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© By Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

It's vacation time for many of us and for many, choosing to travel with your pet is the best option.

Here are some health tips that will help make our journey as smooth as possible.

General advice

  • For all our deplacements, our animal should ALWAYS wear a collar containing all the complete information, including telephone number.
  • Also, make sure your food and water are kept in insulated containers to keep them fresh.
  • Also bring the dog leash to make sure to keep it close to you.
  • For a trip abroad: contact the consulate or embassy of the country of our destination for the necessary vaccinations (sometimes several months in advance) and the forms to be completed by the designated veterinarians. 

Before Leaving

Not all pets like to travel. It is therefore essential to know our animal and to ask if it will be comfortable or happy to travel. Some animals simply prefer to stay at home. Not to mention that an animal who misses his house and has motion sickness can spoil everyone's trip. In such a case, it would probably be better to entrust it to a relative, friend or guardian. If this is not possible, consider putting our cat or dog on board in a clean and well-run facility.

Preparations

Once the decision to take our pet on a trip is made, we must plan and organize our trip thoroughly. If you plan to take the car, the plane, the boat or the train, you must first check if the animals are accepted. When booking, it is also important to take all necessary steps to meet the carrier's requirements. By taking the time to book you can find out if pets are accepted (camping, hotel, motel, etc.). If you think of living with friends or relatives, it is better to advise that we plan to travel with our pet to ensure that it is indeed invited.

By Bus, Train or Boat

Buses sometimes accept the presence of pets. However, it is best to check before buying our tickets. Here in Quebec and Canada, VIA Rail accept animals in cages as checked baggage. For boats, some cruise liners and ferries also accept our pets.

By Plane

A plane trip with or without animals prepares well in advance. Here are some tips for this type of trip:

  • Some airlines allow small animals to travel under the owner's bank. For animals that are too big or big, they must travel in the baggage hold. For the latter it is best to arrive early at the airport to place it yourself in his carrier and to recover quickly upon arrival.
  • Some veterinarians will recommend a tranquillizer or sedative when our animals are in the hold. Nowadays this practice is almost no longer because we want our animals more active in the hold because it is colder than in the cabin.
  • Communicate well in advance with the airline we wish to travel with each of them having their own rules.
  • Try to find a direct flight whenever possible.
  • Learn about the airline's rules for transporting animals in a specially designed cage or box.

By car

Many trips are by car. However, it is rare that our animals are accustomed to transport by car (as are other types of transport too). To get our pets used, it is advisable to bring them for short car rides before the trip. With the cat, we choose a very large cage in which we can put a litter. Here are some more tips for travelling by car:

  • NEVER leave animals;
    • take their heads out of the window when the car is running because there is a risk of injury if particles fly in their eyes or ears;
    • attached or free in the box of a van. Several animals that had never jumped down the vehicle, arrive clinically lame. The worst case is the dog who is tied in the box of the van and jumps out of the vehicle on the move;
  • Arrange frequent stops every two hours to stretch, needs and snacks.
  • Give small meals in the morning and at noon. In the evening, allow your pet to eat a bigger meal if you do not travel at night. Discard any un-refrigerated portion to avoid poisoning.
  • It is strongly NOT RECOMMENDED to leave our animals for an extended period in the car or even more than 15 minutes. Choose to park in the shade with windows ideally ajar with someone in the car with the animals to intervene and take them out if they are too hot.

Remember, in hot weather, the temperature inside a parked car with its windows closed can rise to dangerous levels in minutes and your pet may die from heat stroke.

Conclusion

To travel without a problem with our pets, the ideal is to plan well and to organize our displacements and our activities.

I hope you enjoy wonderful moments
with your four-legged friends!

 

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