Having a pet and realizing all of your adventurous dreams of travel may seem impossible to combine. Most people leave their dogs or cats in the care of family, friends or professional hotels for pets. But what should you do when you’re planning a longer trip or when you want to take your furry friend with you?
Even Your Pet Needs Travel Documents
You can get a passport for most animals such as dogs, cats or ferrets. It can be obtained from your veterinarian. It contains all of the necessary information, such as the number of the pet’s microchip, information about the owner, and vaccination information. The conditions of traveling with animals differ from country to country and it’s always good to find out what you need before you start your travel.
You will always need:
- a microchip,
- a valid rabies vaccination (not older than one year),
- a passport for your pet.
Some countries may also require:
- a rabies antibody titer blood test,
- a veterinary certificate,
- other vaccinations,
- permission to enter the country.
Some airlines may even require proof of the animal’s good health, issued by a veterinarian. Your pet must be at least 3 months old. You also need to account for the fact that some dog breeds or a mix of those breeds might not be allowed in the country you’re traveling to.
How to Safely Transport Your Pet?
Now that you have all of the formalities out of the way, it’s time to pack up and head to the airport. How does it work when you have a pet?
Most owners hate to part with their dogs or cats at the airport and leave them to experience the flight on the second deck. We may have some good news. If your pet is small enough, some airlines will allow you to take them on board with you if their box is still within the size and weight limits.
The fees depend on the airline. You can find the prices on the airline’s website, as well as other necessary information about traveling with pets.
Your pet may travel on board with you or on the second deck, as we’ve already mentioned. Regardless of where they end up, every pet needs to have a box that’s big enough for the animal to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Don’t forget to leave your name and contact information on the box, just as you would do with regular baggage. If you don’t have a box yet, make sure to buy one that’s IATA certified, else you might encounter an airline that will refuse to transport your pet.
If you have to change planes, don’t count on seeing your pet while you wait for a connecting flight. You’ll only see them at your end destination. Some airlines will also offer special service and clean your pet’s box and also feed them between flights, but this isn’t a given. When the trip is long, always be sure to leave your pet some food, water, a blanket, and a favorite toy.
If you’re traveling by car, make sure to secure your pet in case of an accident. Smaller pets may be held in boxes, medium-sized and large pets can be strapped in with a special harness or a special blanket for animals.
Watch Out for a Quarantine!
In case the flight itself wasn’t traumatic enough, some countries also require a month-long quarantine for animals. The conditions vary from country to country. Some might not require a quarantine at all, while some will definitely want it. That’s why it’s better to just leave your pet with family or friends when you’re leaving for a shorter holiday. If you’re moving for a long time, you might have to deal with the fact that you’ll be separated from your pet for a while.
How to Prepare for the Trip?
The trip itself might be stressful for you, but it’s even worse for your pet. Be sure to prepare them for the travel. Here are a few tips how you both can survive the trip without too much stress.
- Your pet should already be used to the box they’ll be traveling in. Be sure to start acquainting the two a good while before the travel. Use pet treats as positive motivation.
- Have a chat with your vet and ask about some tranquilizers. They can help if your pet is too stressed during the travel. Be careful, though, and make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork ready! The airline staff might assume that your pet is sick if they’re not reacting much, so be sure to explain the situation.
- Ferrets usually sleep most of the day and cats tend to be calm, too. Dogs, however, can get very stressed out. Take them on a run before the flight to tire them out so they sleep most of the trip.
- Don’t feed your pets before the trip, so they don’t get sick. You can feed them a few hours before the trip, though, and if the trip is too long, be sure to leave them some food.
- Make sure your pet is used to many people and activity. Be sure to start acclimating it to these things a few weeks before the trip by taking it to crowded places.
We don’t know where you’re going, but we hope that the trip will be safe and stress-free for both you and your pet!