If you’re a dog or cat lover, you probably don’t want to leave them at home when traveling. But planning a trip for a pet is different than simply planning for yourself.
One of the first things is a trip to your veterinary clinic. Let your veterinarian know about where you plan to travel. Depending on your destination additional vaccines or parasite control may be required or recommended.
Discuss what medication, if any, to give your pet to calm them down. Some drugs can interfere with the pet’s critical ability to regulate their body temperature.
Make sure to bring vaccination records and any medications on the trip.
If you are flying register your pet with the airline. Many carriers have a maximum number of pets that can travel aboard any one flight. Also make sure to check on crate or carrier dimensions and have as much identifying information as possible on both carrier and collar—including your home and destination addresses.
International destinations may have restrictions on pet, your airline or travel agent will be able to provide advice. Make sure to get this advice well in advance and not at the check-in counter hours before departure.
Many airlines handle pets through their Air Freight divisions, in which case your pet will need to be dropped off and picked up there at both ends of the journey. Allow extra time to accomplish these tasks. If you are rushing, this could be transferred to your pet and increase his stress and anxiety.
Humans take traveling in our stride, especially by air. For your pet air travel is something totally out of their realm and creates stress. Pack for your pet with a view to reducing their stress as much as possible. Bring plenty of extra food, toys, a blanket that reminds them of home, and a collapsible water bowl for on-the-fly hydration.
Check the weather for your destination, pets don’t adapt to tropical heats like humans.
Road trips may be a lot less stressful for your pets because they will not be separated from you as much. Protect your pet from getting lost by always attaching a leash before opening a car door to prevent your pet from getting loose.
Check that your pet is wearing an ID tag with your mobile phone number, and call the microchip company to make sure they have your most current contact information. Or better yet, consider outfitting your pet with a GPS collar.
Plan for a safe ride you’d never let a child ride in a car unrestrained. The same rule applies to your pet. Pets should ride in an area of the car where they can’t distract the driver, such as in the rear cargo area of an SUV. It’s also best to keep pets, especially small ones, out of the front passenger seat where they could be injured by an airbag.
They should be either in a crate that’s securely tied down to prevent shifting or buckled into a harness or restraint. And remember, car interiors can heat up fast, so never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle even if the windows are down.
Avoid car sickness If your pet isn’t used to riding in a car, you can get them accustomed to it in the weeks before the trip. Try spritzing their carrier with pheromones, which can have a calming effect. Start with very short rides. Zip around the block, and then gradually increase the length of the drive. Provide positive reinforcement by driving to a dog park or providing a treat after the ride.
If your pet seems nauseated, consult your veterinarian for motion sickness medications. When on the road, stop every few hours to give your pet fresh water, a potty break and a chance to stretch his or her legs.
Not all hotels allow pets. Make sure to clarify this at the time of booking. Pets will need to acclimatize themselves to the new surroundings. Don’t be in a rush to leave them on their own. Leave the TV on to give your pet some comforting background noise while you’re away.
Always keep the “do not disturb” sign on the door so that housekeeping doesn’t scare your pet, and request a room away from the elevator to minimize foot traffic in front of your door. The pet can get excited if he thinks you’re coming back for him. It’s also smart to set up a “safe space” in the room, with blankets and a water bowl.
For more information check out sites like petswelcome.com and bringfido.com