Traveling and being able to bring your beloved pet is a fun and exciting experience. It allows the pet parent to enjoy their vacation to the fullest. For your pet though, it may be somewhat stressful. Think about what your pet’s needs are on a daily basis. Is your pet physically disabled or elderly? Does your pet have any illnesses? Is your pet agitated when out of his/her element? If your pets are like ours, then they absolutely love to travel. Still, these are all questions you need to answer before you take your pet on vacation with you. You can get started with travel preparations once you know that your pet will enjoy traveling and will have a stress free vacation.
Take a Trip to the Vet
Start by making an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian to ensure that your pet is healthy and completely up-to-date on all of his/her vaccinations. You will want your vet’s opinion on whether or not he/she can travel well and safely. Your vet may be able to recommend and prescribe medications that may put your pet at ease during travel. At the end of your medical visit, remember to leave with a health certificate. The certificate must be dated within 10 days of travel. Keep in mind that when flying, you will need paperwork that certifies that your pet is authorized to travel. Be sure to keep this handy during travel as you may be asked to show it to authorized personnel and upon check-in at the airport.
Review Your Visiting Country’s Rules on Traveling with Pets
Take the time to search out rules and regulations for bringing a pet into the country of your destination. You will want to meet all of their requirements such as vaccinations, quarantine and entrance paperwork. Each country lists their requirements on their government’s website. Leave enough time for writing and sending any necessary documents to the country’s governmental office prior to traveling.
If at all possible, make an attempt to travel during non-peak hours. The less crowded the airport and airplane, the better for your pet. This will help to ensure a less stressful experience for your pet. Attempt direct travel by skipping the layovers and taking the shortest flight route possible; you won’t want to search for places to walk your pet or for bathroom break areas. If your pet is 20lbs or less, make sure to take your pet in the cabin area of the airplane with you. This will help your pet feel more comfortable and avoid any safety hazards associated with your pet being loaded into the luggage area underneath the plane. If your pet is large in size and must be loaded below cabin, ask that airline personnel watch him/her being loaded and unloaded to help maintain your pet’s safety.
Make sure your pet’s carrier is both safe and meets all requirements for breed and size as this is often checked by airline personnel. If you have a large pet you will be required to invest in a hard carrier, as your pet will likely be below cabin. If your pet is traveling with you in the main cabin, we suggest a soft carrier that easily fits underneath your seat. The carriers will need to be large enough that your beloved pet is able to stand, lay and turn comfortably in. A tip to keep in mind is to purchase your pet’s carrier some time before your travels and allow your pet to wander in and out, so they become comfortable with the carrier and realize it is a safe place.
All in all, organization and planning is key when traveling with your pet. If you follow our suggestions and ensure your pet is comfortable and well taken care of, your pet will arrive safely and enjoy a happy and healthy vacation with you.