Do you give up travel when you own pets? Can you take your beloved fur baby with you when you travel? Here is our guide to what you must know to travel with pets.
Life as a pet parent comes with a heavy dose of responsibility. Aside from prepping the furry friends’ meals, ensuring they get their shots on time, and training them to potty in designated areas, you must make time for some daily bonding sessions. When a sudden crucial travel plan surfaces, you must also consider your pet’s welfare.
What to do when you must travel? Who can care for our fur babies or give them the same attention they’ve been accustomed to better than us? Usually, only a handful of people—or possibly no one else. As a result of these concerns, many would-be pet owners re-evaluate their lifestyles to ensure their pet’s needs are met before buying one. While some animals, like cats and rabbits, don’t mind being recluses for a few days, others, such as dogs, get lonely and bored.
This begs the question: Should pet parenthood hinder your travel plans, regardless of what animal you own? The answer lies in the “paw-ssibility” of taking your four-legged companion with you on your trips, from work-cations to local cruises and international jaunts. Is this doable? The answer is “yes” with some guidelines.
In general, 78% of American pet owners travel with their four-legged friends each year, as revealed by Pet Keen. If these folks can do it, so can you. Here is what you must know to travel with pets.
Which Pets Make the Ideal Tag-Along Partners?
If you adore your furry buddy, you’ll want to bring them along wherever you go. While that may sound “paw-fect,” not all pets are cut out for frequent travel, and some aren’t suited for it at all. In this light, it’s only fair you know which animals are the most comfortable with journeying and which ones aren’t, as you’ll be making travel plans with one of these creatures. So, which pets make the best travel sidekicks?
For many reasons, dogs top the list. Their innate affinity for humans has been scientifically proven, unlike other animals that would prefer to be left alone. The companionship—a necessary ingredient for a successful travel excursion—between you and your four-legged friend could give your travel experience an extra oomph.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your hotel room will accept animals; these cute pooches don’t need to have their own room as they’d fit in perfectly well in a small family suite. And if you’re considering bringing them along for a long trip, most dogs are potty trained and can wait between stops, thanks to their inherent trainability and intelligence.
Can You Leave Your Dog Behind for a Few Days?
No, not without the supervision of a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member who will take good care of it. Dogs are more likely to develop separation anxiety when left alone for more than 7 hours. This makes them act destructively and exhibit undesirable behavior, such as incessantly barking, running around, gnawing on furniture, and inappropriate toileting.
Generally, don’t leave your dog unattended for more than four hours at a stretch. If you plan to be away for a long time and have no one in your close circle to look after it, get a reliable pet sitter. In addition, consider getting some chew toys like a tennis ball, nylabone, or knotted rope to keep your four-legged friend entertained while you are gone.
These animals aren’t the most sociable and hardly enjoy being cooped up in an unfamiliar area. That said, they are still able to adapt to new environments. But keep in mind that while air travel generally caters to having cats onboard a plane, some breeds may be subject to tremendous stress or even fatal conditions. Cats with brachycephalic (or flattened) faces, such as Burmese, Himalayan, and Persian cats, are predisposed to heatstroke and respiratory problems, so they are never allowed to fly in the cargo hold of a plane.
Besides the air travel restriction, you can easily take your adorable kitty along on your next road trip or hike. Like dogs, they don’t need much space. And as independent animals, they’ll remain content spending hours cooped up in your car as long as they have food, water, and a chance to roam safely.
While the debate between cat lovers and dog lovers continues, keep in mind that cats have as much love to give as their furry counterparts despite their quieter and self-sufficient nature. The post from Nuwber explores these two groups and discusses how feline companions may even kindle an interest in photography, igniting a passion for travel.
All the same, remember that cats are territorial, more so than dogs. Changes in their environment may agitate them, causing aggression towards strangers.
Can Your Cat Survive on Its Own While You’re Away?
Yes! As long as it has access to the basic supplies mentioned earlier and a litter box. However, cats sometimes get lonely, so pairing them with another feline is ideal. If you have kittens, set up a care plan before leaving the house, and never leave them alone for an extended time.
While not a traditional four-legged sidekick, feathered friends like birds aren’t excluded from this discussion. They can be just as endearing as beloved dogs and cats, making excellent companions for air travel and road trips. Many birds enjoy exploring, which is why they are well-suited for pet parents who love to travel. Most airlines welcome these winged companions, some even allowing them to fly in the cabin.
“Sounds awesome! How can I bring my bird with me on my trip?” If you’re wondering the same, know that doing so requires careful planning and consideration. Birds can be sensitive to changes in temperature and pressure, which can be a concern during air travel. So, you need to ensure they are comfortable and securely housed in a well-ventilated carrier and follow airline regulations.
In the absence of a carrier, you can utilize portable cages. If you have a large bird like a Macaw or an African Grey, you’ll require a roomy airline-approved bird carrier to accommodate your pet. You can even buy an extra carry-on bag for their accessories, food, and water.
Road trips with birds are even easier to pull off, as they don’t take up much space. And as long as the car ride isn’t too long, your feathered friend will be okay. During the ride, your bird may get tired or bored of their cage, so give it some playtime. For a more enjoyable experience, get a car seat perch to give your travel companion an unrestrained view of the outside world and a chance to stretch its wings.
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- 5 Tips for Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal
How Best Can You Travel with Your Pet?
Regardless of the transport mode, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your furry friend by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Check the specific requirements of your destination, including quarantine regulations and pet-friendly accommodations. Create a checklist of essential documents and items.
- Schedule a visit to your veterinarian for a health checkup, vaccinations, and any necessary certifications to ensure your pet is fit for travel.
- Invest in a sturdy, well-ventilated pet carrier that complies with airline regulations. Allow your pet to become accustomed to it before the journey.
- Ensure your pet has proper identification, including a collar with an ID tag and a microchip with your updated contact information.
- Gather all the necessary documents, such as health certificates, vaccination records, and any required permits. Keep digital copies as backups.
- If you plan to stay overnight, make reservations at pet-friendly accommodations and clarify their pet policies.
- Pack enough food, water, medications, and familiar toys to comfort your furry friend. Don’t forget waste bags for cleanup.
- If you’re traveling by car, take your pet on shorter trips to help them acclimate to the vehicle.
- If you’re flying, review the airline’s pet policies and book your pet’s ticket well in advance. Arrive early on the day of travel.
- At the airport, follow security guidelines for traveling with pets and be prepared to remove your pet from the carrier during security checks.
- Ensure the animal is secure and comfortable throughout the journey. Offer water and short walks during layovers, and keep them calm with familiar scents and soothing words.
- Upon reaching your destination, allow your pet time to adjust to the new environment and stick to their routine as closely as possible.
- Keep a close eye on the animal’s health during and after the journey, watching for signs of stress or discomfort.
When You Travel With Pets
Pet ownership is a joy and responsibility. While bringing your furry friend along on every journey may seem impossible, it can be done. The above insights on the most common types of pet-friendly travel companions and tips on making the journey successful should provide the push you need to get your little one on board. We also recommend checking out ChefPaw’s Dog Food Maker to ensure your furry friend has the best nourishment on your travels. What’s better than making fresh food for your pup before hitting the road?
Remember that each pet is unique, and their travel experience can vary. Be patient, stay attentive to their needs, and make the journey as stress-free as possible. Enjoy the adventure!