When you have a furry family member, and you're planning a trip, you often wish you could bring them along. But, you're not sure either how to do it, or if it's a good idea. While scientists say animals are able to remember recent memories, they do not have a sense of time.
This may explain why they are equally excited to see you arrive home, whether it's been five minutes or five hours.
The Humane Society says when making travel decisions for your pet, choose what is the safest and most comfortable for them. If you will be able to spend a lot of time with Fido during your trip, then plan away. If, however, you know this will be a rarity, then your pet is bound to be happier at home. Cats, as a general rule, are best left at home. If you have decided it is best to bring your pet along, follow these tips for a safe and stress-free trip.
There are only certain airlines that allow you to travel with pets. In South Africa, Kulula and Mango are amongst the few that allow pets on a domestic flight. There are usually only two containers allowed on an aircraft, so make sure you book well before to ensure your pet can join you on the same flight. You will need to supply your own transport container for your pet, and certain weight restrictions will need to be adhered to.
Note, your pet will be weighed in conjunction with the carrier's weight. Make an appointment with your vet before the trip to ensure all your pet's vaccines and health records are up-to-date. Flights can be a very stressful ordeal for pets, and may reveal certain underlying health issues. Make sure you get a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure.
Tranquilising your pet is generally not recommended, because it could potentially inhibit your pet's breathing.
Check with your veterinarian for ways to relax your pet if you suspect he or she may become afraid, anxious, or uncomfortable mid-flight.
Do not let your dog(s) roam in the car while driving, as this is a distraction to the driver. The safest way for your dog to travel is in a crate that is strapped to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other means to secure it. While doggy seatbelts or restraints may help, they haven't been shown to sufficiently protect dogs during a crash.
The safest option for you cat is to be put in a travel carrier. Most cats aren't comfortable travelling in cars. So, for their safety as well as yours, keep them in a carrier.
Make sure you restrain the travel carrier so that it does not bounce around and potentially injure your cat. This can be done by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier.
1. Prepare a pet-friendly travel kit - This includes food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. Pack a favourite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
2. Keep pets hydrated throughout the trip - Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure.
3. Keep pets in the backseat - If an airbag deploys, and your pet is seated in the front seat, they could get hurt.
4. Keep those heads inside - Pets who stick their heads out the window can be injured, or develop a cold from cold air being forced into their lungs. NEVER transport a pet in the back of an open bakkie.
5. Provide plenty of rest stops - Allow your pet to exercise and relieve themselves frequently when travelling by car.
6. Never leave your pet alone in a car - A quick stop for you may seem to take no time at all, but it is too long to leave your pet alone in the car. Even if you’re certain of your timing, you can get held up. In just 30 minutes, you could return to a 30+ degree celsius car and a pet suffering irreversible organ damage or death.
7. Be covered - This applies to travelling with or without a pet. But, before embarking on any sort of trip, ensure that you are sufficiently covered. Contact your car insurance company or compare car insurance quotes and find the best deal suited to your lifestyle.