FLASH: Today, there are more pet travel options now than ever before, and with the right preparation your pets can travel safely and happily.
Here is some expert advice on how to make that happen, as follows:
The Basics of Pet Travel
- Make sure your pet is up for the trip: The 1st thing you want to ask yourself is, ‘Are you sure your pet really wants to go?’” says Patricia B. McConnell, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and author of The Education of Will. So, think about your pet’s personality and remember that traveling will involve exposure to new people and changing environments.” Also, consult with your vet if you have any doubt as to whether or not your pet is healthy enough to handle the adventure.
- Book in advance. And confirm: Book your hotel or rental property early, and call to confirm you can get a pet-friendly room. Hotels will only have a certain number of rooms available for pet use. Airlines and trains also have a set capacity for pets on each trip, so reserve ahead of time to be sure there’s a spot for your animal.
- Get a pet ID: Your animal should always travel with tags that carry his name and your cell number. And ideally, your dog or cat should have a microchip. They are about the size of a grain of rice, they’re programmed with a unique ID number, and they’re easily injected beneath your pet’s skin. If he gets lost, a simple scan can identify you as his owner. This is not about keeping your tech edge, a Y 2009 study showed that microchipped dogs are more than 2X as likely to be reunited with their owners as non-microchipped dogs, and microchipped cats are more than 20X as likely to be returned home. Just be sure to keep your contact information current with the microchip registry database.
- Get an approved pet carrier: Make sure the airline or railway has officially sanctioned your carrier by checking the requirements on the website. Then label the carrier with your pet’s name as well as your name and contact info. Mark it clearly and prominently with the words “Live Animal,” so nobody can mistake it for regular luggage.
- Acclimate your pet to the carrier:As soon as you’ve got your carrier, start enticing your dog or cat to use it.
- Bring medical records: Gather health records, medication information, and proof of vaccinations from your vet, and carry them with you. Rules vary by airline and country, so check for any “pet passport” requirements long before it is time to leave. You might even need your pet’s medical documents when driving across state lines, or to make an emergency visit to the vet. “
- Get the right gear: Invest in collapsible water bowls, waste bags, a safety harness, and a leash. Don’t forget comfort items like a dog bed and toys.
- Stay on schedule: Try to feed your animal at the same times of day as you would at home.
- Avoid adventurous eating: Bring your pet’s food from home, and stick to bottled water, changes in diet can cause GI upset in pets just as they can in owners.
The Risks: For many pet owners, the risks outweigh the benefits. But some travelers have no choice. And still others have found happy ways to bring their pets along by car, train, and plane. In fact, the percentage of dog owners taking their pets on trips more than 2X’d between Y’s 2006 and 2016, from 20 to 40%, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association.
Enjoy your travels…
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