Travelling with your pet can be an adventure, but it requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for both of you. From navigating the complex web of regulations to ensuring your pet's comfort and safety throughout the trip, there are several crucial factors to consider. We've compiled a helpful guide of tips to get you started on your journey of air-travel with your furry friend, allowing you both to embark on a rewarding and unforgettable experience together.
PREPPING FOR YOUR TRIP
Depending on your destination, you may need to conduct thorough research about pet import regulations. Each country has its own set of rules, requirements and restrictions regarding pet travel, such as mandatory vaccinations, health certificates, and quarantine periods. Start this process well in advance to ensure you have ample time to fulfill all the necessary paperwork and appointments with your veterinarian. This is also a good time to make sure your pet's ID tags are up to date with current contact information. Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure a safe reunion with your pet in case they get lost during your travels.
When it comes to choosing your airline and accommodations, select ones that cater to travelers with pets. Many airlines have specific pet travel policies, including weight restrictions, carrier guidelines, and reservation procedures. Once you have chosen the best airline to suit your needs, the next step is to make sure your pet's carrier is suitable for the journey. Selecting the appropriate travel crate is vital for your pet's safety and comfort.
Ensure the crate is IATA-approved, well-ventilated, and large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably. Familiarizing your pet with the crate gradually, such as taking them on short car trips, can help get your pet accustomed to travel and reduce their stress and anxiety come departure day.
BEFORE YOU BOARD
As you go through your packing list, don't forget to include your pet's necessities too! Food, water, favorite toys and a comfortable blanket can go a long way in making your pet feel safer during the flight (Check here for TSA Pet Food guidelines). The ASPCA recommends "freezing a tray of water for your [pet's] carrier. It won't spill when [they're] loaded, but it will melt so there's water when [they] need a drink." While most supplies can be easily restocked once you reach your destination, be sure you have packed any important medications, documents and comforting items. It's also a good idea to keep a spare collar and leash, plus extra poop bags for any emergency situations.
Before boarding, try to schedule in a little play time. Giving your pet the opportunity to burn off some excess energy can wear them out, hopefully making the overall experience a bit less stressful. It also gives them a chance to have one last potty break before being loaded into the crate.
Remember, pets are incredibly perceptive and can sense your emotions. Travel can be hectic even without the added stress of bringing your pet along, so it is important to stay as calm and positive as possible during the journey to keep your pet at ease. Comfort them with gentle words and encouraging pats whenever you can. If you are worried about your pet's anxiety, consult with your veterinarian to see if calming treats or CBD tinctures are a good option for your pet, especially since the TSA has updated their THC guidelines.
The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against giving your pet anything stronger before flying, such as tranquilizers. Tranquilizers can affect a dog's balance and they will cope better at the higher altitude and limited oxygen if not sedated.
AND YOU'RE OFF!
Travelling with a pet is a lot of work and prep, but the memories you will create are well worth the effort. By researching destination regulations, prioritizing your pet's comfort and safety and planning ahead, you can have an enjoyable journey with your favorite furry friend. So, where will you be jetting off to next?
This post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT