Traveling with a pet is a rewarding experience, yet it is important to keep in mind that a little preparation can go a long way toward keeping animals comfortable on the road. In addition to searching for pet-friendly lodging and transportation options, pet owners will want to plan ahead for their animal’s potential needs. Whether a person is traveling by train, plane or automobile, these tips will cover everything necessary to ensure smooth travels with one’s animal companion.
Consult with the Veterinarian
One of the first stops before embarking on an adventure with a pet should always be the veterinarian’s office. At this appointment, not only can a thorough check up and vaccinations be performed to ensure pets are healthy enough to travel, but veterinarians can also provide a few safety pointers that are specific to animal type and breed.
Choose an Appropriate Carrier
Dogs can sometimes travel in a car without a carrier, but they should still be provided with a pet barrier or seat belt designed for their size to keep them secure. Cats will likely need a carrier in the car, as will smaller pets. Those who will be flying should check with the airline for specific carrier guidelines.
Double Up on IDs
Despite the utmost of care, it is possible for the unimaginable to happen and a pet get lost. For peace of mind, make sure to place an additional updated identification tag with the address and phone number of hotels and other forms of lodging on the pet’s collar. Then, add an ID tag to the carrier and any other pet accessories as well.
Start with a Trial Run
Some animals take to travel as if it is a normal part of their lives. However, others may display behavior that is quite different from their usual selves. If possible, pet owners should take a few shorter trips that can help acclimate their pet to the form of transportation that will be used as well as their carrier. This can help to identify any potential issues before they arise on a longer trip.
Plan for Climate Changes
If a trip will involve going to another country or state with a different climate, it is important to plan accordingly. For example, smaller, short-haired pets may require a sweater in a colder climate, and thick-haired dogs may need to be trimmed at the groomer’s before heading to a warm or tropical locale.
Take Along a Comfort Item
Traveling to a new locale can cause some animals to be anxious or even depressed. A favorite toy or blanket can help to ease their anxiety and provide a source of entertainment while away.
Take Frequent Pit Stops
Those who are traveling by land should plan for occasional pit stops that will provide an opportunity for their pet to take a bathroom break or just run off some energy. Ideally, these breaks should be planned for at least every two to three hours, and animals should never be left alone in cars so even a restaurant can provide a chance to let a pet explore.
With a little preparation, pet owners and their animal companions will know what to expect when the big day arrives. Once the bags are packed and the pet is secured, it is important to relax and enjoy the traveling adventure. Remember that pets look to their owners to assess how to react to a new situation, and having confidence will ensure that everyone enjoys the trip.