Surveys indicate that over 70% of Americans would prefer to take their pets along when they travel. If you’re considering a trip with your pet, there are a number of steps you can take to make your trip safer and more fun for both of you. If you’re planning to leave your friend behind, there are a number of steps to make that transition easier too.
Taking your pet along
- Time your trip after a vet visit. You’ll want a health certificate indicating that your pet is healthy and able to travel and a listing of current vaccinations. If your pet gets lost, having those records can help you get him or her out faster.
- Tag your pet just as you would your luggage. If you get separated during travel, you’ll have a better chance of being reunited if your pet is wearing an ID tag with current phone numbers. If you’re open to the idea of a microchip, that’s an excellent way of ‘tagging’ your pet on the inside (just as you would your luggage).
- Invest in a quality pet carrier. To fly with your pet, you’ll need an airline-approved carrier, but any good pet carrier will also keep your friend safe while riding in taxis, trains, and even a rickshaw.
If your trip will involve travel by car, do some practice runs with your pet if you don’t already take them places in the car. Take them along with you to the grocery store or just around town to see how they do in their carrier and to get them used to this new thing.
- Some travel insurance plans include coverage for your furry friends too.
- See this post on traveling with your dog from the U.S. to Europe too.
- See this post for pet-safe traveling tips, whether in the car or on a plane.
Leaving your pet behind
Most pet parents find leaving their friends behind stressful and often report that their pet finds it stressful as well. For many of us, our pets are not only our best friend, we’re their best friend too and losing your best friend – even for a time – is scary.
The best scenario for pets is to have someone they know and like stay over instead. This may be a friend, a family member, or neighbor, but it should be someone your pet already knows very well.
If your pet sitter can’t stay in your home, having them visit your home while you’re away is another option. If the pet is comfortable staying in the pet sitter’s home, that can work as well. The key, however, is having a good level of experience with the situation. That means you, your pet, and the sitter getting used to each other and used to the new arrangement. You might have the pet sitter visit a few times before your trip, walk or play with your pet, even spend a little time alone with the pet as you leave the house so they are used to each other without you around. This also gives you and your pet sitter a chance to review strategy with what you discover.
Before you leave on your trip, be sure to leave your pet sitter a written copy of the following:
- your itinerary and contact information
- your vet’s number and address
- feeding and walking schedule
- any behavior quirks, such as hating the sound of the vacuum (although if the sitter is familiar with the pet, this shouldn’t be an issue)
- favorite toys and rituals, such as needing to go outside at a particular time