For many people, pets are a part of the family, and the idea of leaving home for a trip or vacation without bringing their furry friends along is simply unthinkable. However, as many pet owners soon find out, traveling with animals can be a little trickier than you might first think. There are even times when it might be dangerous, both for you and your animals.
This is why it’s so important to think carefully before traveling with pets and make sure to follow proven safety tips and techniques to keep everyone protected. By taking the proper precautions and acting sensibly when traveling with furry, four-legged friends, you can help to ensure that every trip goes smoothly.
Use Crates, Carriers, and Restraints
If you’re planning a road trip with your pet, it’s so important to make use of crates, carriers, and restraints, depending on the type and size of your animal, rather than simply sitting them in a passenger’s lap or letting them roam free around the car.
Many drivers allow themselves to be distracted by animals in the vehicle, increasing the risks of accidents, and unrestrained pets become dangerous projectiles during high-speed collisions, making you, your pets, and others around you more likely to get injured. Be sure to find suitable crates or carriers for your pets to prevent this from happening.
Ensure Your Pets Can Be ID’d
It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling by car, boat, plane, or train, it’s always important to make sure that your pets can be identified if they get lost. Without a way to ID them, it will be so much harder, or even impossible, for anyone to reunite with your animal if they get lost or run away.
Dogs and cats should be microchipped, making it really simple for them to be identified, and collars or name tags can also help. It’s usually wise to add your name, phone number, or other contact details to a dog collar or travel tag too, so if anyone spots your animal out and about, they’ll be able to instantly get in touch with you.
Get A Check-up
Before traveling, it’s wise to visit your pet’s veterinarian and have a check-up. This is especially important if you’re going abroad or traveling somewhere where your pet could be at risk of pests or diseases.
Make sure that their vaccinations are all up to date, as well as ensuring that any necessary worm and flea prevention treatments have been applied, and speak with your vet to check that your furry friend is fit and safe to travel. Depending on where you’re going, you may even need to get a health certificate from the vet before entering a new country.
Prepare A Travel Bag
Prepare A Travel Bag Before gearing up for a big trip, you’ll probably spend a lot of time preparing your own bags and cases, but don’t forget to make up a travel bag for your pet as well. Depending on the pet you’re traveling with, this can include all kinds of items, such as food bowls, leashes, treats, grooming tools, medication, toys, and more.
There are even specially designed dog and cat travel bags that come with holders for food and water bowls built right in, along with compartments and pockets for all the extras you need as well. So, the next time you’re packing, be sure to write a little checklist of things to take for your pets, as well as yourself.
Be Careful With Food
Just like humans, some animals can get a little carsick and may not feel too comfortable in a moving vehicle for long stretches of time. This is why you need to be careful in regard to how and when you feed them.
Experts usually recommend feeding your dog or cat a light meal a few hours before setting off on your trip. This will give them time to digest their food properly, reducing the risks of them getting sick while on the road. It isn’t recommended to feed your furry friends in moving vehicles, but you should have breaks now and then where they can have some water and stretch their legs a little.
Think About Temperature
Don’t forget that dogs, cats, and other animals are typically covered with thick coats of fur, making them much hotter on average than humans. Many animals also find it pretty tricky to cool down on their own, and it’s even harder when they’re shut inside a big plastic carrier or metal crate, so remember to think about the temperature inside your vehicle and make adjustments accordingly.
If it’s a hot day, put on the air conditioning to help your animals feel comfortable and never leave them in a parked car on a sunny day, as dozens of dogs and plenty of other animals die this way each and every year. At the same time, if you’re traveling with more delicate pets, like guinea pigs, try to avoid making the car too hot or too cold, as big temperature changes can be dangerous for them.
Preparing Pets For Flight
There may come a time when you want to bring your pet onboard a plane with you, and the exact rules regarding this can vary from one airline to another. Some may let you bring your pet into the cabin, but many request that animals go into the hold.
This can be quite stressful and uncomfortable for your pets, so try to limit air travel for your animals as much as possible, and opt for direct flights to reduce the time they have to spend locked away in their crates. Get them used to their crates before travel and consider sprays or supplements that help to calm cats and dogs down before flying.
Traveling with a furry friend might not seem too inconvenient for you, but it can be quite a stressful experience for your pet and can lead to anxiety and injuries if you fail to prepare properly. Follow these tips to ensure that your pets have smooth, stress-free experiences every time they hit the road.