April 4, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Meet Miss Vida. She is my 7-year-old Yorkie, and she travels all around the world with me. Sure, I have taken plenty of trips without her, but none of my travels are as enjoyable as when she is with me.
Not only do I want to make sure that you have an outstanding trip, but when you choose to travel with your furry friend, I want everything to go smoothly for them as well. When you visit a foreign country with your pet, some steps have to take place both before and after you arrive; although you may not know what these steps are, I am very familiar with the process.
So sit back, relax, and let me help you and your pet with your travel arrangements — you will be happy you did.
Pet Travel Tips
What to Pack:
- Pet Identification – Your pet needs to wear a collar with ID tags at all times. It doesn’t hurt to carry veterinary documentation such as shot records with you in case you need proof of pet identity or your pet has a medical emergency.
- Food and Treats – It is important to bring your pet’s regular food with you when you travel. Many countries don’t carry the brands of food that your pet is used to. Randomly switching their food or treats is a bad idea as it can cause stomach problems.
- Medication – Similar to the food dilemma, it is challenging to find your pet’s medications that you may readily have on hand at home. Make sure to pack any medications that your pet needs to have.
- Personal Items – Travel is often stressful for our babies and the more familiar items from home that you can bring with you the more comfortable your pet will be. Consider packing their food and water dishes, bedding, toys, and grooming supplies.
- Collar and Leash – A collar and leash are a must. Not only does your pet need a place for its ID to hang from, but you need to have a way to walk around with them.
- Water in Hand – Just like people, pets get thirsty and require regular hydration. Because you aren’t always going to be in places where water is readily available, make sure you always carry water with you. Also, a portable water bowl is very helpful to have as well.
Tips for Traveling by Car with Small Dogs:
- Have a Car Seat – It is extremely unsafe for your pet to roam around freely in the car. Get yourself a pet car seat for your little one; it will keep them safe and you undistracted.
- Plenty of Rest Stops – Just because you can make it another hour to your next stop doesn’t mean that your pet can. Give your pet plenty of rest stops. Your pet needs to walk, use the bathroom, drink water, and eat, and regular stops will allow both of you the time for this.
- NEVER Leave Your Pet Alone – Your pet is just like a child and NEVER should be left alone in a car. It can get too hot, and they can suffocate. It can get too cold, and they can become sick. Someone could steal them. There are hundreds of reasons, so just remember Never to leave them in the car!
Tips for Traveling by Airplane with Pets:
- Whenever Possible Choose the Cabin – If you are traveling with a small dog or cat, most airlines will allow you to have them in the cabin for an additional fee. However, you must contact the airline well in advance as there are limits to the number of animals they can allow in each cabin.
- Questions to Ask the Airline – There are several things to ask the airline before you can travel with your pets; make sure you get clear answers to all of your questions.
- Can your pet come in the cabin with you? Not all airlines have the same rules; some allow pets in the cabin and others don’t. Some allow up to a certain poundage, while other allow more or less. So ask, and be clear on what your airline will permit.
- Are there any special pet health and immunization requirements? Health and immunization requirements are of particular importance when traveling out of the country. Many foreign countries have immunization requirements, and the airlines are required to make sure all pets traveling are properly immunized.
- Does the airline require a particular carrier? Again, each airline has different rules and regulations for pets flying with them; even if you have flown with your pet before and used a certain carrier, the airline you are flying this time may have different requirements. So make sure you know what their carrier specifications are.
- Be Cautious when Going Through Airport Security – Make sure to take precautions when bringing your pet through security.Your pet is your baby, and you love him, but remember not everyone is comfortable around your pet as you are. You want both your pet and the security officer who checks your pet’s carrier comfortable. Follow security’s instructions and offer advice for handling your pet if you think it will ease the situation.
- Take Direct Flights – The easiest way to travel with pets is to take them on one airplane that flies direct to your destination. Some airports offer a place for your pet to relieve itself between flights, but in most cases, you have to exit the airport to find a place for your pet to use the restroom. Once you exit the airport, you have to go back again through security which takes time.
- Get Your Pet Used to the Carrier – Never travel with your pet without getting them used to their carrier first. You don’t want a nervous animal who spends the entire flight barking and wanting out. Spend the month before your travels familiarizing your baby with the carrier.
- DO NOT use Pet Tranquilizers – Unless your veterinarian advises and prescribes a tranquilizer for your pet, NEVER give your pet any tranquilizer — you may think you are helping your baby, but tranquilizers aren’t beneficial to every pet.
Tips for Traveling by Ship with Pets:
- Most of the Time it’s NOT Allowed – Unfortunately, except with assistance dogs, pets are not welcome on cruise lines. Although you should check with your cruise line, because a few allow them — and usually only on ocean crossings.
- Ship’s Kennel – When pets are authorized to travel via cruise ship, most of the time they have to stay in the ship’s kennel. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out about their kennel facilities. Make sure you provide them with necessities such as bedding that will keep them protected from the elements; ships don’t typically heat kennel areas. Also, it is important to check on your pet frequently and make sure they are doing well.
- Sometimes Pets are allowed in Private Cabins – Contact your cruise line in advance and inquire as to what their traveling pet policies are. If they do allow pets in cabins, you most likely will need to be in a private cabin, and possibly pay a pet deposit or cleaning fee.
Tips for Traveling by Train with Pets:
- Amtrak DOES NOT Allow Pets – Unfortunately, unless you have an assistance dog, your pet will not be allowed to travel with you on Amtrak.
Are You Traveling to a Foreign Country?
- Animal Health Requirements – Each country has different animal health requirements, and you will need to know what the requirements of the country you are visiting. As soon as you know where and when you are traveling, make an appointment with your local veterinarian. Your vet can help with the pet export process. This process includes getting a health certificate, updating vaccinations, completing disease testing, and having your paperwork reviewed and endorsed by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS.)
- Returning to the United States – Just like there are animal health requirements when you travel outside of the United States to a foreign country, there are also certain re-entry health requirements upon your return. Not all international travel requires re-entry conditions be met. However, you will need to know before you travel if you need to take any steps for your re-entry into the United States.
- APHIS USDA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains the APHIS department. This website offers readers a wealth of information on traveling with pets, as well as some outstanding resources.
- Banfield Pet Hospital – If you need help getting all the paperwork together for your travels contact Banfield Pet Hospital. This veterinarian is well trained in international travel and can help you through the process.
I hope that these pet travel tips have given you all of the information you need to vacation with your baby. However, if you have any questions, please feel to contact me.
Safe travels with your babies!!