Are you thinking of taking your dog, cat, or hamster on your next trip? Many people assume that it’s supremely tricky — if not impossible — to travel with dogs. However, I learned that, with research and a little extra planning, you could take your furry friends along with you on most travel adventures — and it’s not as difficult as you might think.
There’s a lot to know, but don’t worry, we’ve got it covered. Read on to be prepared!
1. Get a Temporary ID Tag and Carry a Current Photo
Get a temporary ID tag with information about where you’ll be staying on your vacation. Secure it on their collar next to the permanent one with your name and home address. If you’re like most pet parents, carrying a recent photo is not a stretch for you.
2. Make copies of pet-related documents
If you’re planning to cross borders or travel internationally, you’ll need your pet’s health records on hand. These are necessary to prove that your dog is healthy and vaccinated. Additionally, if you need to visit a new vet abroad, you’ll be able to provide them with your furry friend’s medical history.
Keep multiple copies of your pets’ medical records and vet information with you at all times. This includes both a virtual copy on your phone and printed copies in your day bag.
3. Triple-check airline pet policies
You can find regulations for each airline online, but to be sure, you should call them as they can change. A direct, non-stop flight is your best bet.
Policies and prices for flying with your pet also vary according to a few factors. They usually depend on the airline, the country you’re traveling to, and the size and breed of your pet. There’s also the option of air travel in the cabin, in cargo, or as a part of the baggage.
4. Choose carry-on or cargo
Generally, if your pet is more than 11 kg, you can bring him/her on-board with you. If it’s a big dog, you’ll have to decide if you will send him/her as checked luggage or as cargo.
Make sure when booking your ticket that you call the reservations line and tell them you are bringing a pet. It’s also a good idea to call 24-48 hours to reconfirm.
5. Find a pet-friendly hotel
Before you book your hotel, make sure they welcome pets. This could mean different things to different hotels, from merely allowing them on the premises to offering spa treatment. Know your responsibilities like where your pet is allowed and if your damage deposit is refundable.
There are some hotel chains; however, that welcome your pets without asking for any extra cash — no additional fees, no deposits, and no one-time charges. Consider one of these hotels when you’re booking your next trip.
6. Consider the time of year
Ideally, you should travel in a moderate climate. If you do intend to travel in cold weather, you may need to obtain an acclimation certificate. Some airlines won’t even allow pet travel in the cargo hold during hot or cold weather.
If you’re traveling in the summertime, book a flight in the early morning or late evening, preferably.
(P.S- An Acclimation Certificate is used to allow airlines to ship dogs and cats when they cannot guarantee compliance with animal welfare regulations. Typically, a veterinarian certifies that the animal being transported is acclimated to temperatures lower than 45 °F.)
7. Have your pet checked and inoculated
Your pet will need to be cleared by a veterinarian before flying. Within 10 days of your trip, get a health certificate.
Also, decide if you need to medicate your pet. Regardless of which mode of transportation you choose to go with, choosing whether to medicate your pet is a decision that you shouldn’t make lightly. Consult with your veterinarian and heed their advice.
8. Consider Finding the Most Direct Route
While especially crucial with airline flights, finding the most direct route on a road trip in a car is essential too.
If your pet travels well, it would be fun to work tourist stops into your itinerary. Depending on your pet, the short breaks for exercise could help ease their anxiety, or it could be better just to get where you’re going as fast as you can. You know your pet best, so use your best judgment in deciding how to plot your route.
9. Condition them to their Crate
Whether the journey is by car, airplane, or boat, chances are your pooch will be in a crate or carrier for a portion of the trek.
Sure, some pets are accustomed to this environment, especially if they sleep in their kennel at home. Others will be less than thrilled to find themselves in a confined area. Start conditioning them to feel comfortable with their kennel or carrier a few weeks to a month before the trip by having it out in common areas of the house.
This way, they get to sniff it, see it, lay in it, and get accustomed to it before they have to travel in it.
10. Get Pet Insurance
If you’re a pet owner, you know how expensive vet bills can be. Travel brings inherent risks to the health of your animal, so it’s a good idea to purchase some pet travel insurance before you leave. Oriental Insurance, United India Insurance, and PetPlan Many companies are the first choices, to name a few.
11. Take a Pet Carrier
Before you spend money on a carrier, double-check the allowed dimensions of the airline you are flying with and purchase accordingly. The brand’s Sherpa, Pet Roll Around, is accepted by most airlines.
If you are checking your pet or sending as cargo, make sure to mark your name and address, indicate which side is up, provide food and water dishes accessible from the outside, and indicate in large lettering that a live animal is inside.
12. Pack the Essentials
Pack your pet’s essentials in case you can’t find them on the road (not every location has a good pet store!).
- Pet Food & Water
- Travel Bowls
- First Aid Kit
- Poop Bags & Leash
- Toys & Treats
- Supplements for Anxiety
- Lots of PATIENCE