It can be hard looking into the wide, sad eyes of your pet as you pack up your suitcase and get ready to lave for a trip. Luckily, with many hotels and establishments becoming more pet friendly, traveling with your furry-friends means never having to say goodbye! While your destination may allow for pets, it is important to plan ahead to ensure your four-legged friend is safe and comfortable throughout you trip. To help, here are some great tips for traveling with a pet:
No matter how well-trained your pet is, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean they are well suited for travel. Depending on factors such as your pet’s personality, breed, existing health conditions, or size, it may not be wise to travel on long trips or within the cargo hold of an airplane.
Even if you find yourself traveling to a place you’ve been to before, it’s a good idea to check on pet policies before leaving. With recent changes put forth due to COVID-19, some hotels, airlines, and businesses have updated their pet policies to include certain requirements or fees. For example, many airlines have recently imposed stricter guidelines for pets flying in-cabin. Be prepared so you don’t end up in a situation where you have to cancel your trip last minute, or rush to make alternative arrangements for your pet that may end up costing you more money in the end.
Similar to checking in with your own doctor before traveling overseas, be sure to get the “seal of approval” from your pet’s veterinarian before taking them with you on your travels. This should include up-to-date vaccinations and a health certificate. It is also important to have their medical records on hand in case of an emergency.
Ensure that your pet has identification with your contact information included, whether it be a tag on their collar, a microchip, or both. Be sure to also have the proper identification on your pet’s carrier in case any issues arise while traveling at an airport. When it comes to your furry loved one, you don’t want to take any risks while you’re not in the comfort of your home!
Just like with learning anything new, practice makes perfect, and the same holds true for pets unfamiliar with traveling. When planning for a long car ride, start by taking your pet on several shorter test trips to see how they handle the stress of the road and to help build tolerance.
Safety is first and foremost when it comes to your pets. To be sure of that, use a crate or carrier that is spacious and well ventilated. Your pet should be able to sit, stand, and turn around comfortably. If you are unsure about the carrier you have or which to get, many brands offer guides to show the size of animal that can safely travel in it. It should also be secured in the case of any sudden movements or stops.
Did you know that the inside of a parked car that has been in the sun for at least an hour can have a cabin temperature of close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit? It’s true — in warmer weather, the temperature in a locked car can rise quickly to fatal levels, even with the windows open. The opposite can happen in cooler temps, where a vehicle can lock in the cold and cause an animal to freeze. At the end of the day, it‘s important to be mindful and never leave your pet behind in a vehicle — no matter the weather.
Animals, like people, can get stressed out and uneasy in new locations or unfamiliar situations. Treat them the same as you would a young child and bring along a familiar blanket or favorite toy to help calm your pet if they become uneasy. Having items like this with you on your trip will help to reassure them that everything is ok and to make them feel more comfortable.
Just as you need breaks on long road trips, so does your four-legged friend. Make frequent stops to give your pet a chance to stretch their legs, have some water, and relieve themselves. It’s a good rule of thumb to stop every 60 to 120 minutes to give your pet a little break. Who knows, some of those off-the-road stops might lead you to something cool along the way!
While bringing your pet along on a trip can add a whole new level of fun, it also adds more responsibility. Always remember that your pet relies on you to treat them with respect and to keep them safe — whether you’re at home, in the car, or at 10,000 feet. Keep these tips for traveling with a pet in mind so everyone can enjoy the trip!