People are frequently travelling with their pets, especially since pet-friendly accommodations are becoming more popular. If you are planning a long voyage, it is recommended that you prepare your pet. Start with short trips close to home, and gradually increase the time spent in the vehicle.
Before your long voyage, ensure that your pet is healthy. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that vaccinations are up to date, and that your pet is protected against diseases and parasites found in areas where you will be travelling. This should be done at least one month prior to departure in case booster vaccines are necessary.
- Feed your pet at least 2 hours before you depart so the chance of vomiting is minimized.
- If travelling with a dog, take them for a long walk before you start your journey.
- Create a place where your pet can ride comfortably and safely. Some pets travel better when they can see out the window, while others seem to prefer not seeing outside.
- A dog harness is ideal to secure your pet in case of sudden stops, while cats travel best in a secure carrier. Having your pet loose and sitting in your lap is not a good idea, especially if you are driving.
- Water should be offered frequently, especially during warm weather.
- It is a good idea to stock extra paper towels, wipes and refuse bags in case of “accidents”.
- Sedatives are generally not recommended unless directed by your veterinarian.
Travelling With Your Pet By Air
Travelling by air is a very stressful situation for both cats and dogs, and should be avoided if at all possible. If air travel is necessary, discuss your needs with a reputable airline at the time of making your reservation. The most ideal situation is if
your pet is small enough to fit in a carrier which goes beneath your seat. Each airline has weight and size restrictions for this, so again check with them at the time of reservation. Ask for underseat measurements in the plane you will be traveling in so that you can purchase an appropriate carrier- most recommend soft carriers in this situation. Larger pets must be sent in the cargo department, however this section is fully pressurized and heated in large airlines. Again, each airline has different requirements so inquire at the time of reservation.
- Don’t travel during peak holiday times as your pet will be given less attention.
•Unless you absolutely have no choice, only consider a direct flight. If you must change flights, be sure you can collect and then re-check your dog at the layover airport.
- Your pet may be exposed to the elements in the loading areas, so in the summer, travel early or late in the day to avoid heat; and in winter, travel mid-day to avoid severe cold.
- Make sure your dog’s collar and ID tags are sturdy.
- Make sure you are carrying a veterinarian certificate showing that your pet is in good health and their vaccinations are current, along with proper papers if flying outside of Canada. A photo of you pet is handy just in case.
- If the flight is over 3 hours, be sure the pet has water in the crate.
- Ensure your crate is labelled with live animal stickers, your pet’s name, flight, as well as your name and contact information.
- Be certain that the door of the kennel is SECURE.
- Be sure not to leave anything in the crate that your dog can shred, might get sick from, or choke on.
- Generally sedatives are not recommended unless directed by your veterinarian.