Pets. Those furry friends of ours who make our lives a lot happier. Be it their ways of showing affection or their natural quirks, most of us cannot imagine a life without them. Almost 90% of the world population has pets. And a majority of them would have some amazing memories of traveling with these lovable creatures.
The love and undying loyalty we have in a pet are almost incomparable to any other. They are also so much fun to be with. I own two labradors myself. And that look of utter trust and love in their eyes just lights up my mood instantaneously.
So, I should know when I say that, when it comes to summers and vacations, one of the things that can definitely improve your chances of fun, is traveling with your pets.
Of course, there’s a lot of safety precautions for you to take care of when you’re traveling with pets. There’s also a bit of the added pressure of your pet’s life depending on you too. And there are times when your pet prefers staying at your home.
Like for example, dogs would rather stay in the comfort of their homes and other familiar surroundings instead of tagging along with you on a road trip. (But yes, they would also prefer you to stay at home.) Cats would prefer their homes even over you. (Yes, that is sad but it’s a fact.)
But if you do everything right, you get to have a lot of fun and so does your pet. After all, life was meant for great friends and a greater adventure together.
There are always three steps in any journey. The start, the actual journey, and the end. So here too, there are a few steps for each of these three parts of your journey while traveling with pets.
1. Travel Prep (aka The Beginning)
This is the time when you prepare for all your undertakings during the journey. So, there are just a few simple yet important things to keep in mind. Oh, do keep one thing in mind. We’re playing with your pet’s safety so it’s best not to economize on any detail.
a) How to plan properly before traveling with pets?
The first thing to note is how much to save up for your trip. Even if it is just a road trip or a long flight to the Bahamas. (I’ve never been there but the place is so beautiful and I kinda have a liking to the word. Sounds like an evil laugh doesn’t it?) There are a lot of factors to keep in mind.
Some of those things would involve the cost of the crates, the pet food, and extra pet food, the first aid kits for your pet, some toys, pet insurance, emergencies, flight, and hotel expenses.
You also need to think of possible situations while still away, that might require you to ship your pet back. You should always have a plan intact for the different things that your pet might need.
Make sure you have a friend or a trusted acquaintance both in your home place as well as your destination who can be entrusted with taking care of your pet in case such a situation arises. Ensure that you also have your vet’s contact information ready and easily accessible.
b) What are the things to know before buying a crate for your pet?
It should be correctly sized for your pet, big enough for them to move about a bit but not so big that they are lost in it. It should have proper ventilation in it. (The door doesn’t count.) If you’re going by flight, make sure that you read up on the airline regulations concerning the crates.
Moreover, look up IATA policies that help a lot while traveling with pets. Also, make sure that the inside of the crate is comfortable for your pet based on what they are used to. Ensure that the crate has been marked with your pet’s identifiers. In case you’re wondering about further container requirements, click here to check further instructions.
Another thing you could do is to get them accustomed to the carrier. You could leave it open within your house so that they can move in and out of it. This will reduce their stress while traveling because they are more familiar with their surroundings.
c) Is pet identification actually important?
The reason this has got a separate subheading of its own is to stress how important pet identification is. When traveling with pets, get a collar for them that has all important information like your pet’s name, your name and contact information, your vet’s information, and all.
Microchip implants are becoming very common and knowing that you could easily track your pet is also a great relief later.
d) Pet Health:
Just like you check up on your immunizations while traveling from one place to another, you need to ensure that your pet is perfectly healthy too when traveling with them. You might need to get blood tests, immunizations, microchip implantation, rabies certificates and all depending on the country you’re going to.
Check what all may be the requirements for your destination country here.
- Export and Import Policies in US
- EU Regulations
- Import policies in UK
- Export and Import Policies in India
Yup, we are onto step 2 of our list. This is the actual thing that you have been waiting for and maybe even worrying about. But I’m going to tell you one thing.
If you follow all these standard procedures, you won’t have to worry much, and you will have a very comfortable trip. These steps are designed to make sure that you’re the best Monica Geller version of you. (Any F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans here?)
a) How to ensure that your pet is comfortable while traveling?
Okay, this is an easy one surely. In fact, you may even be wondering that you have been doing this for long enough. But it’s not over yet, my friend.
- Make sure you have a first aid kit that has all the essentials like hydrogen peroxide, gauze pads, alcohol wipes, bandages, adhesive tape, ice pack, tweezers, scissors, towels, saline solutions, et cetera.
- Walk your pet or even play a good game with your pet before leaving so that they are tired during the travel and hence, they would cause less trouble during the trip.
- Ensure that your flights have fewer transfers and connections.
- Feed them a few hours before leaving. And then feed them after the trip. Make sure you feed them well after the journey because they are tired too and they need an energy booster.
- Guarantee that you don’t use strong sedatives or tranquilizers because this may prove to be fatal to them.
Not only do countries but also airlines have different regulations while transporting your pets. Always be ahead of these procedures and guidelines. All the regulations regarding the transport of pets in different airlines can be found online. Double-check on these always.
If your pet is small enough, it’s always better to carry your pet on board. This way you can guarantee their care personally and you’re less worried. Check the guidelines you’ll have to follow in order to do that. Direct nonstop flights are always best. Also, respect the other passengers who may be allergic or terrified of your pet.
c) Road trips
One of the biggest precautions you need to take while traveling with pets is that you should never leave your pet unattended in your vehicle. It may just be 10 minutes but even that can adversely affect your pet. The car may heat up or freeze over pretty quickly.
Another thing to note during a trip is to have a secure harness or a crate for your pet. This would prevent unnecessary situations from arising. Keep enough food and water stocked up in your car itself so that their energies don’t decrease.
However, also make sure to have frequent stops so that you can alleviate their restlessness. This way, they remain in good spirits too.
d) Other transportation
Even if you don’t go by conventional methods such as these, you’ll still need to be concerned over your pet’s safety and comfort. A crate or carrier would be ideal even in these modes of transportation so that they don’t become anxious in unfamiliar situations.
Try to call them up or check it up online so that you know their pet policy.
3. The Destination
So, once you have reached your destination, you have also reached the end of all your concerns. As long as you have obviously checked for pet-friendly accommodations in the starting itself.
This wouldn’t come out as a surprise to you obviously, but all hotels and vacation rentals do not accept pets. So, make sure you have checked for that possibility at the beginning itself.
And knowing that your hotel is pet friendly isn’t enough. You have got to enquire about the rooms as well. This is another detail that you can definitely look up online as most reputed hotels do have online websites.
In case you feel that none of the hotels are convenient or comfortable, try to get pet-friendly vacation rentals through sites such as Airbnb.
Traveling with Pets: Epilogue
(trying a novel way, please don’t mock)
Finally, I’ve got both good news and bad news. (I always like to go with the bad news first.) Your experience of the journey falls entirely upon you. It is your level of preparation that decides whether the trip is enjoyable or stress-filled havoc.
You also have the added pressure of your pet enjoying the trip or choosing to disavow you after getting back. But the good news is: (drum roll please) if you follow all the things, I’ve asked you to so far, there’s no way you can go wrong. So, despite the pressure, you’re almost guaranteed to have the best vacation in your life.