Authored by Freddie Tubbs
Pets form a very intimate part of our lives, and for those who like to travel, the idea of leaving your most vulnerable family member at home is often quite unthinkable.
However, travelling with pets is never easy, and you have to prepare for it as you would prepare for a child travelling with you, maybe even more.
People often make the mistake of thinking that it won’t be that hard to arrange a perfect trip when it comes to traveling with your pets. But once the trip starts, unprepared travelers inevitably run into problems that can ruin the whole thing.
Here are some of the steps you can take to ensure that everything is perfectly organized for your trip.
Preparation Tips: Things to do Before Traveling With Your Pet
Do Your Research
Before hitting the road (or the air) it’s important to undertake thorough research.
When it comes to travelling by car, you should research the rules of having a pet in the car (laws will vary from country to country). For instance, is your pet allowed in the front seat, do they have to be restrained? And you might organize to buy some restraining equipment.
If you decide to fly to your destination, do your research on the health issues it could cause for your pet as well as what you should do in order to ensure they have a smooth journey.
There are a range of airlines who allow you to fly with pets, though many won’t allow them in the cabin. And you should confirm that there is pet friendly accommodation in your chosen destination.
“The point is to have all the necessary information for you to make the right decisions on your trip”, explains travel blogger Mark Stringer.
Practice / Training
If your pet has never been in a moving vehicle it’s likely that it will take some practice before they can truly relax. Some pets don’t like it even after all of the trial runs.
The best way to know how your pet will behave in a small, moving space is to put them in a car and practice. You’ll be able to see how it affects them and you’ll be able to test different techniques of making them tired enough so that they don’t really notice that they are moving.
This is also a good way to see what kind of restraining system will work best for you.
If your pet isn’t crate trained then extended travel, especially on an airplane, has the potential to become an extremely stressful situation for both of you.
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
While there will surely be pet food in the destination you are visiting, it may be more expensive than you think. The same goes for equipment.
The kind of food your pet needs may also prove hard to find in your destination so bringing enough food to give yourself time to find appropriate and inexpensive replacement is always a good idea.
People usually bring food to last them at least three days. Though you should make sure you’re aware of any customs rules if traveling internationally as there are often strict bio-security laws about bringing in food.
Also, make sure that you have everything they need while in the process of transportation.
Brush Up On Manners
Lack of training can cause some serious tension on a vacation. Your pet’s behavior towards other people like strangers or children can be the cause of trouble.
“This is why you need to take it seriously – brush up on your training before the trip starts. Have in mind that your pet will meet with a lot of people and that it could be stressful for them.
Some variations in behavior are not such a big deal but you should still talk with a professional trainer and have them spend some time with your pet to see what could be improved”, says pet blogger Donald Williams.
Set Aside Some Outdoor Time Pre Trip
Before you hop on a plane, make sure that you have spent enough time with your pet outside so that they can spend some of their energy and do their business.
Keep in mind that the flights can be long. Let them stretch their legs, eat plenty and drink (but not in the hours before the flight). The time outside will have to be a bit longer than usual so that they don’t go stir crazy when you’re in transit.
If you’re driving, take frequent breaks so that both of you can rest and replenish your energy. You would rather them do their business outside of the car, so make sure you plan on extra time for frequent road stops.
Prepare Necessary Documents
If you’re traveling overseas, your pet will need documentation, and this is incredibly important otherwise they won’t be accepted past immigration.
When conducting your research, confirm the type of documentation you need, ie passport, vaccination paperwork, and when traveling overseas with your pet, you’ll likely need to have a microchip insertion.
This procedure should take place before a rabies vaccination for your vet to record the chip’s unique number on your pet’s passport.
It’s also important to carry extra collar tags and a leash for safety and identification purposes. Some countries are notorious for their hundreds of stray dogs and cats, and your pet can easily get lost in congested cities, never to be found.
Account For All Health Risks You Both Might Encounter
While traveling both your health and that of your pet is at risk. Remember, you are traveling through a foreign land and it might take some time for your bodies to adopt to a new climate and lifestyle.
It’s important to consider safety when eating, drinking, sun bathing and sleeping to limit chances of contracting communicable diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
If you’re visiting a country like Thailand that is known for their stray dog population, it might be best to always keep them on a leash to avoid chances of contracting something like rabies.
Don’t get caught up in the excitement of travelling with your pet and forget that it can be harder than you think. You can have a great time if you follow these tips and organize everything.
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