Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a huge animal lover, so it’s no surprise that one of the first things that comes to mind when I’m planning a trip is what will happen to my pets. Luckily, a simple solution for me is to just get someone to take care of them while I’m gone, but what if I wanted to take them with me?
Should I even bring my pet on a trip in the first place?
Before making any further plans to bring your pet along for your next adventure, consider if it’s worth it to begin with. Some animals (especially old or sickly ones) are easily stressed out, especially when faced with an unexpected change of environment and the journey to get there. Like people, stress in animals can take a negative toll on their health. If your pet is easily stressed, it’s probably best to spare them the trip altogether and leave them in the care of somebody you trust. You should always consider the happiness and safety of your pet before making decisions involving them.
How should I prepare before traveling with my pet?
If you think that traveling won’t be a big problem for your pet, your next step should be finding out what requirements must be met for pet travel. If you’re traveling by airplane, make sure you go to the airline’s website or call them for their requirements. Prices for bringing your pet vary depending on the airline, pet species, and pet size, but you should expect to pay at least 100 dollars to bring them. Most airlines will also want you to have a health certificate signed by your veterinarian and may require them to have certain shots (animals that are not old enough for shots are usually not allowed to travel). A trip to the vet before traveling is a must for your companion. In addition to getting all the documents and shots that you need, it’s also a good idea to ask if your pet is healthy enough to travel (they will most likely give them a check up regardless, but it doesn’t hurt to ask). Another big thing to consider is getting a pet microchip. This chip is implanted underneath your pet’s skin and will contain valuable information about them, such as your contact information, that can be easily accessed by bringing them to any veterinarian’s office or animal hospital. You never know what could happen to your pet while traveling, so it will give you peace of mind to know that you can easily be reached if your pet is lost.
If your pet is traveling by car, you should still bring them to the vet for a check up and microchip if they do not already have one. You should also pay extra attention to your pet packing list (I’ll go into this more later in the article). One important thing to have is a comfortable carrier so that your pet will be safe and secure in the car (be sure to restrain the carrier using a seat belt), as well as plastic bags and paper towels for cleaning up after them.
No matter how you’re traveling, always double check that you have pet friendly accommodation! Some hotels do not allow any animals at all, or may only allow cats or certain dog breeds. Make sure you call your hotel before you book it and ask if your specific type of pet is allowed.
What should I pack for my pet?
Here is what should be on your packing list when traveling with your pet:
- Food and water dishes
- Pet food
- Bottled water
- Collar and ID tag
- Medication (if needed)
- Animal first aid kit
- Litter box and litter (for cats) or pee pads (if you use this with your dog)
- Grooming supplies
- Stain remover/deodorizer
- Paper towels
- Pet’s favorite toy or blanket
How can I keep my pet comfortable while traveling?
As soon as you decide to take your pet on vacation with you, get them used to being in a carrier and a car. The more they experience being in a carrier and a moving vehicle, the faster they can adjust to it. This will prevent them from being overly uncomfortable on your way to your destination. Be sure that the carrier has enough room for your pet to be able to turn around comfortably and lay down. On the day of the trip, make sure your pet has eaten, but not immediately before you take off, as this can cause them to have an upset stomach. It is recommended that you feed them about four hours before your flight (or car ride). When it comes to water, staying hydrated is very important, so continue to make sure your pet has access to water up until it is time to take off. It also helps to give them small treats (not too many, though) before the flight and during, if possible. This can help ease their nerves a bit. One thing you should never do is sedate your pet before your flight (unless your veterinarian deems it necessary). Being sedated can affect an animal’s respiratory and cardiovascular functions. These effects can be enhanced by the pressure from high altitude travel. There have been many cases of animals dying from over sedation for travel, so this is definitely something that should not be taken into your own hands. Like I said earlier, if your pet does not seem fit to travel then simply do not travel with them, or if you must take them then be sure to get a veterinarian’s opinion on sedation first if you think it may be needed.
Did this article make you feel more prepared to travel the world with your furry friend? Let me know in the comments!