The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with PetsWhen you’re planning a trip, you have dozens of details to worry about. If you have a furry friend, that doubles the worries. Pet travel has earned some very bad publicity lately. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave your dog or cat behind.In fact, the percentage of dog owners taking their pets on trips more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, from 20 percent to 40 percent, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association.
The happy news is there are more pet travel options now than ever before. With the right preparation, your furry friend can come with you safely and happily. Here are some tips to keep yourself and your pet calm and comfortable, no matter what distance or mode you travel. General Pet Travel TipsMany destinations don’t permit easy entrance for pets. If you are traveling internationally check the requirements of your destination country, city, town, or state.
The rules and laws may be different from your state. Many countries and states have specific health, vaccination, and quarantine regulations. You can verify these rules by visiting the official embassy website of the country.Make sure your pet’s up for the trip. Ask the question yourself about your pet, Does my pet really wants to go?. Because you are the person that knows about your pet more than anyone. Know about your pet’s health before you travel. Consult your vet and make sure your pet is fit to go.Buy an approved pet carrier. Any crate or carrier should be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, and turn around in with ease. It should be secure enough not to slip around when the vehicle or plane moves or stops.Crate train your pet until he’s familiar and comfortable in the crate. Always travel with bedding that the animal has slept on or with one of your t-shirts placed in the crate because it smells like home and like you, which is calming to your pet.Bring a pet first-aid kit. A pet thermometer, tweezers, gauze, antibiotic ointments, ear drops and other items will do the work.Train your pet before your trip. A pet that responds to your commands from the airport to the hotel will save you from many troubles. Don’t forget comfort items like a dog bed and toys.Don’t overfeed before a long journey; a light meal a few hours before leaving can help avoid nausea during the trip.Once you’re at your destination, stick with your pet for a while to help get it settled.Plane Travel with PetsFirst consult your vet. Many pets are simply not suited to air travel due to health, age or breed concerns. Animals under 8 ” 12 weeks, or older than 10 years, might not be physically prepared for the stress of air travel.Gather health records, medication information, proof of vaccinations from your vet and carry them with you.Be sure to read your airline’s requirements regarding the pet carrier size, weight, material and design. Airline-approved crates must have ventilation on the sides (in addition to the door) and have food/water trays that are refillable from the outside in the case of a delay.Put a tag on your pet’s collar that includes rabies vaccination information, your name, your address and the phone number. Then label the carrier with your pet’s name as well as your name and contact info. Mark it clearly and prominently with the words Live Animal, so nobody can mistake it for regular luggage. It could save your pet’s life.Carry a current photograph of your pet. If your pet is lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees to search effectively.Get to the airport early. Take a walk around the airline terminal for your pet to get familiar with the smells and sounds. If your pet is small enough (typically about 10 pounds or less), your airline may permit you to bring him into the cabin. This is safer than checking your pet’s carrier and having him fly in the cargo hold.Don’t ever ship brachycephalic animals such as Pekingese dogs, bulldogs or Persian cats in the cargo holds.Airlines generally will not transport checked pets if the temperature is below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, it is best to travel early in the day during the summer, and at midday during the winter.Tell every airline employee or personnel that you have a pet traveling with you. If your pet is traveling in the cargo area of the plane instead of the cabin, you may want to confirm they have loaded your pet onboard. This is especially important if you and your pet take multiple connecting flights.So a direct or nonstop flight is best to avoid problems in mishandling. Pets should not have heavy meals before flying. Feed your pet between 3-4 hours prior to leaving. Be sure to give your pet a bathroom opportunity close to departure time.Try to feed your pet at the same times of day as you would at home. If your pet is a bird or small animal that eats seeds, be sure to check the country you plan to go. Some places will not allow certain types of seeds into their country.Give your pet some bottled water to drink during the flight, but not an excessive amount. When you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Get the results of the examination in writing, including the date and time.Car Travel with PetsDon’t leave your pet unattended. Even when temperatures are mild, a car can get dangerously hot or cold. Don’t let your pet hang its head out the window.Don’t leave your pet loose in the vehicle; use a leash tied to a seat or a stable crate. And don’t let your pet ride in the passenger seat. Plan to stop the car on a regular basis. You should always keep food and water with you in the car ” the heat of the vehicle, the stress of traveling and your pet’s excitement often cause increased thirst.Train Travel with PetsDogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds have been allowed on most Amtrak routes of seven hours or less. The cost is just $25 per animal but be sure to reserve early.Pets must ride beneath seats in approved, labeled pet carriers. The maximum size for carriers is 19″ long, 14″ wide, and 10.5″ high”and your pet must be able to sit and lie down inside it without touching the sides.Pets must be at least 8 weeks old, healthy, and harmless.Owners are required to sign a document certifying that their pets’ vaccinations are current and accepting liability for their pet’s well-being.Ship Travel with PetsPets are welcome on only a few cruise lines, usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship’s kennel, check on your pet frequently.Pet Hotel TipsFind pet-friendly hotels. Many hotels gladly accept pets while some don’t. Most hotels will specify the animal’s type, size, weight, and other things, so be sure to review all their rules and ask any questions before you arriveStay on a lower floor. It’s far easier to get your pet in and out of a hotel without incident if you are on the ground floor.Keep your pet clean. Wipe mud, dirt and water off your pet’s fur before bringing her back into the hotel. If your pet stains the hotel’s carpet or linens, you might have to pay for cleaning or replacement costs.Keep your pet in a crate. Don’t leave your pet loose and unattended.If you do have to leave your pet in your room, put the do not disturb sign on the door so hotel employees don’t enter and become frightened by your pet.Walk your pet in approved areas. Ask hotel management where they would prefer that you walk your pet.Plan for Emergencies The plan should include the following details.Who to Call: Your contact information, as well as your veterinarian’s.How to Care: Instructions about your pet’s care and feeding, including medications and preventative treatments.Where to Stay: Contact details of at least 1 trusted person or facility with whom your pet could stay, both in the destination country and back at home.How to Pay: Instructions on financial and medical resources your pet might need in an emergency.