TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH PETS
My daughter just got herself an adorable puppy last year. We are a traveling family and adding a new puppy gave us pause for thought. However, with proper planning, a new family member doesn’t have to complicate things.
Most pet owners do not trust airlines with their pets when traveling in the cargo hold, including me. But I also worry about her when we leave her at home. For pet parents who have concerns about flying with their pets, Air Travel Consumer Reports shows that there is little cause for worry while traveling with your pet.
Here are some travel tips we’ve learned along the way.
If you are traveling by air, the safest place for your pet’s carrier is inside the cabin. Some airlines will allow you to keep a small dog or cat in the cabin. Be aware, there are additional fees. Alert the airline as soon as possible if you are planning on flying with your pet because there are limits on the number animals allowed in the cabin during each flight.
- Inquire about crate size requirements.
- If you are unable to have your pet in the cabin, inquire about ways to keep her more comfortable and safe in the cargo hold.
- Request to watch your pet as he is loaded and unloaded from the cargo hold.
- Fly direct whenever possible. It limits possible mistakes and delays in removing your pet from the plane.
- Upon boarding the plane, let the captain and flight attendant know that your pet is in the cargo hold.
- Use a collar that cannot be caught on the doors of her carrier. We use the kind that has the info stitched into the band of the collar. The collar must have a permanent ID that lists your name, phone number and home address and a temporary ID listing the telephone number and vacation address.
- Clip her nails to keep her from getting them hung up on the carrier’s holes or door.
- Abstain from feeding her about four hours before the trip. She can have small amounts of water.
- Place a label on the carrier with your name, permanent address, phone number, and destination, the number you can be reached at once you land.
- Make sure to pack a couple of toys in their crate.
The cargo hold is not cooled or heated. It also has no ventilation until the plane is in flight. This makes preflight the most dangerous time. Take a late evening or early morning flight if you are flying in the summer. In the winter choose an afternoon flight.
Snub-nosed animals should not travel by air. Their physiology limits their ability to breathe under stressful or hot conditions. Some airlines will not even carry these animals.
If you choose to drive, the best place for your pet is in his carrier in the back seat. We use a Kurgo Tru-Fit Dog Harness. When stopping to allow your pet to potty or exercise, always have her on a leash with a current ID tag. Don’t leave your pet unattended in the car. Even a quick stop can become dangerous. Temperatures rise quickly in vehicles during the summer months. If it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car reaches about 102 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, even if a window is left cracked.
Don’t forget to pack the following items with you.
- Water bowls and water. We use collapsable silicone bowls for our dog.
- Potty Bags. We carry a clip-on dispenser filled with bags. We also carry hand sanitizer.
- Towel. An old towel is excellent for wiping muddy paws.
- GPS Tracker. Consider the Tagg Tracker. If your pet should take off, you can use the app to find them!
- First Aid Kit. We carry a small first aid kit especially for dogs in our car. We have Benadryl for bee stings, but we also pack some essential items in case our dog steps on broken glass or is jabbed with a sticker. Under no circumstances use hydrogen peroxide on pet wounds.
- Special ID Tag. An alternative to the stitched collar is a Boomerang Tag. These slide on to the collar.
- A Leash Coupler. We use it to secure our dog to the picnic table or lawn chair.
- Food and Treats. Just like us, dogs get hungry too!
- Toys. Some dogs get bored traveling in a car. Bring a couple of toys to keep them entertained.
- Last, but not least, consider purchasing pet insurance. Pet care coverage with travel insurance often consists of pet-related assistance services. They can help coordinate the pet’s return home if the insured pet is hospitalized.
What do you pack with you when you travel with your pets? Let us know in the comments below.
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