Traveling with pets can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a bit stressful (particularly if your pet can get anxious when you deviate from routine). There are pet-specific logistics to arrange and some extra considerations to take into account, but if you plan properly, your trip with your furbaby can be much smoother!
International Travel – Documents and Vaccinations
- Check out pettravelstore.com – they’ve got great information about what you need to bring your pet to a lot of destinations, even without paying for the paperwork packages.
- Talk to your vet – most vets know what each country requires or can at least direct you to where to look.
- Check the country’s website for rules related to bringing pets across the border.
- Call the airline in advance
- Let them know you’re traveling with a pet. Some airlines only allow a certain number of pets on a flight, so be sure to call as soon as you can.
- Find out what their rules and requirements are.
- In-Cabin vs. Cargo
- Make sure you know the rules and requirements for in-cabin pet transportation and abide by them.
- Bring treats and chews to distract your pet during the flight but don’t be surprised if they don’t seem interested in them.
- During the flight, gauge the water you give your pet to ensure that they stay hydrated but don’t end up with an uncomfortably full bladder.
- Be prepared for the plane’s environmental conditions. The plane might get cold, so bring a blanket or some old t-shirts to give your pet during the flight.
- Make sure you understand how the airline handles pet transport (e.g. where will your pet be while the plane is being loaded and boarded? Is the cargo hold temperature controlled?).
- Plan your route carefully.
- For long trips, try to include a layover to give your pet a break mid-trip.
- If you have a layover, keep in mind that airlines won’t transfer your pet to the next flight, so plan for lots of time between any connections.
- Get appropriate gear.
- A large enough crate for your pet to be comfortable
- A crate with a secure lock
- A dripless hydration system
- Include visible identification on your pet’s crate, noting your pet’s name, your name and phone number, any temperament or behavior issues, and a picture of your pet. You can also include your pet’s veterinary information.
- When boarding, tell the ticket agent at the gate that you would like to get confirmation that your pet has been loaded on the plane.
- Pre-flight preparation
- Consider pre-flight preparations (e.g. exercise your pet beforehand, talk to your vet about potential reactions to flying and how to deal with them).
- Have all airline-required documentation ready (most require a health certificate from a vet, issued within 10 days of the flight).
- Make sure you have an airline-compliant carrier.
- Don’t feed your pet the morning of the flight and take away water bowl two hours before departure — while this may seem cruel, your pet will be fine without food and water for a few hours and the flight might upset your pet’s tummy.
- Airbnb and Booking.com, among other sites, allow you to filter by pet-friendly accommodations.
- Call your accommodations in advance to let them know you’re bringing a pet.
Pack for your pet
- Don’t forget to bring all the essentials!
- Any medications
- Any trip-related gear (e.g. if you’re planning to take your pet hiking, pack accordingly; if you’re going somewhere with a high tick population, pack a tick remover)
Plan for non-dog-friendly activities
- If your pet is crate trained, think about bringing a crate with you for when you need to leave your pet alone.
- If you’ll be gone for more than a few hours at a time, consider looking into getting a local pet sitter while you’re away. Remember, this is a new and stressful environment for your pet and the last thing you want is for your relaxing vacation to be their worst nightmare.
Plan for the worst before you leave
Photos: @theofficialbuckley and @leashyourfitness
- Make sure your pet is microchipped (your pet should be microchipped either way, but you definitely want them to be even more so if you’re traveling with them) and record their microchip number somewhere accessible while you’re away (e.g. your phone).
- Look up a local vet at your destination and have their contact information handy — you never know if you’ll need it and it’s better to have it ready in the event you do.
- Taking your pet on a trip may seem like a lot of work, but it will be well worth the effort to get to share those special, once-in-a-lifetime moments with them!
Written by Buckley Ambassador Dog-Mom, @greywolf.blackfox