It can certainly be said that in some cases getting your pet from A to B is no easy task. How an animal travels is variable, some love cars, others would rather run a mile than jump in an automobile. Some pets are fantastic on short journeys, but like a toddler get slightly rambunctious when confined for too long! No matter how your pet travels, by following our tips you can help make it a much more comfortable one for everyone!
If there was ever an animal to love the car it would be a dog. The chance to come with you? Amazing! What sort of wonders will this trip hold? What magical place could we be going? So many exciting things are possible! So it's very easy for them to become over excited and become a distraction. It's important to ensure that your dog is properly restrained, in the back seat, and unable to venture into the front! Some cars have built in compartments in the boot, this makes things simple, if however you own a Sedan or Hatchback, your dog might have to have his own seat! If this is the case, restraints such as seat belt clips or or specially suited car harnesses are needed, these are made to link into the seat belt. You can also purchase 'dog hammocks' which turn the whole back seat into a ready made compartment, blocking off access to the front, these are really only suitable for calmer dogs as a bouncy puppy can still find away to jump the hurdle! Dogs on the back of utes should either be caged or tethered to a point near the middle of the cabin by a chain or lead that is long enough to allow lying down and moving about, but not long enough to allow them to step over the side of the ute or climb on the roof of the cabin. You should not let your dog stick their head out of the window as stones or dirt particles flicked up by the tyres can cause irritation, infection or injury.
Cats can become quite stressed in cars and any trip can be unsettling for them. So it's important to not add to their stress. Ensuring you are using the correct size carrier for your cat is very important, your cat should fit comfortably inside along with a towel or blanket on the bottom for their comfort. There are different styles of carriers and the most suitable type will vary from cat to cat. Some carriers are completely open on top and resemble a wire cage, these are beneficial for cats who become stressed when they are unsure of their surroundings and like to know where their going. Other carriers are plastic bottom and tops with a wire cage door, suiting cats who like to hide away. In the car do not place the carrier in front of air vents as your cat cannot move away should they get too hot or cold. If your cat becomes really stressed place a towel or blanket over the top of the carrier, but make sure to leave the front open.
Birds can travel quite contently, given they often travel in the comfort of their own home, why shouldn't they? It's important however to remove all toys and bowls from your birds cage, if your bird usually lives in a large cage move them into a smaller travel cage for the trip. Like cat carriers it's important to not place the cage in front of an air vent, keep the temperature inside the car at a comfortable level, you may be hot or cold but your bird isn't. Place a towel or blanket over the cage to avoid stressing your bird out.
Before planning a trip with your pet it's important to ask yourself, will they be happy and comfortable? Some animals really do not enjoy travelling and the stress involved is simply not worth it, staying at home with a friend or relative may be a better option. Some pets get incredibly sick or anxious in cars or in unfamiliar places, so it might be worth hiring a pet sitter so your pet can stay at home. It might even be worth considering a boarding kennel or cattery.
If you do decide to take your pet along with you on your trip you should plan ahead, prepare your pet's trip just as you would prepare your own. Find out the restrictions of your particular airline or transport carrier, what reservations or arrangements need to be made. Make sure your pet is also welcome at your hotels, motels, campgrounds or friends house. Make sure you bring all the comforts of home, bed, food and toys need to come too!
BEFORE YOU GO
- Speak to your vet and a local vet in your destination about what is required prior to travelling, eg recommended parasite prevention and required vaccinations ESPECIALLY regarding international travel, contact the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for more information. You may need to arrange a health check for your pet prior to your trip as well
- Make sure your pets collar identification, microchip details and registration tags are up to date
- Ensure your pets restraint system or carrier is functional and comfortable. eg the crate allows your pet to move, stand up, sit down and turn around. It is sturdy, strong, closes securely and is well ventilated
- Confer with your vet what the best options for your pet's individual needs are. Remember all pets travel differently!
TRAVELLING BY PLANE
- Contact your intended airline in advance to ensure you make a reservation and comply with their individual regulations
- Make sure you are aware and abide their rules for pet crates or carriers
- When booking flights try to book a direct flight or one with minimal stops.
- Be at the airport early, place your pet in the carrier yourself, along with a familiar toy or item of your clothing, make sure you pick up your pet promptly when you land as well.
- Companies now exist that will organise your pets airline travel for you, with a door to door service, that will handle all necessary paperwork. It's important to contact them well in advance to sort out the necessary details.
TRAVELLING BY CAR
- Remember the points on proper restraint from earlier on (see short trips)
- If your pet is not used to the car, take them for a few short rides before your trip
- Plan regular toilet, exercise and rest stops approximately every two hours. Make sure to offer water regularly.
- Do not feed your pet immediately prior to setting off on your trip. Feed them when you arrive or at the end of the day. Dry food is the most convenient.
- You should avoid leaving your pet in the car unattended for any period of time. If you must leave your pet in the car ensure the windows are down enough to provide good ventilation but not far enough for them to jump out or get their head caught. Remember that temperatures inside a car escalate quickly and will reach dangerous levels within minutes on hot days, putting your pet at risk of heat stroke or death. ALWAYS EXERCISE CAUTION.