When contemplating travel, few people imagine their animals as potential companions. Bringing pets can complicate traveling in numerous ways, such as trying to fit bathroom breaks in during short layovers or obtaining certificates and other documents for traveling to certain locations with pets.
However, if you are the kind of pet parent that loves experiencing new places with their four-legged family members, safe and pet-friendly adventures are certainly within reach. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of your pet for your next adventure.
1. Plan Far in Advance
Traveling with a pet takes plenty of planning. You must be sure to pack everything your pet could potentially need including any special food, medication, toys, leashes, collars, and other essentials. You will also need to take the time to prepare your pet for travel. Many animals will not take kindly to an upheaval in their routine and will need to be trained for safe, comfortable travel.
If you are planning to fly, contact the airline to confirm their rules about pet travel. Some airlines will not allow animals, and others only permit pets in the cargo hold. Each pet-friendly airline will have certain rules about carrier specifications.
Of course, most pet parents avoid placing their pets in cargo when possible. The cargo hold itself is typically safe; however, the hours spent on the ground waiting for the flight to leave may expose your pet to extreme conditions. If you fail to plan a flight far enough in advance, you may find your trip canceled.
If you’re traveling by car, you should map your route to ensure enough stops for your pet to get out, stretch, and relieve themselves. You should also take proper safety precautions. Larger pets should have a seatbelt harness to protect against car accidents, while smaller pets can benefit from a car seat.
2. Research Your Destination
Before traveling to a new place with your pet, you should be sure to research your destination to gauge pet-friendliness. Key things to look for include pet-friendly accommodations, parks, and businesses, as well as a nearby vet in case of an emergency.
Research is particularly important when traveling abroad. Each country has specific laws dictating the importation of animals. You may need a pet passport, blood test results, a microchip, or other documentation just to leave the airport with your pet.
Some countries have quarantine periods that last as long as several months. You must do your research before attempting to bring your pet to a new country, or your pet could end up in quarantine without you for an extended period.
3. Know When to Leave Your Pet at Home
Even if it is your life goal to bring your pet everywhere you go, there are some trips that just aren’t worth the risk. Frequent travel can be very stressful for animals that thrive on routine, and some countries’ laws are less than accommodating.
It is important to know that you can leave your pet in good hands while you travel. There are plenty of freelance pet sitters and walkers that would love nothing more than to spoil your pet while you are away. Though it can be upsetting to leave your travel companion behind, sometimes it’s in your pet’s best interests.
Pet travel may be more complicated than going alone. When you truly love your pet, it sometimes feels impossible to leave them behind. Your pet can stay safe during trips with careful planning and research, though there are some instances when a pet sitter may be a better idea. Whatever you decide to do, always prioritize your pet’s safety, health, and comfort.
Author: Jessica Brody, OurBestFriends.pet
Image by Pixabay by Tess deGroot