Having been in the travel business a long time, we have helped the odd person make arrangements while travelling with their pets and have come up against interesting logistical challenges that then prompted us to talk about the specifics of travel with pets. The most common reason to bring a pet on a trip is because you’re going on a lovely vacation and no memory will be complete without a picture with your pet in it.
Some travelers have decided to bring their pets on short business trips, which are an excuse to add a few vacation days on top. Another class of travellers with pets are those who need emotional support pets or guide dogs, so travel intrinsically involves them. No matter what the motivation to bring your pet on the road, here are some provisions.
On the Subject of Carriers
Whether you’re flying out, taking a train or gassing up your car for a good old-fashioned road trip, your pet will spend some considerable time in a carrier. If you haven’t established a practice to get your pet to places with a carrier before, then you need to make your pet comfortable with the new object in their life. You want a good amount of time between the introduction of the carrier and the start date of your trip. If your pet takes regular naps inside, then you’re golden. There are many ways to make them comfortable. Simply make it available for them to explore. Have them take treats. Place special toys or lay down a favorite blanket that already has their scent.
On the Subject of Planes & Foreign Countries
Is your trip taking you outside your country to visit CPHI Worldwide? Then the first thing you should do is consult with the government site of the said country to learn about pet restrictions. For instance, Australia employs rather strict policies about the permission of dogs and cats that have to do with rabies and it can cost a lot of money and time to make a trip happen, which is why you probably shouldn’t bother to take them on a vacation or a short stay in Australia. Certain countries require vaccinations that need to be done several months before travel or recent parasite testing.
As you check the regulations and requirements to enter a new country with your pet, so must you also read through the rules to board a plane. Airlines differ from one another on screening rules, and we generally advocate to take your pet with you in the cabin – this is where size regulations kick in. The only surest way to be able to travel with any pet is if they are a guide dog or a support animal. If you can’t take your fuzzy loved one with you, then be sure to make friends with the flight crew (especially pilots) and make it a point to mention how you’re worried about your pet.
On the Subject of Road Trips
Road trips might seem less imposing than flying with a pet, but there are still considerations to be made. Is your pet comfortable in the car? Certain dogs and cats find car rides frightening and just before leaving, it’s important to make them used to being in the car. A frightened animal will try to escape, which as a rule you should keep doors locked, windows closed and sunscreen shut. That is the same reason why you should put on a harness on a dog before exiting the car on a break. Dogs need breaks every so often as they’re often full of energy. As cats are easier to lose, it’s best to keep their litter box inside as to prevent them from running off.
We don’t think we should say this, but it’s important so we want to emphasize – don’t leave your pet alone in the car for any amount of time, because car interiors may heat up dramatically even, when the weather is not as hot outside.
Sometimes It’s for the Best Not to Travel
No matter how prepared you are, there are some instances where it’s best to have your pets stay at home in the care of a pet sitter. Maybe they’re too old or fragile. Maybe your pet is too nervous to risk their state of mind. Maybe the road is too long and the stay too short to justify the nightmarish logistics. In these cases and more, it’s probably for the best to make all the provisions for them to stay at home. Yes, your pet will mourn your absence and miss you terribly, but they’ll be in a safe and loving environment, which is ultimately for the better.