Last week, dog lovers spent a couple nights watching the Westminster Dog Show, watching as Malachy the Pekingese took home “Best in Show.”
It’s an example that Americans seem to be more attached to their pets than ever before. Certainly, the number of people traveling with their pets – even internationally – is on the rise. Many people feel as if their pet is a full-fledged family member, so bring them along on jaunts around the globe only seems natural.
Which raises the question of how best to travel with your dog, cat, goldfish, or whatever pet is near and dear to your heart.
Apparently, the answer is not Pet Airways.
But here are some helpful tips to make sure your pet’s health and safety are taken care of – and that your stress levels don’t get too high:
- Before you make any decisions, run the idea by your veterinarian. He or she will have an idea whether your pet has a temperament suitable to travel, and whether they’re healthy enough.
- Make sure vaccines are up to date.
- Consider a microchip, or at least an ID collar and tag. It’s a big world out there, and if you’re halfway around the globe, it isn’t reasonable to expect Rover to find his way home.
- Don’t think you’re going to be doing this next week. There is a lot of planning – and paperwork – that needs to be done before you hop on the plane. Many of the documents for international travel must be signed by a certified USDA veterinarian.
- Check with your airline ahead of time to see what regulations and fees they have.
- Call ahead to your hotel(s) to confirm that they’re pet-friendly. Assuming they are, find out what kind restrictions and fees they may have. Also, try to get a room on the ground floor so your pet can get outside quickly if need be.
- Pamper your pet. Bring along the bed or blankets they sleep on, and be sure to have plenty of high-value treats.
Remember – you’re not just trying to lower your stress level; you also need to minimize his or her stress.
After all, dogs are people too.
Photo by dichohecho.