Pets provide comfort and companionship to those who care for them, but traveling with one is often added stress to an already stressful process, especially during the Holiday season. With many families starting to plan for travel on or around Thanksgiving, being prepared ahead of time is crucial. Pets tend to thrive on routine, and any change can be upsetting to them. Animal Fair has some tips for pet parents who are hitting the road with their pooches this Thanksgiving!
Travel Tip #1: Get to know the rules of the road. That’s right! Different modes of transportation have different rules. Where some airlines are comfortable letting pets onboard, many restrict the number of dogs and cats you can bring with you on one flight. The general rule is two. If you have more animals needing to travel, you may have to find a family member or friend that is willing to accompany you and your furry children. Also see if your pet can travel in a carrier that can be kept under a seat in the cabin or if your pet must travel by freight. If you need to keep your pet inside a carrier, allow your pet to get used to the environment by placing him or her inside for a few minutes each day. Gradually lengthen the time until your pet seems at ease with being confined in this space. For pet parents planning to ride the rails, Amtrak does not allow pets.
Travel Tip #2: Pamper your pet. Make sure your dog and cat has everything he or she needs to be comfortable. Familiar items will put your furry friend at ease so pack items that you normally use at home. Bring a carrier, a leash, food and water bowls, toys, and snacks. You’ll also want to locate pet-friendly hotels in the area that you’re traveling to. Many accommodations go out of their way to make your dogs and cats comfortable. Pay the extra fee because it’s worth the effort they put into pampering your pet.
Travel Tip #3: You’ve got to keep them vaccinated. Keep your pet’s shots up-to-date. Have them checked out by their Veterinarian prior to traveling. Make sure they get a clean bill of health before you take to the road, rails, air or water. This will prevent you from encountering problems with your pet along the way.
Travel Tip #4: Take frequent breaks if traveling by car. Get out to stretch your legs and allow your pet do the same every time you approach a rest stop or need a break. These small, frequent stops will make it much easier to travel with pets.
Travel Tip #5: Avoid stomach upset by not overfeeding. Don’t allow your dog or cat to overeat prior to your trip. This can lead to nausea and motion sickness. If you will be flying, feed your pet no less than five or six hours before takeoff and give them a drink of water no less than two hours before. The last thing you’ll want to do on a long trip is to have to clean up an accident.
Travel Tip #6: Safety is of utmost importance. Do not allow your dog to ride in the back of your truck. Make sure your cat and dog is never left alone in your vehicle unattended. Put your pet in a carrier or on a leash before going into parking lots or other high traffic areas.
Travel Tip #7: Microchip your pets. Microchips are highly effective ways to recover lost dogs and cats. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that the information stored is accurate. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number, you’ll want to update it in the system so that if your pet disappears, you’ll have an easier time finding them. You’ll also want to make sure that they have proper identification on their collars at all times.
Travel Tip #8: Store your pet’s medical history with other important documents like your passport and plane tickets. You’ll want to have proof that your pet has been vaccinated in case you have to prove it to airport security. You’ll also want a list of medications and details about your pet’s illness because the animal may not be permitted to ride alongside you. You’ll want the person handling your dog and cat to know about their medical history.
Travel Tip #9: Read the USDA’s website for of some airline animal transport policies. You can find the page by visiting: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/pet_travel/pet_travel_basics.shtml. This will give you a better idea as to what will and will not fly with different airlines.