Our pets make up such a huge part of our lives and we care for them so much that when it comes to taking a vacation away, it brings us a lot of heartache to leave them at home alone or in a pound that’s unfamiliar to them.
That’s why you’re probably thinking of taking your dog on vacation with you instead. After all, you’ll get to spend more time with them and make some great memories together as a family, allowing them to join in on all of the well-earned fun and exploration.
Whether it’s a dog or a cat that you are planning on taking with you on your adventure, there are many considerations to think of beforehand.
Unfortunately, the experience of travelling with your companion can be just as stressful as you being separated from them. The points mentioned in this guide will help alleviate some of the anxieties you have by providing you with some information to consider so that you can make the journey as smooth and as comfortable as possible for both you and your pet.
On the Road with Your Pet
Going on a road trip with your dog within your home country is probably the easiest way to travel with them as you can always keep an eye on them, are responsible for them and you don’t have to worry about them embarrassing you in front of strangers during the trip.
However, sometimes you don’t know how your pet will behave on long journeys so it’s always best to prepare accordingly to their needs and their general temperament at home. There are many ways in which you can prepare for this journey, including the following:
To get an idea of how your pet behaves in the car, do a trial run. Take a fairly long drive with them, maybe for about half an hour just to see how they react to being in the car. They may be giddy, anxious, distracting, scared and by taking note of this you can prepare accordingly.
Make sure you bring enough water for your dog as a long drive, especially in hot weather, can take its toll. You can purchase portable water bottles for your dog which pour water into a handy bowl that’s attached to it making it easier for you and while helping to prevent spillages.
During the trip, it would do your dog, you and whoever else is with you a lot of good to take a break from driving every 2-3 hours. You can all stretch your legs, have a snack and get some fresh air. This will let your pooch spend a bit of energy too so that they can relax again when they get back in the vehicle.
Double check your pet has a tag on their collar that contains their address and your details. It would be even more valuable to have them microchipped and to have a spare tag with details inside, just in case.
Keep it in the Car:
It’s cute to see a dog stick their head out of the window to catch the breeze but it’s actually quite dangerous. Not only could they catch debris flung up by other vehicles on the road but it can also damage their ears.
Whether you or somebody else is driving, if you have you dog or cat free in the car they can become a potential distraction for the driver, especially if they get over excited! It’s good to invest in a carry crate, a divider, pet seat belt or car cover to keep them from jumping to the front.
In the Air with Your Pet
Taking your pet to an airport and boarding a plane with them is especially anxiety inducing; for you and for them. They may have to be separated from you at times, particularly if you are travelling abroad to countries which require pets to be quarantined.
It’s always very important to research the country you are travelling to and make inquiries about travelling with pets with the airlines, as policies can vary between companies. There are also the following tips to take into account when flying with pets:
Just like you would on a road trip, make sure to have identity tags attached to your pets collar so that you can easily be identified and verified as its owner. Microchips have connection to a global database too, and so it’s very wise to have one before travelling abroad with your pet.
Whether you have a dog or a cat you’re going to need a pet carrier no matter how well behaved your dog is, just in case. The carrier needs to be large enough for your pet to be able to stand up in and turn around.
It’s also recommended by the USDA that you supply a food and water bowl within the crate, the bottom be water proof and to have stickers which show which side up the crate should be placed as well as that there is a “live animal” inside.
Another tip to relieve your dog or cat from any anxieties from being placed in the cargo hold, as some airlines do, is to provide them with some items from home that have the families scent, such as an item of clothing or a toy.
Flying is not the best option for pets that are very young, very old or who have any serious illnesses. Airlines can also be choosey about the breed of dog you fly with as there have been incidents with snub-nosed dogs in cargo holds in the past.
Pet Friendly Airlines:
It’s within the interest of your pet when taking them on vacation to find a pet friendly or pet only airline. It may be more expensive but it will ensure them a much more comfortable journey in which they would be looked after more diligently.
Take One Flight:
You will need to arrange your trip so that it only includes one flight without transfers. The initial airline might be okay with your pets but the company you transfer to may not be and this can lead to massive inconveniences.
It’s a great idea to take your pet on vacation with you as they are a part of your family after all, and you probably want to treat them as such instead of leaving them behind. But it’s not always a straight forward decision.
As long as you are prepared, have done your research and are able to pay any extra expenses for them you’ll find that the initial stages of vacationing with your pet is just a small hurdle to overcome and once you are there, it’s nothing but enjoyment and great memories being made until it’s time to head home again.
Carl McLean is a keen wildlife and pet enthusiast who runs the blog AnimalMentor.com. When he’s not busy taking the dogs out, or attending to his other collection of pets or helping out at the local wildlife sanctuary, he can be found blogging about animals, wildlife and conservation.