If you are taking your dog, cat or other pet away with you then you’ll face a sizeable to-do list to ensure they will be happy, safe and legal. There are also a few things you should definitely avoid! Find out all the dos and don’ts in our guide to travelling with pets.
Health and wellbeing
Depending on where you are travelling (and how you’re getting there), there are several issues to tackle relating to your pet’s health.
- Visit your vet and get them to check that your pet is fit to travel.
- Find out if your pet will need any vaccinations or other treatments before travelling to your destination and have them done in good time.
- Ensure that your companion animal is well hydrated throughout the journey. Ice cubes are a manageable way to do this.
- Travel with an animal deemed too frail or sick for the journey. Look into other options, such as hiring a reputable pet sitter, instead.
Paperwork and regulations
If you’re travelling with pets to another country – or even taking an animal on a domestic flight without crossing any borders – you’ll have a few hoops to jump through.
- Check the regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.
- Compile a “pet passport” with all your pet’s vital documents.
- Leave it too late, or overlook any essential requirements. If you don’t comply with all the rules, your pet might need to be put into quarantine or you may be refused entry on your flight.
Travelling by road or air is fraught with health and safety concerns at the best of times, let alone with a travel companion who doesn’t comprehend all the possible perils.
- Use a purpose-built pet carrier where appropriate. Smaller animals may be able to use a special pet restraint to strap them in.
- Stop every two or three hours if you’re travelling by car, to let your pet have some exercise and a toilet break.
- Rely on regular seat belts in your car – they’re built for humans, not furry friends!
- Leave your dog or other pets alone in a hot car: even with the windows open the heat can be fatal.
Stuff to bring
Wherever you go, you’ll want to help your pet feels secure and at home. You’ll also need to ensure that you are well prepared for emergencies.
- Bring any medical records that could be relevant if your pet is taken ill.
- Attach your temporary contact details to your pet’s collar, as well as your home address.
- Carry a photograph of your pet so that you can circulate it if they get lost.
- Let them travel with a favourite toy or blanket, so that they can carry a piece of “home” with them wherever they go.
- Leave it to the last minute to get your pet used to the carrier or other environment that they will travel in. Gradually get them accustomed over a period of weeks so that it’s familiar to them.
- Assume that any essential amenities will automatically be available at your destination – when travelling with pets it’s vital to check and plan every last detail so that you’re always prepared.