You arrive at the airport with Mrs. Whiskerson in tow. You remembered to pack all of her toys and her medication. She’s going to be the happiest cat on vacation that anyone has ever seen. You. Are. So. Proud.
You’re first in line at the check-in desk. YES. This trip is already going swimmingly. The nice lady at the desks asks first for your passport, and then for Mrs. Whiskerson’s documentation.
You didn’t think to bring anything, she’s not a human. It’s not like she needs ID or anything.
Except… she does. In fact, you have to plan a lot of things in advance if you want to bring a pet with you when you travel.
To avoid having to leave poor Mrs. Whiskerson behind, check out this ultimate checklist for your pets on the go.
One Way or Another
The very first thing to consider before traveling with a pet is how you’re going to get to where you’re going.
Are you going by plane? Train? Automobile?
Each mode of transportation will have different requirements and regulations for your pet, and it’s essential to know and understand what these are before you hit the road.
If you’re flying with a pet, you’ll need to register your pet with the airline ahead of time. You’ll also need to be aware of any specific requirements or restrictions they have, such as crate measurements and important documents.
Check the species and breed restrictions for the airline, too. Don’t just assume that because you’re not bringing a panda bear along for the ride, it won’t be a problem.
In fact, there are even a few different cat and dog breeds, such as brachycephalic dogs and cats, that are not allowed to fly on certain airlines.
These animals (pugs, bulldogs, and Persian cats, to name a few) are otherwise known as flat-faced. They may be adorable, but they struggle to breathe at high altitudes and extreme temperatures due to blocked nasal passages.
In addition, make sure that the airline you’re flying with serves the entire route from your starting point all the way to your destination.
Breaking up the journey with multiple airlines could cause you serious (and unnecessary!) problems.
If you’re traveling by car, get your pet a crate or a safety harness so you know that they’re safe and secure while you’re driving.
Not only does this keep him safe from harm while you’re on the road, but it also eliminates distraction so you can stay focused and keep your eyes on the road.
You’ll have a much better chance of arriving at your destination in one piece if you can keep your Pomeranian’s paws off the steering wheel.
Documentation for Your Pets on the Go
One of the most important things you need to take care of before you travel with your pet is their documentation.
Has Fido had all of the necessary vaccinations? Is Fluffy microchipped? Has he received a clean bill of health from the vet?
These are all questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you travel, especially if you’re planning to visit a different country.
Find out about rabies classifications for your home country and the country you will be traveling to. If you’re visiting a rabies-free country from one that is not, you may end up having to leave your furry friend in quarantine when you arrive.
It’s worth making a quick trip to the vet before you’re due to travel so you can be sure that your pet meets all the necessary health requirements. If your pet hasn’t had all of the vaccinations required, he may not even be allowed to travel at all. They will also have to be vaccinated against rabies and provide proof of treatment against ticks and tapeworms. In these situations, it is highly advisable to think about pet insurance, as well.
Don’t end up in a situation where you have to leave your beloved animal behind. Double-check which documents you’re going to need at both ends of your journey and keep them in a place that is both safe and easily accessible for you.
Know Before You Go
Traveling with a pet can be a stressful experience for everyone, including your pet.
But, if you resist the temptation to procrastinate (it’s tricky, I know) and give yourself plenty of time to prepare, you and your playful pal will get where you need to go without any hassle.
So—and I can’t emphasize this enough—do the necessary research.
Not just on the documentation you’ll need, but also on where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do.
Find a hotel that allows pets, and take a look at the pet-friendly parks and restaurants nearby so you know that your fur baby won’t be stuck cooped up in a hotel room for the duration of your trip.
Look for an animal hospital in the area as well. While the obvious hope is that you won’t have to set foot (or paws) anywhere near it, it’s best to know where it is, just in case.
Do whatever you can to mentally prepare your pet for the journey.
Consider your pet’s health and personality to ensure that he is fit for travel. If he is too old or injured, you might have to consider an alternative.
Likewise, if he is prone to severe anxiety, traveling (particularly flying) is not going to be easy for him. Spend some time researching to find out more about how to make your pet as happy and as comfortable as possible.
Instead of sedating him before the journey (oftentimes airlines won’t even allow a sedated pet on the plane), get him used to being in a crate. The crate should have plenty of space to allow him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.
Make it a comfortable place for him at home, so that when the time comes to drive or fly, he’ll have a safe spot to snuggle up in a strange and unfamiliar environment.
This will not only help keep him at ease but will also allow you to relax and rest easy in the knowledge that you have done everything within your power to make this a pleasant experience for your pet.
The key to stress-free pets on the go is preparation.
If you do your research and plan well in advance of your journey, it should all be smooth sailing. You’ll get to enjoy your holiday, and Mrs. Whiskerson will thank you, too!
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