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by Dominique Lessard October 03, 2016 4 min read
My best friend is furry, so what? Why can’t I bring her on my trip to Barcelona, you may ask?
Traveling around the world like I have been doing for more than 10 years now, I met a lot of people traveling with their pet! Also, as the owner of one of the best travel blog, Easy Planet Travel (www.easyplanettravel.com), I am helping a lot of people conquer their fears and travel to the best destinations around the world with their furry friend.
That’s why I can assure you that there’s (almost) no reason why you would have to leave home your beloved cat or dog while going on a trip abroad. But what should you take into consideration?
Here are 10 easy steps that will make traveling with your pet a stunning success!
According to almost all airlines, dogs and cats are the only animals that can be brought abroad. Birds, reptiles, and other animals are designated as ‘wildlife’, whose rules and regulations are complicated at best. Border control at your destination will probably consider every other animal, but cats and dogs, a special import that will need a quarantine.
Also, you have to take into consideration that some dog breeds and puppies under the age of 12 aren’t accepted by airlines.
Many last minute trips with pets aren’t feasible, because of the required immunizations. Therefore, please plan in advance! Most of the required immunizations have some sort of time restriction and must be done (e.g. 2 weeks) before traveling. Moreover, pets typically need to be micro-chipped as well.
What to do, then? As soon as you have a destination in mind, and you know with which airline you will fly with, look at the airline’s rules, as well as the requirements of the country you’ll be visiting, and then take an appointment with your pet’s vet as soon as possible.
Check what are the requirements for your home country too. Some require blood tests to be done 3 months prior to return, so a 1 month trip may not be feasible.
Look for your flights as you would normally do without pets, and try to find flights without layovers. Also, be sure to check the airline’s history of flying animals. Incidents of pets being lost, injured or dying have increased over the recent years. You can consider a pet-only airline too, like Animal Airways.
Once you find the ideal route and airfare, then call the airline directly. Since airlines typically allow only 2 animals per cabin, as well as limit the total number that can be transported as cargo in the baggage hold, you don’t want to book a flight only to find out it doesn’t have any vacant room for your pet.
Of course, your pet’s ‘ticket’ will cost about $100-$300. So don’t forget to include that expense in your travel budget.
Also make sure to check the allowed crate or carrier dimensions, and have as much identifying information as possible on both carrier and collar—including your home and destination addresses.
Of course, your pet will want his favorite toy and blanket, that remind him of home! A collapsible water bowl for on-the-fly hydration is a must too. Extra food is also a great idea, but remember that pets abroad eat too. So you can buy your dog or cat’s food at destination.
Like pretty much everyone, cats and dogs are both reluctant to pee or poop in their immediate surroundings. So traveling with an empty digestive system will make the ride way more comfortable. We suggest no water or food 12 hours prior to flight time.
A synthetic, flour-based bone can be relaxing for dogs stressed by isolation, but any type of meat-based chewing material can result in a quarantine. Stick to completely flour-based bones (make sure to bring the packaging along) and do not line the crate with anything organic. No grass, hay, or anything similar.
Take a relaxing walk before arriving at the terminal—many airports now have outdoor areas or pet relief zones, though not all of them have some. Leave ample time for your travels so that you’re not stressed out (your stress can easily transfer onto your cat or dog).
Avoid giving your furry friend medication to calm down, especially if they’re flying in cargo, sincethese drugs can interfere with your pup’s critical ability to regulate their body temperature. If you’re worried about his stress levels, try a DAP collar that emits stress-zapping hormones.
Yes, you have to declare your pet at customs. Bring along with you your paperwork and assuming your pet has the required microchip, going through customs should be a painless process.
Leaving the TV on is a good idea - it will give your pet some comforting background noise while you’re away. Always keep the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door so that housekeeping doesn’t scare your pet. You can also request a room away from the elevator to minimize foot traffic in front of your door (Fido can get excited if he thinks you’re coming back for him).
It is also a good idea to set up a ‘safe space’ in the room, with a water bowl and blankets, and to spend a little time getting your pet used to its surroundings before your first pet-free foray into the city.
Following these 10 easy steps will without a doubt make your trip abroad, with your furry friend, a stunning success!
Have you ever traveled with your pet?
Dominique Lessard is a travel blogger who quitted her high paying day job so she wouldn’t quit her daydream of teaching gratitude and open-mindedness to her little girl through travel. She is now sharing her wanderlust addiction with more moms than there are inhabitants in Dominica.
Easy Planet Travel is her award-winning travel blog focusing on sharing the love of travel and helping young families discover the world together.
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