Travelling with a pet? It’s not as straightforward
Travelling with your pet can be an interesting experience for both of you. It is a chance to bond and for your pet to see a new environment, different from the familiar one.
Before embarking on your journey, do a little research. Make sure that pets are allowed where you will be staying. Some boarding facilities will specify rules regarding the type of animals, age, size and number of pets allowed per person on their website.
You can also call ahead just to be sure of details such as how much the cleaning fee is as well as pet fee deposit.
Have the pet’s name and your phone number on their collar to help you reunite just in case you are separated. Be sure to cushion your pet’s carrier with their favourite blanket or a T-shirt with your scent. A sense of familiarity can relax a distressed pet. If your pet has never travelled in a car before, take short drives with it before the main trip. Reward the pet with treats and praises after the rides so that they can associate car rides with fun.
Before the drive, or even a flight, take your dog for an extra-long walk or run to help drain their energy.
The more tired the dog is, the higher the likelihood he will sleep and relax in the car. If they don’t sleep en route, offer a toy that will keep them occupied for a while.
Inside the car, let the pet remain in their crate to prevent them from wandering freely around the car, which will be a distraction for the driver. You need to have trained them first on how to be calm in the crate, otherwise, they will be distressed in the carrier with a lot of meowing, barking and whimpering.
Also, to prevent motion sickness, give your pet a light meal around four hours before the travel time and make stops after every two hours for bathroom breaks and exercise.
If travelling by air, check on the rules of travelling with a pet as they keep changing and are sometimes complicated. For instance, some countries demand that the animal be fitted with a microchip and have a rabies vaccination for dogs. They must also be at least six months old.
In the plane, the pet can travel with you in a pet carrier that fits under the seat or in the cargo hold. Animals must be able to stand, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the kennel. Also, book on time, as airlines limit the number of pets in the cabin.
Before you leave, pack their favourite toy, water, food bowls, treats, blanket, leash, waste bags and any necessary travel documents. Once that is done, take it easy and tackle every challenge as it comes.
Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]