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How to Travel With Pets

Traveling with pets

Traveling with pets

Traveling with pets can either be an enjoyable or stressful experience for both you and your pet. How well you prepare will determine the type of experience you have. Here are some tips on how to globetrot with your favorite companion.

What You Need to Pack
Whether you will be traveling far away or relatively close to your home, you will need to pack for your pet. Packing for pets is quite different from packing for yourself. Carry extra pet food, toys and something that reminds your pet of home, such as a blanket. For dog-owners, a collapsible water bowl is perfect for hydration on-the-fly. Check the weather in your destination as your dog may require a cooling vest for hot weather areas, or may be comfier with a sweater in a cool car or airplane cabin. You will also need doggie bags to clean up after Fido.

Before the Trip
Ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are all up to date and bring copies of the shot record. If flying, register your pet with the airline. Many air carriers set a maximum number for pets permitted to travel aboard a flight. Also, check on crate and carrier dimensions, as most airlines require that a large dog must be able to stand up and turn around within their carrier. Have identifying information that is as detailed as possible on both the collar and carrier, including your destination and home addresses and phone numbers.

On the Road
If planning for a long drive, spend a couple of days getting your pet used to being inside the car. For example, take them to your local park a couple of times to generate a positive association. To avoid carsickness, feed your pet a couple of hours before getting on the road. Keep the car cool and consider utilizing a harness for safety.

At the Airport
Take a long relaxing walk with your pet before heading to the terminal. Today, many airports have pet relief zones or small outdoor areas ideal for this. Set aside enough time for your travels such that you do not get stressed out. Stress can easily be transferred onto your pet. Have treats on hand. However, do not overdo the pre-flight snacks as dogs that are not used to flying are prone to getting stomach upsets.

On the Plane
Pets larger than a small dog will not be allowed to sit with you inside the cabin area. You will, therefore, need to check them in as cargo. Do not give your pet medication to calm them down, especially if they are flying cargo. Such drugs could interfere with their ability to regulate body temperature. If your dog’s stress levels concern you, try using collars that emit stress-zapping hormones.

At the Hotel
Arrange beforehand for a private car service to get you and your pet from the airport to the hotel. There are certain precautionary steps you should take during your stay at a pet-friendly hotel. While you are away, leave on the TV to provide your pet with some background noise. This will comfort them and help to drown out any stress-inducing city sounds that they may not be used to.
Keep the “do not disturb” sign on the door at all times such that housekeeping does not scare your pet. To minimize foot traffic right in front of your door, request for a room away from the elevator. Your dog could get excited if they think you are coming back for them. It is also wise to set up a “safe space” inside the room, with a water bowl and blankets for your dog. Spend some time acclimatizing your pup to the new before you make your first foray into the city without them.

In the Foreign City
Research on pet-friendly activities in the city you are visiting. Some listings will include details such as whether dogs are allowed to run off their leash or if there is a designated pet area. This will enable you to find the right activities for your pet. Inquire from the concierge at your pet-friendly hotel about restaurants that have outdoor seating, as they are likely to have lots of suggestions.

For some pets, traveling can be a stressful ordeal. It is, therefore, important to take into account the personality of your pet before you book your trip. Are they outgoing around strangers? Is your dog comfortable while exploring new environments and unbothered by spending time in a parked or moving vehicle? These are all good indicators of how your pet may handle a couple of days with you on a travel adventure.

What type of pets do you travel with? Comment below and let us know so we can Go! See! Learn!

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Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae is the creator of The Traveling Vixen, which captures her adventures around the world. Her passion is to inspire others to grow by experiencing and learning new things in the world.