Keep Your Furry Friend Stress-Free!
If you’re planning a travel adventure someplace far and exotic, you are probably thinking about all the new things you’ll get to try and all the amazing sights you’ll be seeing.
Exciting, right? But, if you’ve got a little fur-baby at home, you might be debating whether or not you should bring them along and let them experience this new adventure with you or let them stay in the comfort of their home, awaiting your return.
Before you embark on any actual travel with or without your pet, preparation is the key. Although we could go on about the various pros and cons about traveling with pets or leaving them with a sitter, let’s go ahead and tackle a few of the more complicated choices.
Traveling With Your Pet
To be honest, most pet-owners opt to leave their pets home. They may hire a sitter, leave their pets with a close friend or relative or even paying for a specialized pet hotel, kennel or other facility aimed at providing your little baby with a vacation of their own. However, if you’re one of the few that has decided otherwise, here’s a few tips to keep your pet calm during the trip.
Check With A Vet
It is a good idea to check with a vet if your plans involve any flying. A Veterinarian can check on any vaccination requirements or recommendations for your travel destination. They can also provide a pet health certificate. Understand that airlines are very strict about enforcing vaccination and valid pet health certificates before allowing your pet to travel. Going to the vet is the best way for you to assess whether your pet is travel ready and is also a great place to find an expert on what to do and what not to do for your pet.
Although you might think that your kitty is too healthy and too calm to have to go to the vet before traveling, one can never be too safe when it comes to their fur babies.
Mode of Transport
Traveling is such a vague term that basically covers the transport from one area to another. The method at which you do this can vary.
Whether you are taking a car, riding a train, or flying to your destination, it is important to remember that each comes with its own set of problems.
The following tips detail a few, but not all, of the common problems pet owners face for each mode of transport. We’ll be classifying 3 main modes of transport: By Car, By Train, and By Plane. When traveling on a bus, if the service allows, treat it like you’ll be traveling by car.
Airlines Are Changing Pet Travel Policies
As this post is written, the major airlines are in a period of change regarding their policies on accepting animals. Delta Airlines recently said it would no longer allow Pit Bulls on any flight even as a service-animal or emotional-support animal. United Airlines recently stated it is banning all emotional-support animals that are not dogs or cats. So leave the bird or snake home. United is also banning puppies and kittens under 4-months.
The rules keep changing. Make sure you inquire with your airline about their pet travel policy before buying that non-refundable ticket.
Keep Your Pet Secure
Motion sickness is a common problem for cats. Younger dogs are also prone to this. Whichever way you decide to travel, having a safe, secure and comfortable pet carrier is a must. This not only minimizes motion sickness but also keeps your pet safe in case of any accidents.
Even when you’ll be traveling by car, it is not advisable to allow your pet to sit on the backseat without anything to keep them in place no matter how calm and relaxed they might seem. This also keeps you and other passengers safe.
A bonus tip is to let them get used to their pet carrier. If it’s their first time, you can get the carrier a few weeks before the travel date and let them settle in for a few hours a day just to get a better feel.
This method of acclimatization will help them feel more relaxed during the actual trip. In planes and trains, a pet carrier is a must. As bigger pets may need to be put in with the cargo, a large pet carrier that will securely keep their food and water in place is the best option.
Cats are much luckier as their smaller size allows them to avoid having to be stored with the other luggage. You can simply place their carrier under your seat.
Schedule Your Trip
Timing is always a big factor in any endeavor. When traveling by car, avoid mid-summer drives as the air may be too dry and hot for them. Traveling in the middle of the day, when the sun is highest and temperatures are not conducive may not only stress them but also lead to a heat stroke.
If such a trip is unavoidable, keep them hydrated and away from direct sunlight. When traveling via plane or train, peak seasons may not be favorable. Keeping track of precious cargo, such as your pet, may become difficult as personnel are too busy accommodating the other passengers.
Cats are often times uncomfortable in crowded atmospheres and being in such a busy environment can cause unnecessary stress.
Food, water, shelter and clothing are the 4 basic necessities of life. If you’re a pet, you’d only need the first 3, and since we’ve already covered the need for a pet carrier early on, let’s emphasize the importance of an adequate supply of food and water.
These should be easily available to your pet, and be spill proof during the trip. While there might be some tips on what to feed your pets during travel, a rule you should follow is to not give them something new. Avoid introducing a new meal into their diet as it may cause indigestion or allergies.
What’s the best thing to feed your pet during a trip? Whatever you’ve been feeding them before.
More Breaks – Shorter Travel Times
An advantage to road trips is the chance to take rest stops to allow your pet to stretch and relax. Give time for several stops, especially when it’s their first time. This option will give them a chance to slowly get used to the routine.
However, when the option to drive to your destination is not available, always opt for a direct flight or an express train.
The shorter the time you take to travel, the better it is for your pet. Some may think that cats are alright staying in their carriers for extended periods of time but even the laziest kitty needs to be able to move.
While we try to keep our pets as safe as possible during a trip, there should always be a backup plan. If your pet doesn’t already have a name tag, be sure to secure a good and strong collar around them. It doesn’t matter if Snowbell fusses and doesn’t like having it, it is for their own good.
The tag should contain more than just a big Snowbell printed out in bold letters. Providing the owner’s name, contact number, and your travel destination will help make sure that Snowbell gets to where he needs to be. Other information like the flight number or the train number would also help. The pet carrier should also be labeled accordingly.
Sedatives or Relaxants
There may not be a need to purchase tranquilizers for your pets, unless prescribed by the vet. However, using relaxing medication to calm or sedate your pet may be an option for some. Just like any form of medication, you will need the vet’s approval before giving it to your pet.
If you’d rather not give them any drugs, there are several herbal remedies to help keep them calm. Using catnip on kitty cats has always proven effective when trying to calm them down. Cats.how provides several ways to help keep these felines relaxed.
However, the same rule for food is applicable here: do not give them something new.