Our pets are as much of a part of our family as the humans, so it makes sense than when we travel and go away on holiday, we want to take them with us. Now, most forms of transport were not designed with animals in mind, and there are many rules and avenues you need to check out before you embark on your journey.
If this is your first time taking your beloved pet away with you, bear these few tips in mind.
The first thing to do is check with your airline regarding their particular rules on travelling with animals. This varies from airline to airline and you need to be 100% filled in. You may need to obtain a health certificate for your pet from their vet, and you will almost certainly need to crate your pet too. This isn’t pleasant, but it is safer for your animal overall. We’ll talk about crating a little later on.
Again, it’s probably a better idea to crate your pet, because if you’re driving then you’re not going to get distracted by movement, making the journey safer for all involved. Never leave an animal in a parked car, even with the window down, because your vehicle will quickly turn into a sauna, which is very damaging and even fatal to animals. Make sure they have access to water at all times, and keep stopping for pitstops along the way.
We mentioned that crating isn’t pleasant, but it is a safer option. You need to make sure you select a crate which is big enough for your pet, without them being cramped or uncomfortable, and you need to present the crate as a positive experience, not something negative or something to be afraid of.
Make sure your pet is well exercised before they go inside the crate, and make sure there is nothing they could get tangled in or trapped by. When it comes to your animal going inside the crate, speak in an upbeat voice, and never put them in yourself, allow them to go in on their own steam, leaving the door open for a little while before you close it; also go back after 15 minutes or so, to alleviate separation anxiety.
It’s advisable not to start any journey on a full stomach or bladder, and generally for your animal to fast for around 6 hours before the start of the trip; do make sure they have access to water however, to stop dehydration.
It could be a good idea to take a favourite blanket or toy with you, for comfort purposes. Dogs in particular react very favourably to aromatherapy massages, using a little lavender oil, to calm and de-stress during journeys.
Travelling with pets isn’t a totally stress-free experience, quite the opposite, but if you can make the experience calmer for your furry friend, then you should both arrive at your destination without problems.