As a loving pet parent, you’ll want to take your pet everywhere you go. Traveling short distances in the car or even by foot is rarely a problem, and most pets will tolerate or even enjoy these short excursions. However, the situation quickly changes when planning a trip over a long distance. Whether you will be flying or taking an extended road trip, you will need to be prepared.
The following tips will teach you how to keep your pet safe and comfortable for long-distance travel.
Road Trips with Your Pet
Everybody loves a good road trip. Your pet will too, just as long as you take steps to keep them comfortable. There’s a little more involved than just loading up the car and setting out. Use the following tips for a stress-free road adventure.
Use a harness or crate to keep your pet safe. A pet crate is perfect for longer journeys where you won’t have room in the back seat. Crates are best for SUVs and station wagons, and sometimes pickup trucks if the trip will be relatively short and the conditions mild. The crate should provide enough room for your pet to sit, stand, and turn around. If you don’t have room for a crate you can keep your pet in a harness in the back seat. The harness should be secured to a seat belt buckle or headrest.
Your pet will get hungry on the journey, so pack a travel kit that includes a bowl, packaged dry or wet food, and bottled distilled water. Don’t feed your pet while on the move, as there will be a risk of choking. Feed your pet at a rest stop away from traffic.
You’ll also need to pack plastic bags and a scooper, as well as a pet first aid kit. Specialist kits are available from veterinarians, pet stores, and most major retailers.
Make sure your pet is microchipped ahead of travel, and don’t forget to register the information. It’s also helpful to keep an ID tag on your pet’s collar with their name, your name, and your contact number engraved.
Preparing Your Pet for Their First Flight
Sometimes your travel might take you far from home, with airline flight being necessary. Pets can fly, but there are special rules and regulations surrounding this. Call the airlines before you book flights and ask about their pet policies and options. Some airlines allow small pets in the cabins, inside soft carriers. Others will require that pets travel in the cargo hold.
Cabin travel is the best option because it’s less distressing for your pet, but it won’t be realistic for medium or large-sized dogs.
Use these helpful tips if you absolutely can’t avoid travel and need to place your pet in the cargo hold:
- Book a direct flight. This will mean less movement for your pet, and less time spent on the tarmac and in transit between planes.
- Book a full checkup around a week before your flight. Your pet should be in good health before flying in a cargo hold.
- Use a shipping crate approved by the USDA. Special pet crates are made from sturdy plastics and metals. They also feature lining and bedding for comfort and to absorb accidents.
- Install a water bottle on the cage door so that your pet will have access to water throughout the flight.
- As with road travel, your pet should be microchipped and wearing a collar tag. You should also ensure that your carry crate is clearly labeled with a tag and permanent marker on the plastic shell. Include your pets name, your name, your destination, and your contact number.
- Whenever dealing with airline staff, let them know that you are traveling with a pet in the hold. This will keep them aware and ensure that any delays or problems etc. are communicated to you.
Pets should only be flown in the cargo hold when there’s absolutely no way to avoid ground travel. Be sure to give your pet lots of love when you finally disembark and collect your crate from the airline staff.
Always aim to reduce stress and discomfort when traveling with your pet. With planning and careful handling, you’ll both arrive safely, ready to carry on with life’s next big adventure.