8 Things Everyone Should Consider Before Traveling with a Pet

Pets make great travel companions, but not all pets are suited for long-term travel. Whether you’re traveling across the country with your pet in the back seat or are boarding a flight to spend four months in Puerto Rico with your pup, there are a multitude of things to consider before you commit to having your pet come along.

Pet owners consider their domesticated animals family members, and it’s difficult to leave them behind on any journey. While traveling with pets can be fun and rewarding, it’s not ideal for all of our furry friends. These eight things to consider will help you decide if your pet is ready for your next adventure.

1. Is Your Pet Capable of Flight or Road Travel?

The Humane Society of the United States suggests that air travel is especially dangerous for animals with snub noses, including bulldogs, persian cats, and pugs.Their unique nasal passages make them more likely to suffer heat stroke and oxygen deprivation.

2. Is Your Pet in Good Health?

Your pet needs to pay a visit to a trusted veterinarian before hitting the road or the skies. Your vet can help you determine if your pet is in good enough physical health to make it your destination safely. A vet will also help provide you with any vaccinations or paperwork you’ll need when arriving your final destination.

3. Does Your Airline Allow Pets?

Most airlines have different rules about traveling with pets in the cabin or transporting them in the cargo space. Contact the airline you’ll be flying to ensure you and your pet have met all of the requirements of your airline. This includes the proper crate, paperwork, water supply and a long list of other items that must be met for your pet to board the plane.

4. Is Your Pet Crate Trained?

The Humane Society of the United States recommends that all cats travel in crates when inside a moving vehicle of any type. Airlines also require that dogs travel in crates when in the cargo area.

Help your pet adjust to traveling in a crate by loading the crate into your vehicle and driving him around town for a longer duration each time. Your pet will be much more comfortable on a long journey if he has already learned to love his crate.

5. Do You Understand Pet Immigration Rules?

Different countries have different rules for pets that are entering by car or plane. Some allow pets as long as they are vaccinated and are accompanied by health certificates, but others, like New Zealand, require your dog, cat or other small animal to be quarantined for roughly 180 days. Knowing your destination’s pet immigration rules will help you determine if your pet will be welcome on the journey, or if he should be left behind.

6. Is Your Pet All Played Out?

8 Things Everyone Should Consider Before Traveling with a Pet

Photo credit: Marissa Strniste

All pet owners know that dogs and cats are more well behaved when they’re exhausted from play. Always take your dog for a long walk, swim or play with the ball before you board him on a long flight or load him into the car. Wearing your pet out will help him sleep more peacefully through travel time and will put you at ease as well.

Feed your pet about four hours before a flight, and make sure he goes outside to relieve himself immediately before you head to the airport (or get in the car).

7. Have you Double-Checked Your Pet’s Packing List?

Pets are more needy than you think. They will be less stressed if you provide them with some reminders of home for the trip. Send your pup with his favorite toys, bed, a blanket and plenty of water for the entire journey. Pack a leash, disposable bags, a spare collar and a spare ID tag to ensure your pet is prepared for a walk upon arrival.

8. Are Your Accommodations Pet-Friendly?

It’s easy to get preoccupied with preparing your pet for a flight or a road trip, but it’s important to think about your destination too. Websites like BringFido.com will help you find pet friendly accommodations, restaurants, parks and even tourist sites at your destination. It’s always fun to have your pet by your side, but it pays to be prepared when bringing him or her along on any journey.

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