Travelling doesn’t have to mean leaving your beloved pets at home or with a sitter. Depending on where you plan to go on vacation, taking your furry children with you may be a great option for both you and your privileged pets. Of course, taking them along requires some preparation. This 1) makes the entire experience a lot more manageable for you and 2) keeps your pets as safe and comfortable as possible.
Here is a checklist of tips and advice to ensuring that you and your fur-kids have the best vacation possible
• Before booking any flights, train trips, accommodation or activities, ensure that each facility allows you to bring along an animal. Specify exactly what species you plan to bring and how big the animal is so that there are no nasty surprises once you’ve reached your destination. The embassy of your destination country will be able to explain the country’s quarantine rules.
• Visit a vet about a week before departure as some airlines and destinations will require that you present a certificate attesting to your animal’s health (and some places require that the certificate is no older than 10 days). They will include vaccinations, any medication that your pet is on as well as any questionable symptoms that need to be monitored (such as a cough).
• Be prepared with mild tranquilisers, in case your pet does not handle travelling as well as you may have anticipated. Never give your pet a human tranquiliser (such as one of your sleeping tablets). Ask your vet to prescribe and / or provide a tranquiliser for you, perhaps even testing it on your pet before the time to ensure that it is effective. Bear in mind that some animals (particularly those with flat faces) may not be able to breathe on tranquilisers at high altitudes, making this medication extremely dangerous for these ones.
• Ensure that your pet has enough food and water (but not too much) before the trip so that it does not get hungry during lengthy boarding processes and delays. Of course, it should also be allowed to relieve itself just before embarking on a trip and, if possible, during the trip as well. It may be wise to include a bowl of frozen water in its crate when flying. This will stay frozen during boarding, but will have defrosted by the time your pet gets thirsty.
• Check the container in which your pet will be travelling to see that there is enough air and ventilation. Long trips may get uncomfortable, even for humans, so it’s important that there is a warm, soft place for your animal to sleep and, possibly, padded sides to the box. It should be noted that flying with pets is not the best option, since the owner is not able to sit with them and doesn’t know the conditions in which they are being kept. If you have to fly with your pet, ensure that all sides of is container have the words “Live Pet” written clearly and prominently on them.
• If there is going to be lots of driving on your holiday, prepare your pet in advance by taking it for a few drives. Just do not leave it in a car while you do your shopping or run errands. Rather, schedule times to drives around the block, to the beach, and so on. While travelling, do not ever leave your animal in a parked car. The temperature, even on a cool day, can soar to unbearable heats. Also, it is actually dangerous for dogs to travel with their heads out of the window, although they often love it. Not only could they be hit by a flying object, but it also gives them the opportunity to jump out of the window.
• If necessary on a car trip, stop to feed your pet. Never feed him or her in a moving vehicle and always take along a poop-scoop and a packet so that you can pick up after your animal.
• Ensure that your pet is identified with a microchip and tag so that, if it does somehow get lost, it is easier to find. Carry a photograph of him or her with you for identification purposes. Try to include your destination on the collar so that you can, eventually be found.
• Always take along the vaccination certificates of your pet, in case officials require them.
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