What’s a family trip without the whole family? For many pet parents, a weekend away at the cottage or time away with friends and family isn’t complete without their furry, four-legged companions. But travelling with pets isn’t as simple as loading them into the car with some food and driving off. To make sure the vacation goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few tips and essentials for travelling with pets.
- Paperwork, including all vaccination records, your veterinarian’s contact information and the name and number of a local animal hospital at your destination should all be prepared in advance. If you are travelling outside of the country, contact the country you are visiting to ensure you have all necessary documentation for your pet. This will come in handy in case of any emergencies and should make crossing the border much less of a hassle.
- A crate, carrier or harness is necessary to secure your pet when travelling by car. This will not only create a sense of comfort for them but will ensure their safety. When choosing a crate or carrier make sure your pet can comfortably lay down, stand up and turn around. To help ease any anxiety, let your pet get used to the carrier at home before setting off on the trip. Lastly, crates and carriers should always be secured in the vehicle so that they won’t shift or slide with a quick stop or sharp turn.
- In addition to your pet’s regular collar, temporary, travel collars are a smart idea. Include your cell phone number and the contact information of the place you are staying in case you and your pet get separated.
- When packing for your pet, be sure to properly measure out the amount of food for the entire trip and add a few extra meals in case of any delays. It is also recommended to bring water from home, be it bottled water or jugs filled with your regular tap water. Every location is different and there could be something in the water at your travel destination that doesn’t sit well with your pet, making them sick. Be sure to pack the leash, lots of bags, a scoop, any medications, grooming supplies and a first aid kit. And don’t forget to bring their favourite toy, pillow or blanket for comfort…and maybe a few extra treats for when a bribe is needed!
Travelling by Car
- If you will be driving much further than your pet is used to, gear them up for the trip by going for more frequent or longer car rides.
- Be sure to stop every few hours to get out of the car, have a stretch and bathroom break. This is also a good time for a drink of water.
- Meals should never be served in a moving car, no matter how long the drive. Pull over and let your pet dine on solid ground.
- Remember to never leave your pet unattended in the car. Temperatures inside the car can change drastically in a matter of minutes and extreme hot or cold could cause severe illness, or worse, for your pet.
Travelling by Plane
- Before your trip, consult your veterinarian and let them know you will be flying with your pet. They may prescribe some medication to keep your pet calm during the flight, especially if it is their first time on a plane.
- When flying with a pet, it’s a good idea to call the airline ahead of time to find out if they have any specific requirements for transporting animals such as veterinary certificates or special pet carriers. This will save time, frustration and quite possibly your vacation plans.
On a final note, remember not all hotels are pet friendly. Research hotels before your trip to ensure you know which welcome pets along your journey. You never know when you may need to unexpectedly pull over and don’t want to be caught unprepared late at night or during inclement weather.