Traveling with your pet is seldom easy, but some of the tips here may help to make it a bit easier. There are lots of ways to make your vacation work for all members of your family, even the furry ones. Here are a few tips to help make their trip as wonderful as yours.
Driving is the best option if you are planning on traveling to with your pet. Although many airlines allow pets, it can be expensive to bring your pet this way. Some domestic airlines allow small pets to travel in the passenger cabin, though you may need to pay for a seat for them. You’ll want to check with the airline you choose in advance to see if they allow this. If you have a larger pet, you will have to check it. This is only possible if your pet is at least eight weeks old and has been weaned for at least five days. You must have the proper cage or shipping container.
There are strict rules regarding their care while they are being shipped. You will likely have to provide documentation of your pet’s health and needs for the trip. Unfortunately, Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses do not allow you to travel with your pet. (at the time of writing this article)
If you are driving, take some precautions before getting on the road. Like humans, pets should be restrained while they ride in the car, this will help prevent injury caused by a sudden stop or their escape if someone opens a door or window. There are special harnesses that work like seat-belts for dogs, and a cat-carrier is always a good idea if your feline is traveling with you. You can use a seat-belt to secure the carrier in the seat. Remember, it is never a good idea to leave your pet in a car during the summer or in a place with a warmer climate. Also, you should stop frequently to give your animal a drink and allow it to pee and stretch its legs, particularly if it is a long journey.
While some parks do not allow dogs off the leash on many trails, they are usually allowed at campsites, picnic areas and roads. It it is a good idea to call ahead and check to see if your dog will have any freedom when you get there. Keep your dog on a relatively short leash while you walk any trail. You don’t want them to chase or otherwise harass any of the park’s native inhabitants. And you certainly don’t want your dog to be injured by the wildlife, e.g. snakes and bears etc.
Some parks may have pet-friendly cabins to stay in, but again you really should call ahead and ask. A confirmation email is always good in case of future issues. As with any visit, you want to ensure that your vacation does not interrupt the lives of the animals that call this region home. Be aware of your pet wherever you go, and together, you can have a relaxing vacation.
Though many people think that traveling with your pet is too problematic, many others do so routinely and without incident. So, while on vacation, most people arrange for their pets to stay at home and have a friend or family member take care of the animal. Others, who do not have this option, prefer alternatives such as boarding kennels or a professional pet sitter, both of which can be good options. But there are several things that you must take into consideration before heading out of town!
Before Traveling with Your Pet
Take some time to think about whether your pet is physically capable of making this journey before you travel with your pet. If you are not sure, ask your veterinarian. Let him/her know where you’re going and for how long and how you’ll be traveling. This will help prevent health risks like flea, heartworm, or tick risks at places you will be visiting. Also, it’s important to ensure that all vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as getting current health and rabies certificates within ten days prior to travel. Bring those shot records with you, you’ll need them if your pet is flying.
Short Trip Before Traveling With Your Pet
If it’s the first time that you’re traveling with your pet, it’s worthwhile to take a short test trip. This will help you know if your pet gets carsick or restless while traveling and allow you to get the appropriate medications from your veterinarian if necessary. You will have a good impression of what travel with your dog will be like for both of you. Also, when traveling make sure that you have your pets’ favorite toys, food and leash with you. This way, the pet will feel more comfortable at the new destination. Make sure that you use your leash when taking the pet outside, as the pets can sometimes get nervous in a new place and try to run.
While at your destination, your pet should always wear a special identification tag apart from the normal one. Be sure to mark this tag with the pet’s name, your name, the person to make contact with at the destination, the person’s phone number, and a destination address. This will help people get in touch with you if your pet is separated from you.
A good way of marking your pet is to have the pet micro-chipped. Animal clinics, humane societies, kennels, and shelters all use scanners that can read the implanted chips. This will help you reunite with your lost pet. Here’s good news! Microchip procedures are harmless, fast and inexpensive. If you have not already done so, do it before you travel with your pet. It is a good idea to do this whether or not you are travelling and particularly if your animal is expected to be alone for any length of time due to the risk of pet theft.
Don’t forget to notify the airline, bus, or train company if a Seeing Eye dog (Guide Dog) is accompanying you. This is because dogs other than Seeing Eye dogs accompanying blind persons are not allowed on buses and trains.
If you’re traveling by air, make sure that you’ve made all reservations and arrangements regarding delivery and pickup from the airport upfront. Rules vary from airline to airline. Follow airline instructions and check the airline’s requirements for carrying pets. If you’re taking along smaller pets like birds, hamsters and tropical fish, consider transporting them by air express. You can obtain shipping containers from airline freight departments, pet stores and department stores as well. If you’re carrying tropical fish, have it packed by a local specialist pet shop. You need to do it properly to avoid tragic accidents.
Again, it’s important to make your pet comfortable with the new environment. If you’re buying a shipping container, have it a few days in advance. That way you will have time to familiarize your pet with the container. Start with placing your pet in the container for a few minutes each day and steadily stretch the time until the pet is at ease.
When traveling by air, feed your pet at least five to six hours before flight time, and give water two hours before the flight. This will prevent hunger or thirst during the trip. Also, get the pet to the air terminal on time. You should get there 45 minutes in advance of your flight time if the pet is accompanying you. Two hours in advance if you’re shipping the pet. Don’t lose your air way bill number as you will need it when making inquires.
It’s a different experience altogether when your darling pet is at your side while on vacation. After all, for those who are passionate about their pets, getting there with the animal is half the fun!
Article by Manoj B. Manoj Borah is a Senior Writer & Journalist working with CheapoAir.com, one of the top travel sites online. Manoj writes and reviews articles with special focus on the airline industry, vacations, and road trips. Besides sharing tips and nuggets on booking airline tickets, hotels and tour packages.
Travelling to the USA with Pets
If traveling to the United States, one has to be sure to obey all the rules and regulations before bringing a pet. Planning holidays to USA but cant leave your little-four-legged family member alone at home, so simply take him and enjoy!! All you have to do is to follow the easy tips that ensure trouble-free travel with your pets.
- Vaccination is the first thing to do before travelling with a pet to America. Get a valid rabies vaccination certificate with a certified expiration date up to 3 years and veterinarian’s signature. The certificate should ensure that the dog had rabies vaccine at least 30 days before entering the United States.
- Pet Travel Scheme. As not all airlines or routes are approved by PETS (Pet Travel Scheme) – a scheme that allows one to accompany one’s cat, dog, or ferret to other countries – it might be difficult to find the appropriate airline later on. Some companies allow pets in cabin and others don’t. British Airways is a great option that carries pets in the cabin but on British Airways World Cargo. (at the time of writing this article)
- At the time of booking tickets on flights to USA, call the airline directly and inform them that you will be travelling with your pet. Make advance reservations for the animal since each airplane can transport a limited number of animals.
- Carefully read the guidelines cited on the website of DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). Familiarity with all the rules and regulations helps you in enjoying the journey without any hassles.
- Create a pet passport that entails a collection of identification and required documents for entering a given country. If you fail to comply with these regulations, then you won’t be allowed to take the pet with you.
After making all the arrangements, try to stay calm on the day of flight and pay attention to following things.
- Be careful about the food and water you give to your pet. Try to offer food within four hours before you check in and also avoid overfeeding. Full stomach may cause difficulty for your pet during the journey. Keep the kennel clean and do not leave a dish full of water or food in it. You can leave empty dishes in the carrier so that airline employee will be able to feed your pet with food and water at the time of extended wait.
- Go for a walk with your pet before leaving for the airport. This will help your dog in calming down before to a long tiring journey.
- Carry a leash with you but do not keep it with your pet (either inside or attached to the outside of the kennel)
- Reach the airport at least two hours before the flight and avoid rushing at last moment. If the animal is travelling as excess baggage, check-in will generally be at the passenger terminal. If the pet is being sent through the cargo system, then one needs to go to the air freight terminal. But before leaving, be sure to confirm the acceptance cutoff time for your flight with your airlines.
- After reaching the airport, avoid taking your pet out of the kennel. Since it may breach the airport regulations and also disturb other passengers. Wait until you get out of the terminal building.
- Be sure that your pet is wearing a collar and an identification tag. And if possible, then attach the information regarding the destination by making an extra tag.
- Don’t forget to keep photos of your pet. You can give these pictures to the baggage claim personnel as it makes it easier for them to locate the pet.