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 YOU ARE HERE:
 ARTICLES > TTouch > HOW CAN I TRAVEL SAFELY WITH MY DOG
  TTouch  Article:
  HOW CAN I TRAVEL SAFELY WITH MY DOG

HOW CAN I TRAVEL SAFELY WITH MY DOG?

From: www.mydogiscool.com

 

Dogs can be wonderful travelling companions. But before you hit the road with your furry friend, make sure you know what you need to do to make your dog as safe and comfortable as possible on your journey. These Frequently Asked Questions can help you plan the perfect trip!

 

Should I take my pet along on my vacation?

What are my options if I leave my pet behind?

What should I do to prepare my pet for a trip?

How can I prepare for air travel?

How can I prepare for car travel?

How can I prepare for boat travel?

Are there other methods of travel available for my pet?

How can I camp safely with a dog?

What do I do if my pet becomes lost?

Where can I get more information about traveling with a pet?

Where can I stay with my pet?

 


Should I take my pet along on my vacation?

 

It’s important to ask yourself if taking your pet along is what’s best for him or her or if it’s just what’s best for you. At home, your pet has all of his or her favorite toys, sleeping spots, and perhaps the run of the backyard all day.

If your vacation involves a road trip, you need to ask how well your pet will accept being in a car for long periods of time. Is he acclimated to a car? Does she love going out and about with you or would she rather stay at home? Animals that very infrequently ride in a car are poor candidates for automobile vacations.

Some pets shouldn’t travel at all. If your pet is very young or very old, sick, recovering from surgery, or pregnant, then leave her at home.

Travel by air can be difficult, if not downright hazardous, for pets. Many animals do not travel well on airplanes; this is true of cats, older animals, hyperactive dogs, and short-muzzled dogs, who may have difficulty breathing in a cargo hold. pets have been lost in transit, have been injured, or have even died when traveling in cargo holds. Consider these facts carefully when planning a vacation that involves air travel.

 


 

What are my options if I leave my pet behind?

 

If you will be leaving your pet behind while you travel, you can either find a safe place for him or her to stay, or find someone to care for him or her in your home.

 

Boarding Your Pet

 

Do you want to board your pet? Then visit the kennel beforehand. Make sure you inspect it personally to satisfy yourself that it is clean, safe, and roomy enough for your pet. Don’t be afraid to take your business elsewhere if there is anything you don’t like about a particular facility.

Kennel staff should be friendly. Veterinary care must be easily available; in fact, many veterinarians offer boarding facilities.

Animals should be checked at least four times a day, fed twice, and dogs walked at least twice. Ask how many hours animals are left unattended, especially at night. Find out the kennel’s vaccination requirements. Medication and special diets, if they are needed, must be accommodated. Make sure there is a laundry for bedding.

If you plan to board your cat, make sure that the cages are tall and supply different levels for your cat to climb and sit.

Other questions to ask a prospective boarding facility include: Can a friend visit your pet? Will your pet have access to a run? Is the kennel air-conditioned or heated?

Once you decide on a boarding facility, make your reservation well in advance, especially for holiday or summer travel.

 

Hiring a "Pet" Sitter

 

You may be able to arrange for a trusted friend or relative to watch your pet while you are away. If not, you can hire a professional "pet" sitter to come into your home once or twice a day to take care of your pet. Some can even stay in your home while you are away. They will walk, play with, feed, and clean up after your pet. Most will even pick up your mail, and turn lights on at night.

Before hiring, interview the sitter in your home so you can see how he or she and your pet get along. Discuss your pet’s needs, habits, and personality. Ask such questions as: What was your worst pet-sitting experience? If my pet gets loose, what will you do?

Make sure the sitter is bonded and insured. Get references and call those references. Make sure the sitter has an emergency evacuation plan in case disaster strikes while you are away.

 

If you do hire a pet sitter, before you go on your vacation, be sure to leave detailed written instructions on your animal’s care and feeding habits; your complete itinerary, including telephone numbers of where you can be reached; and the name and phone number of your veterinarian. You may also want to notify your veterinarian, and leave a credit card number for emergencies, particularly for older animals or for animals on medication.

 


What should I do to prepare my pet for a trip?

 

If you do plan to take your pet along with you, make sure he or she is properly trained to sit, stay, and come.

 

No matter what form of transportation you choose, your pet should wear a collar, license, and proper identification at all times. Identification tags should have at least your name and telephone number on it. If you are vacationing in one location, get your pet a temporary ID tag that has the address and phone number of the hotel/apartment/house where you are staying. Have your animal microchipped as well.

A nylon collar or harness is best for either a cat or a dog. Never allow your pet to travel wearing a choke chain; the collar-pull could become snagged on the carrier or other object and he/she may choke to death. A cat must wear a safety stretch collar to prevent accidental strangulation.

 

Keep handy your pet’s shot records, along with a written description and several photos of you with your pets in case he/she becomes lost. You will need these to claim your pet from the local animal control centre.

Also take along a leash, a supply of your pet’s usual food, a container of water, dishes for food and water, a litter box for cats, a favourite toy or two, flea control products if desired, a brush and clippers, any medication your pet may need, and an emergency first-aid kit in case of injury.

 

If your animal has a bed or "crate" he/she sleeps in, take it along. Never allow cats to travel in the car without being securely in a carrier. Puppies also do best in a "crate" or carrier. Place the carrier in the cargo part of the vehicle or if it is in the back seat, use the seat belts to secure it. (Never put animals in the trunk.)

 

As soon as you know your pet is vacationing with you, see your veterinarian. Have your vet check your pet’s general fitness and ability to travel. Make sure that required immunizations are up to date, and get a copy of the immunization record. Tell your veterinarian about where you are going, and ask if any special precautions are in order.

 


How can I prepare for air travel?

 

Travelling by plane may be the most expedient way to travel, but it may also be the hardest on your pet. It places you in a situation where you have little control over the care given your pet. Although federal regulations require that animals transported on airlines be treated humanely, there have been occasional infractions resulting in injury or death of the animals.

Many airlines allow small dogs and cats in appropriate carriers to be brought into the cabin and placed under the seat. Soft-sided carriers are best for this purpose, although flip-top hard cases are also allowed. If your animal companion is small enough, this option permits you greater control and access, and it is far safer for your animals than travelling as cargo in the baggage hold of the aircraft.

Be sure to confirm what types and sizes of carriers the airlines allow.

If your animal companion must be shipped as cargo, there are several ways to minimize the risks:

Book a direct flight whenever possible. Tell the reservation clerk that you will be travelling with a pet. If a direct flight is not available, book a flight with the fewest number of stopovers.

Travel in off-season periods at mid-week, during the day or late evening, which tend to be less hectic for baggage handlers. There is also less chance that your flight will be delayed on the runway.

Never travel with an animal when outside temperatures reach above 80 degrees or below 40 degrees. Most airlines will try to help you select the right flights and advise you about scheduling.

 

Carriers for Air Travel

 

Pet carriers must meet minimum legal standards for size, strength, sanitation, and ventilation. The animal must have enough room to breathe, stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. The carrier must have handles, a food dish and water dish, and should be labelled with your pet’s name, your name, address, and destination. Stickers reading "Live Animal" are required on the top and one side. The sticker on the side should have an arrow pointing to the top of the carrier.

The best carrier is made out of hard plastic with a steel or plastic mesh door. A lip on the side will keep any baggage pressed up against it from blocking the ventilation holes. Make sure the door-locking mechanism is easy to use. Tighten all bolts before travel.

If your pet has never flown, familiarize him/her with the carrier gradually. If he/she has a favourite place to sleep, put the carrier in that spot. Place his/her favourite toy, blanket or food in the carrier. Leave the door open and wait until your animal "volunteers" to nap inside. Work toward the point where you can close the door to the carrier without causing distress. Leave the room once the door is secured and your pet is comfortable in the carrier. Your pet needs to become accustomed to being in the carrier without you. Increase the amount of time she is in the carrier with the door closed until she can stay about one and a half times the flight time.

 

Before Departing by Air

 

Don’t feed your pet for at least six hours prior to departure time. Most pets travel better on an empty stomach, and if they do get sick they will not soil themselves.

Using a spray such as Feliway or Rescue Remedy on the carrier before placing a cat in it may help reduce stress.

 

Never muzzle your pet it could restrict his/her breathing and limit his/her ability to pant. Put his/her favourite blanket or toy in the carrier before leaving for the airport.

Some airlines will allow passengers to supervise the loading of their pets, but you must request this privilege. As soon as you get on the plane, politely ask the flight attendant to remind the captain that live animals are in the cargo hold and that the heating or cooling controls need to be turned on and the cargo hold pressurized. Feel free to express your anxiety to the flight attendant, so as to sensitise the staff to how important your animal is to you.

Once you reach your destination and have deplaned, immediately retrieve your pet from the designated baggage claim area.

 


How can I prepare for car travel?

 

A few safety procedures are vital when travelling by car. Never leave your dog unattended in a hot car. Your pet can suffer irreparable brain damage or death if left in a car on a warm day; even "just a few minutes" may be too long.

You may need to acclimate your animal to car travel. Start with both of you sitting the car with the engine on. Gradually build up to a trip around the block, then try a visit to a park farther away. (Thirty minutes is a good test of tolerance.) If your dog is to remain loose in the car, she must learn that the driver’s seat and area are off limits.

Do not let your dog hang her head outside the window; dust and debris can easily lodge in delicate eyes.

Pet supply stores stock inexpensive restraint devices that secure your animal to the seatbelt buckle or to the seatbelt itself. If you are involved in an automobile accident, the restraining device will keep your pet from crashing into the front window or car seat. The restraint will also keep your animal inside the vehicle and away from the driver.

Animals should not ride in the bed of pickup trucks. The risks of injury and death are too great, even if the animal is tethered. Some states even require that dogs ride in the cab of trucks.

 


How can I prepare for boat travel?

 

If you are vacationing on your boat, remember to treat your pet as if he or she were a child. This means putting a flotation vest on your pet. While dogs are natural swimmers, they can tire easily and may drown before they reach the shore. It also means not letting your pet stand on the bow of boat where a sudden shift may throw the animal into the water (and into the path of the boat or its propellers). Never let your pet ride in a boat while it is being towed.

Some cruise liners will allow pets to travel in special holds but prohibit them from passenger cabins. Further, quarantine laws may require your pet to be confined from two weeks to six months. An animal in quarantine is boarded at your own expense.

 


Are there other methods of travel available for my pet?

 

At present, Amtrak does not allow pets to travel on its trains. Some commuter trains and smaller train operations may allow a pet to travel in the baggage car in a carrier. Check with your local railroad to verify that it allows pets on board.

Also find out if its baggage cars are air-conditioned or heated (most are not). If not, consider another form of transportation or avoid train travel in extreme weather conditions. If your train has a long stopover, retrieve your pet from the carrier and take him/her for a walk.

Unless yours is an assistance animal, bus lines do not allow animals on board. Some local transit systems may, however, allow muzzled and leashed or crated animals on board during non-peak hours. Check with your local transit authority for current restrictions.

 


How can I camp safely with a dog?

 

If you cannot reliably control your pet, he or she should not go camping with you. Any pet you take into the wilderness must know instantly how to sit, stay, heel, and come on command, for his or her own safety as well as yours. Dogs can frighten wildlife and should be discouraged from barking, especially at night or when hiking in the wilderness.

Never let your dog wander from your campsite. Dogs can injure or kill wildlife. They are also prone to agitate bears and have even been known to lead them into campgrounds. If you plan to go camping in bear country, it is best to leave your dog at home. Many campgrounds require all dogs to be on a leash, so do not take along your dog if he or she is not leash trained. The safest place for a dog to sleep is in the tent with you.

Be sure to check with the park or campground you are visiting about whether they allow dogs and under what conditions.

 


 

What do I do if my pet becomes lost?

 

If the unthinkable happens and your pet runs away, take the following steps:

Contact the local animal control shelter and humane society and provide them with a current photograph of your pet.

 

Post reward signs that feature a photocopied picture of your pet and a number where you can be reached or where messages can be left for you.

Give the local police a description of your pet. They may be willing to keep an eye out for your pet while on patrol.

 

Place an ad in the local newspaper, including a phone number where you can be reached.

 

If you cannot stay in the area, give your home address and telephone number to the local shelter, humane society, and the hotel where you stayed in case your pet is found.

 


Where can I get more information about travelling with a pet?

There are many books written for people who want to travel with their pet. Specialty Web sites can also provide a wealth of information including information about current travel regulations and directories of animal-friendly lodgings and accommodations.

 

http://www.mydogiscool.com/#03

© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.
 

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