What if you’re travelling and you want to take Field-Marshall Mittens with you? What to do if you want Rex to pose in your selfies in front of the Coliseum? Well, here’s a handy guide on travelling with our pet friends.
See if your animal wants to travel
It’s kinda obvious when a human wants to travel. It’s a bit different with animals since they don’t maintain blogs or a Twitter presence. That’s why you will have to rely on your familiarity with your pet to see if they want to travel.
Is your cat or dog afraid of strangers or noisy places? How do they react to new environments? Can they stay away from you for extended amounts of time (for example, during the flight)? When in doubt, ask your veterinarian, they might have a thing or two to say.
Check if your destination is accepting of pets
We all know of mean old landlords – that’s all of them. But some of them are especially vile in not allowing pets on the premises. Stuff like that happens with hotels and other places of temporary residence, too. Make sure that you’re booking a place that’s OK with meowing, barking and terrible, all pervading stench of cat poop that you can smell with your soul.
You should also pay attention to the climate conditions of the location you’re travelling to. Who knows, the different climate may prove to be a bit extreme for your wee loved one.
Get Thee An ID
It’s generally a good idea for your cat to carry some sort of ID. Since cats don’t really come with pockets standard, you’ll have to do with tags and microchips. The tag should have, at the very least, your animal’s name and your cell phone number (with the international prefix, of course).
A microchip is something you probably know about as well: they’re small, they go under your pet’s skin and they don’t give them any cyborg powers. Since they carry your animal’s ID number, it’s not that hard to scan a captured pet and see who it belongs to. Chipped dogs are twice as likely to be returned to owners. Cats? 20 times as much! As long as your contact information in chip database is current, you should be golden.
Prepare (for) the pet carrier
Check your airline’s guidelines on transporting animals. See what pet carriers are approved by them and get one. Mark your name, contact, and your pet’s name on the box. Make sure to write ‘live animal’ on it just in case. You may also add a bag of dry food and feeding instructions on the outside.
And you have to prepare your fuzzy friend for the carrier, too. There are many guides on how to do that online. The most basic one is to take the bottom half of the carrier (most come in two pieces) and place your pet’s bedding, toys and maybe food there. Add the top later, leave the door open. Who knows, maybe your animal will like it enough to sleep in it at the hotel!
Bring medical records and good gear
Before you travel, you should have already found out the requirements your destination country imposes on pets. You should also keep all the medical information (health records, vaccination proof, medication information) with you.
As for the more day-to-day matters involving mutts and meows, get things like a leash (and safety harness), collapsible water bowls and waste bags – essentially the stuff you would use at home. This includes their toys – we already mentioned those in the crate acclimatization section. And having their favorite bedding helps, too.
Don’t mess with the food
Stick to the feeding schedule you have established at home. This also involves not overfeeding your pet before the travel part of the trip. And when you reach your destination, use the pet food that you brought with you, and consider bottled water, just in case.
Try to get them a cabin seat
When it comes to taking your pets on a plane, it’s best if you’re able to get to travel in the cabin with you. Make sure you check out your airline’s policy on that! Size restrictions mean that usually only small animals (cats, smaller dogs, normally sized bunnies) will be able to join you. This is a little different with emotional support animals (check if airline recognizes yours beforehand) or service animals.
Bigger animals might have to travel in the cargo hold. This is where various precautions come into play. Notify your flight crew – that way, they’ll know to be extra careful with the conditions in cargo hold. Mark the crate with ‘live animal’ stickers, maybe use zip-ties to secure it. Ask about the status of your pet as soon as you land – don’t be shy, you’re paying for it. And resist the temptation of giving your animal sedatives – this will interfere with their ability to adjust to temperatures and pressure.
So here’s a primer on what to do when you’re travelling with your tiniest friends. We hope that you don’t run into any flight disruptions that will complicate your trip. But if you do, remember Skycop. You can claim compensation of up to €600 for flight delays, cancellations and overbooking. Imagine the kind of ultra max secure pet carrier that money can buy!