be flying, book a direct flight to reduce the chances of it being lost or put in cargo that will get too hot or cold. If you have to fly cargo, request a spot that is not in the belly of the plane or underneath a seat, and make sure your carrier has enough room for the animal to stand up and turn around.
During the flight, make frequent stops so your pet can stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. For your own safety, avoid having a dog or cat stick its head or paw out the window; they can be injured by projectiles in the event of an accident.
Book Direct Flights
Many pet parents have difficulty finding information about safe international pet travel. The internet is filled with conflicting information and it is challenging to discern the good from the bad. This is why it is best to work with a professional pet shipping company that is experienced in relocating pets. They can help you make informed decisions and provide you with peace of mind.
During peak travel periods, such as summer and school breaks or year-end holidays, flights fill up more quickly so booking your pet’s flight early is important. If your move is during this time, it will be even more important to book a direct flight to avoid delays and increased stress.
It is also a good idea to get your dog or cat acclimated to their travel crate before the day of departure. Using treats and play to get them used to their crate will reduce their anxiety during transport.
If your pet is a snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breed, it may be easier for them to travel by ground for the first part of their trip rather than flying. These types of dogs and cats tend to have more breathing issues when stressed. Talk to your vet about this and see what he or she recommends. This can be a difficult decision, but one that will keep your pet happy and healthy.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
When it comes to traveling with your pet, safety is always a top priority. Unless your pet is a very experienced traveler, she should remain in the vehicle with you or a trusted pet sitter. If she’s a passenger in the cargo area, make sure she has two ID tags — one with your home address and another with your destination address (and an emergency contact number). Cats should be in a pet carrier and dogs in a harness that attaches to a seat belt.
Unfortunately, news stories about pets dying in hot cars begin popping up again at this time of year. Many people think these stories are just scare tactics or they assume it could never happen to their car. But the reality is, a car can become deadly in just 10 minutes and many factors beyond your control may keep you from returning to your car in a timely manner.
It’s important to work with a professional pet travel planner to find the best solution for your trip. They’ll evaluate your pet’s health and travel needs and help you book a direct flight to avoid long layovers in potentially dangerous weather conditions. They can also help you find accommodations that welcome your pet and provide the best possible care while in transit. And they can help you select a pet-safe carrier or harness and secure it properly for your trip.