For most pet parents, going on a trip without their four-legged friend is nothing entertaining. But traveling can be extremely stressful for our companions, but also for us. If you are considering taking a trip along with your pets, you should check out the tips that we have prepared for you.
No matter your destination, the first thing to take with you is your pet’s documents. Your cat or dog needs to be microchipped and he/she needs to wear a collar with a tag with their name and your contact information. Without further ado, let us move on to how you can make your life (and that of your dog or cat) easier if you have to leave home soon.
- Make an appointment with the vet
Whether you choose to travel by plane or car, before you leave for your trip, you need to take your dog or cat for a checkup at the vet clinic. Your pet’s vaccinations have to be up-to-date and you should have a health certificate that attests that your friend is perfectly healthy at least 10 days prior to your trip. It is generally acknowledged that sedating your pet is not a good idea and if you know that your cat is extremely finicky and sensitive and possibly even requires appetite stimulants when on the road, you might actually choose better if you opt for a sitter.
Extra planning and healthcare requirements could be necessary if you decide to travel outside the country.
- Decide how you want to travel
There are essentially two ways of getting a pet to a different place: by car or by plane. Some airlines do allow small-sized dog and cat breeds to travel with you, but most will ask you to check in your pet and will keep them in the baggage compartment of the aircraft. In 2016 alone, there were 22 deaths and 26 injured pets on commercial flights.
It is scary, but you ought to know that some airlines have a high number of pet fatalities and that pets are typically loaded in the cargo area below the cabin, which is subject to fluctuating air pressure and temperatures. Heart failure and oxygen deprivation are two of the most common reasons pets end up dying when traveling by plane.
By contrast, traveling by car is a lot safer, and that is because you have your lovely companion under observation at all times. True, it might take a lot more time, but you can make a stop way more often, which usually proves very useful when you are traveling with an older dog that needs to relieve himself once every couple of hours.
- Prepare a pet-friendly travel kit
Your kit should contain a waste scoop, plastic bags, a bowl, food, your leash, grooming supplies, first-aid items and medication, and the pet’s travel documents. It is easier to travel with a pet that can sit on his or her favorite cushion or bed or that can hold on to a favorite toy. It is also recommended that you get bottled water instead of relying on the water sources of the places you’re transiting as one can never be too sure when it comes to their safety.
- Make sure you pick the right crate or carrier
Whether you are traveling with a cat or a dog, you should know that all pets really dislike the feeling of being confined in a much too small space. Cats will often sit in the same place for hours, especially if they are scared, but dogs need exercise and tend to get bored very quickly and like to change their position or sitting spot a lot more often. Therefore, the crate should be sizable enough and most importantly, it needs to be well-ventilated.
- Get acquainted with the laws of the state (or country) you are traveling to
Some places have strict laws in regards to traveling with pets, particularly when it comes to introducing a variety of species into their territory. Australia is one of them. Back in 2015, Johnny Depp got in trouble for basically ‘smuggling’ his two dogs into this country. Since it happened to such a well-known celebrity, it could just as well happen to you. Do your homework and find out as much as you can about the legal requirements you will have to abide by wherever you are going.
- Food, snacks, and water
Pets and humans alike can get quite cranky when they travel for hours on end and they have nothing to munch on, and worse, when they end up being thirsty. Keeping your dog or cat hydrated while on the road can prevent a variety of health issues, so always make sure you have clean water at hand.
Life’s better with a delicious snack or when you know that your lovely parent is going to feed you when you’re hungry. You guessed it — it works the same way for both kids and pets.
- Beating anxiety
If you know that your pet tends to get a bit nervous when you have to travel for several hours, you should have a talk with your vet to find out what natural supplements you can use to fix the problem. Nowadays, CBD products have become extremely popular for both animals suffering from chronic disease (such as arthritis) and those that have anxiety. Organic, single grown CBD is the best option, but do your research before you try it on your companion.
- Pack a muzzle
While it might be less necessary for cats, packing a muzzle is pretty much mandatory if you are a dog parent. It goes without saying that you’re going to have to take your dog out for a walk every few hours or so. If your stop happens to be in the center of a town, you are going to meet people, and while some could be dog lovers, others might be extremely wary of an unknown dog.
A muzzle can save you a lot of headaches and it doesn’t even take up that much space in your luggage.
- Find out where your pet can relieve themselves
If you travel by car, this is not an issue you will have to manage. However, if you go with your dog on a leash to the airport, you need to know that accidents can happen. Some airports have special pet relief locations. If you know that you are going to travel by plane, it might be a good idea to have a look at the airport map and even call and talk to a customer support agent to find out where such places are located.