Do you keep yourself from travelling because you cannot bear the thought of leaving your cat or dog behind? Why don’t you include your pets in your upcoming travel plans! At first glance, this might require more planning than a regular trip, but there is a growing trend for travelling with an animal companion. More and more options are available for people wishing to do so.
Scheduling an Appointment with the Vet
If you plan to travel outside of your home country, schedule a visit with your vet and share them your itinerary. Some destinations require animal health certificates; see the list of countries available online on the website of the Government of Canada. Your veterinarian will assess your pet’s health, administer the necessary vaccines (including rabies) and perform blood tests. Your animal health professional can then complete and sign the Canadian International Health Certificate for Dogs and Cats.
Choosing the Appropriate Pet Carrier
Whether you travel by car or by plane, you will need to transport your pet in a carrier. It is important to purchase the bag or cage a few weeks ahead of your departure to allow your pet to get accustomed to it. The carrier must meet the requirements of the Animal Air Transport Association. Here are some tips to help you pick the appropriate travel carrier for your pet:
– The container must provide adequate ventilation without the animal being able to stick their head or legs out.
– The material of the container must be strong and should not consist of wire mesh or fibreboard.
– The container must have a secure opening mechanism to prevent any accidental opening.
– The space for your animal should be large enough for it to stand, lie down and turn around.
You should write the notice “Live Animal” on the carrier and add your pet’s name, your destination, your contact information and your email. Take a picture of your pet (with your smartphone for instance) and save it for the duration of your trip in the event that you get separated.
Booking your Accommodation
Whether it’s a hotel, an Airbnb rental or a campground, you must ensure that the type of chosen accommodation allows pets. Some places provide “pet-friendly” packages which facilitate your stay by offering rooms with direct outdoor access. Bring enough food along with all necessary items for the comfort of your pet.
Travelling by Plane with your Pet
Make air travel easier by selecting flights with the least number of layovers. You should know that each airline company has its own set of rules for transporting animals. Certain companies might not allow pets aboard, so it is important to validate this information prior to booking your flight.
Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, SouthWest, United and Virgin America are examples of air carriers that allow pets on board. Normally, pet-friendly airlines offer three options: in the cabin of the aircraft (for pets of suitable size and weight), in the luggage compartment or in the cargo space.
Some airlines might require for the pet to be at least 10 weeks old for any air travel. Be aware of the surcharge imposed for having your pet on board. This fee can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Note that guide dogs can travel in the cabin for free.
Abstain from giving your pet a tranquillizer unless it was initially prescribed by your vet. As soon as you’ve reached your destination, open the pet carrier to examine your pet. If you notice anything abnormal, write down the symptoms with the time and date and visit a veterinarian immediately.
By taking all these precautions, air travel is really safe for your pet. It will all be worth it when you can finally soak up the sun on the beach or hike mountains with your best feline or canine friend.
Taking your Faithful Companion on a Road Trip
Can you picture yourself in your car, with the music blasting and your dog sticking its head out the window with its ears flapping in the wind? As much fun as this sounds, while driving on the highway you should avoid this type of behaviour for the health and safety of your dog. Some animals do get road sick, therefore it’s preferable to test out their tolerance before embarking on a long trip. You can gradually ease them into an upcoming road trip by taking them on short car rides. If you plan on crossing a land border, make sure to have all the appropriate and up-to-date documents for your pet.
Getting Travel Insurance
Whether you are travelling with or without a pet, subscribe to a travel insurance plan to cover anything unexpected. Contact your travel insurance representative and share the details of your trip in the early stages of travel planning.
Preparation is key when it comes to travelling with a pet. Now, you have everything you need to hit the road with your beloved animal. Get your camera ready to capture all those priceless memories!