Traveling is an event that everybody is looking forward to. Who doesn’t like getting away from work and mundane daily life to a new, beautiful place, even if only for several days? The image of white sands and blue sea on the beach or the greens of the mountain can even heal you from stress. Unfortunately, for pet owner, traveling can be another source of stress on its own.
Leaving your pet alone at home can make you uneasy when you’re on holiday, no matter how short your vacation is. Sometimes, even leaving them at the care of your family or friend, or even professional pet sitter, isn’t enough to wipe off the worry nagging in your head. What if your pet gets sick? What if she misses you? Has she eaten already?
The other option for pet owner during traveling is to take along the pet during vacation. Not only it will ease your worry about leaving her, it will also make your traveling more fun! However sometimes it brings another kind of stress. Is it safe for your pet to travel? Will she feel comfortable? What should I prepare? Worry no more! In this article you’ll find information for safe travel with your pets.
When should you take your pet on vacation?
You don’t have to take your pet every time you go traveling. Sometimes, your pet can be happier and less stressful when you just let her stay at home under the care of someone you trust. When a pet owner goes traveling, she has three options for her pet. First, ask someone trusted to take care of her. Second, put the pet on the care of a pet sitter. Third, take along the pet to vacation.
The first option is good enough if you have someone who both knows how to take care of pet and willing to do it for you. It’s better if that someone is not a stranger for your dog. The second option is also good enough if there is a pet sitter available. However, it is quite costly.
The third option is to bring your pet along during the vacation. Some people wonder whether this is necessary. I say it is recommended to take your pet along in the case when there is nobody to take care of her (or at least not as carefully) while you’re away.
If you decide to take your pet traveling, the next step is to visit your vet and ask if your pet is able to travel. If it is clear, then review the transportation mode you choose. The best option for traveling with pet is by driving, but if it is not possible, flying and sailing is possible as well. Make sure to choose carrier that has good reputation with handling pet. Finally, prepare the necessary equipment and supplies and know what potential problem that may arise.
What to bring
- Document for your pet: If you’re going abroad, make sure to check the pet law in your destination country. Some countries only allow pet that has completed certain vaccination. Bring along your pet’s vaccination record as a proof that she has been vaccinated.
- Car harness or crate or carrier: If you’re driving, car harness for your dog is necessary so he won’t disturb the driver or hurt himself. If you’re flying or sailing, put your dog in crate and cat in carrier. If possible, ask the crew if you can bring the pet to the cabin instead of leaving him in the cargo. Check the maximum size allowed for crate or carrier.
- Water: Traveling can take a long time, therefore drinking water for hydration is a must. Bring a large bowl of water. To avoid spilling, you can freeze the water beforehand.
- ID tag, ID sticker, and leash: ID tag is a must for a traveling pet. If your pet gets lost during traveling, ID tag will help people who find him to contact you. On the ID tag, put your pet’s name, your name, your contact, medical condition, and general temperament. Write the same thing on the ID sticker and stick it to the crate or carrier. You’ll need leash when you let your pet out of your car, crate, or carrier to avoid them running away and get lost in unfamiliar land.
- Seat cover or blanket: If you’re driving and your dog is too big for the crate, there’s no other choice than letting him sit on the car seat. To protect and keep the car seat clean, put on seat cover or blanket.
The potential problems
- Anxiety: The most common problem pets face during traveling is anxiety. The change of environment, along with separation from owner (if he is traveling in cargo) is the cause of this. Help your pet to deal with his anxiety by making his crate as comfortable as possible. Leave enough room for him to stretch in the crate with enough water. Before you travel, introduce the crate to him and let him use it several times. Putting a piece of your clothes inside will also help them feel calmer because of the familiar scent.
- Travel sickness: Make sure your pet is healthy and can handle long distance traveling. Visit your veterinarian beforehand to get his approval. You may be tempted to sedate your pet when flying to ease her discomfort. However, you should never tranquilize your pet.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can occur in car, plane, or ship. In car, it can happen if you leave your pet in the car during the day – especially in the summer. Without air-conditioner, a car is a metal box and the temperature can even kill your pet if you let him locked inside a car without air conditioner. In plane or ship, usually pets are put on a special cargo room with air conditioner, but dehydration can still occur if you forget to put enough water for him.
- Get Lost: It should not happen, but it is still a risk of problem to arise during traveling with pet, especially if you switch transportation modes. To prevent your pet from getting lost, you should always keep your eyes on him. If you’re driving, don’t let him out without supervision. If you’re traveling by other methods, alert the crew that there is a pet on board and it is yours. When you let your pet out from his crate or carrier, either carry him if it is possible or put a leash so he won’t run off on his own. If the worst happens, be prepared with ID tags on your pet’s collar and ID sticker on your pet’s crate or carrier. Take the newest photo of your pet with you so you can show it to other people when you’re asking for help.
With careful preparation beforehand, traveling with pet is not impossible. Enjoy your traveling with your little,, friend!