Traveling with your pet- Part 2

Travel with pets continues to be a growing trend. In Part 2, we’ll talk about air and car travel with your cat and dog friends.

Air travel with your animal companion can be a detailed process. People who have a medically diagnosed psychological disorder that requires a dog or cat as “emotional support”, can have their air travel experience greatly reduced in stress and anxiety as a result of having that animal nearby. A service animal provides actual service to its owner as in providing sight or hearing and is allowed to be with its owner at all times.

If your pet is too large to fit under the seat, or if it is a very long flight, the airline may transport your pet in the cargo section of the aircraft. There are risks involved with this and the best thing is to do thorough research on the airline’s pet policy.

As a general guide, your pet is likely okay to travel by air if they don’t get anxious easily, adjusts fairly quickly to new places/environments, okay alone for several hours, does not get upset around other people or animals and is comfortable in their kennel.

Car travel with a cat or dog is likely the more popular mode of transport as it allows for more flexibility and control for the owner in caring for their pet. If your animal is not used to long drives it is suggested you start with shorter ones and build up over time. Car sickness can be an issue. Discuss possible medications with your vet.

Crating your cat or dog in the car is ideal as it keeps the animal secure in the event of an accident and is not distracting to the driver. If not crated, consider a good fitting harness.  Ensure the pet’s identification is on a securely attached tag or permanently printed on the collar. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Keep food and water handy and try to stick to the animal’s usual feeding and walk routine as much as possible
  • Never leave your pet in a car, always take them with you
  • Create a pet travel kit that contains their documentation including vaccinations, vet contact info, first aid supplies, snacks, accessories, a favourite toy, medications and poop bags
  • Take frequent breaks as these are good for you both
  • Be aware of pet toxins such as antifreeze, chocolate, prescription and non-prescription drugs and poisoned bait. Have the poison control hotline phone number ready to use in your pet travel kit
  • Be aware of the environment you are traveling in or to. Are there fleas, parasites or ticks around? Will the animal be spending more time near wildlife like skunks and porcupines?

However you decide to transport your animal companion, it is best to be prepared for anything out of the usual and that will mean a safe and happier time away for everyone.

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