Traveling with your dog or cat takes your traveling experience to a whole new level. If your pet is not used to traveling, for their comfort and yours, here are a few ideas you can consider.
First, ask yourself, do you really need to or want to take your pet with you on a long distance travel experience? Some pet experts suggest that taking your pet with you may not be the best idea, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't or couldn't take your best companion with you. This is a decision only you can make.
If you decide that you want to take your dog or cat with you, the key is preparation. Pet travel safety and comfort is important, so start with the pet carrier.
The dog carrier or cat carrier needs to be big enough so that your dog or cat can stand up and turn around. You should provide a plastic traveling dog bowl and water bowl that can be placed in the carrier. A picture of your pet with his name should be displayed on the outside of the carrier for identification purposes. A pet should never be taken out of the carrier or container unless you have a leash for him. If you are traveling by air, make sure your carrier is approved by your air carrier.
If your pet is not used to being in a dog carrier or cat carrier, bring the pet carrier into your home for up to a couple of weeks before you travel so they can get used to it. Keep the door locked open so they can go in and out at their leisure. Put a blanket or towel inside, and maybe a toy or treat, anything that would entice your pet to go into the carrier on their own.
Once they find it a pleasant place to be, you can lock the carrier with them in it, and take your pet for their first ride. Drive for 5 to 10 minutes on the first outing, increasing the time of travel each time you take them for a ride. Keep the carrier on a flat surface in the car such as the floor or a seat. Talk to them in a calm voice so you can help relieve any anxiety they may feel. Never put your pet in the front seat of the car. In case of accident and an air bag deploys, it could severely injure or kill your pet!
If you are traveling just for a day or less, small dogs may like dog booster seats. Larger dogs may need a barrier in the back seat, or in the back of the van or SUV that will allow them to be somewhat contained in a small space, and be able to move around slightly.
Ads by Google Dogs that ride in the back of a pick up, which is extremely dangerous for the dog, could be safer if you use a restraint designed for the back of a pick up where a dog may move side to side, but will be confined enough so as to not jump out, or be bounced out on a rough road. Your priority should always be their safety, then their comfort.
When planning a car trip, make sure your pet will be accepted at any hotel enroute, and also at your final destination, whether that is a hotel, resort, a friend or relative's home.
Checking with your veterinarian before you travel is good advice. He can give you suggestions about pet travel also. He may suggest a medication that may help your pet stay calm, or if your pet suffers from motion sickness. However, medication is not always recommended for your pet's travel if there is another option. Your Vet will also make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date and can give you a certificate of health, should you need it.
While traveling in a car, make sure you stop often enough to let your pet get out, stretch, relieve himself, and get something to eat and drink. Try to keep them in a close-to-normal eating schedule as possible.
Changing your pet's routine and environment can be difficult for them. Bringing bottled water from your tap and their usual food will be advantageous for their good health. Change of diet could upset their physical well being.
If you are traveling with your pet in an RV, it is not advisable to let them roam free while the vehicle is moving. They could be injured when the vehicle turns and stops, or they could distract the driver.
Traveling by air creates the need for other precautions. Small pets may be allowed to travel with you in the airliner cabin, under the seat. Large dogs will have to travel with the luggage in the luggage compartment. When your dog will be traveling in the luggage compartment, tell as many airline personnel as possible that your dog is traveling with you so they will be aware incase there are any long flight delays.
Schedule non-stop flights whenever possible. Book either early AM or late PM flights so the dog will avoid the excessive heat at midday. Be sure to check with your air carrier for their rules and regulations.
Remember, if you must travel with your pet, do all you can to make it a safe, comfortable, protected, and pleasant experience for you and your pet.