Many people consider travel an adventure and happily embrace detours, delays, changes and additional charges as part of the process. Others travel only when required to do so and are much happier to stay home. So, what to do when you have pets and travel plans? Do they go, or do they stay?
To help you make that decision, here are seven consideration questions. Write your answers on your pros and cons list. Just see which side fills up first.
- What arrangement will be the safest and most comfortable for your pet? If you are unable to spend time and interact with your pet, they may be happier at home with familiar routines. Cats, in general, always do better when left at home.
- How will you be traveling; Car, Bus, Boat, Plane, Train? Some commercial carriers ban pets except service and assistance animals, from their routes. Always check ahead to find all options open to accepting pets for travel.
Is your destination “Pet Friendly”? Even if you are assured they are pet friendly, find out if there are additional mandatory requirements.
- Pets away from home are more likely to have accidents or to do things they don’t do at home. Be prepared with a travel first aid kit and available veterinary emergency contacts.
- Pets can and do get lost from home but are more likely to get lost when traveling. Make sure your pet is microchipped, the ID chip is registered, your pet is wearing an additional visible ID, and you have a current photo of your pet.
- Get your pet a health certificate the week before travel. Beside being aware of any new medical conditions or complications of pre-existing ones, you can refill medications and supplies at your convenience. Update all required vaccinations.
- Pack your bag plus pack all your pet’s necessary items. Items such as travel crate, sanitary bags and clean up gear, bedding, bowls, food, water, toys, treats, chews, medications, first aid kit, collar, leash, back up leash, proof of ownership papers and anything else it takes to make your pooch happy.
- Keep current pet ID your pet at all times
- Never leave your pet alone inside a vehicle
- Always provide access to fresh, clean water
- Walk your dog on leash
- Book direct air flights
- Avoid busiest air travel times such as holidays and summer
- Remember, you are liable for all injuries your dog inflicts
- Say “No” to pet tranquilizers (pets are less able to regulate their temperature when medicated)
Now you have your list and perhaps some second thoughts about traveling with a pet. Contact your favorite pet care facility while you’re still in the planning stage. The more they know about your pet(s) and your travel plans, the better they will be able to care for them while you are away. While you are doing your pre-travel planning, be sure to see The American Kennel Club’s travel training tips. You’ll be glad you did!