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A Guide on How to Travel with Pets
If you are a pet parent and love to travel at the same time, you must have experienced the puppy eyes your pet shows as you leave. You probably also feel anxious and tense about how they are doing at home and can’t wait for the trip to get over so that you can reunite again.
The good news for you is, now you can travel with your furry best friend in most aeroplanes, trains and cars. Here is a guide on travelling with pets that might be useful for you.
How to Travel With Your Furry Buddies?
Here is a guide on how to travel with pets in cars, buses, trains and aeroplanes.
1. How to Travel With Pets by Car
A car is the easiest mode of transport to consider if you're considering arranging a pet-friendly trip. Road vacations are usually a great way to explore the world with your beloved pet. With a car, you can stop whenever you want to stretch your legs, get some food, or even go for washroom breaks:
- As a test-run, take your pet on a couple of short car rides to see how they react to the experience.
- Purchase a car harness or carrier for your furry friend. You may adore them dearly, but doing so will stop them from crawling all over the vehicle and causing you to get distracted while driving.
- Remember the adage "less food, more water". Make sure to adequately hydrate your pet rather than overfeeding them.
- Never leave your pet animal alone in a moving vehicle for an extended period of time. Especially in hot weather when the windows are rolled up.
2. How to Travel With Your Pets in a Bus?
Unfortunately, pets are often not allowed to travel with bus passengers in India. You might be in luck if you intend to use the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), as they have recently made their services pet-friendly. As a result, here are some things to remember:
- You must pay the full fee in advance for any adult passenger travelling with a dog or cat.
- You must always ensure your pet is on a leash or in a carrier.
- Make sure your pet is at ease travelling for lengthy periods and is not afraid of strangers. You can start by taking them on a few test drives in your car, if possible.
Moreover, a few private luxury bus companies have enough room to accommodate your pet if you ask them to do it specifically. This will be especially helpful if you're looking to travel to different regions or states. But keep in mind that buses often have much less space than cars, trains, or even aeroplanes.
3. How to Travel With Your Pet in a Train?
One of the most popular ways to travel long distances in India is by train. Moreover, bringing your beloved pet along is actually very simple and safe for animals of all sizes and shapes because of the extra room in trains.
Section 77-A of the Indian Railway Act contains numerous particular regulations for travelling with a dog on a train in India. These also apply to cats and other pets. Some of the travel tips for pets on a train you should be aware of are as follows:
- If you are travelling in AC First Class or First Class exclusively, you can bring larger dogs such as Labradors, German shepherds, and Retrievers along.
- Most of the trains allow smaller dogs and cats to ride in carriers in a few additional compartments, which may have boxes for them. However, they are not allowed in any second-class coaches or sleeper coaches.
- If you wish to take your pet on a train ride, you must pay a minimum (prepaid) price. It starts at ₹10 per head and the amount may change depending on the size of your pet.
- If you're not sure about how your co-passengers would react, it's essential that you keep a travel kennel as well. Additionally, your pet must have a collar and leash.
- You will need to send your pet (and their carrier) to the luggage car if any other passengers in your compartment object to your pet, so either make sure to gain their permission or (if you can) reserve the entire compartment!
- For your dog, you must bring food and water, and you may want to bring some toys and treats, too.
4. How to Travel With Your Pet in a Plane?
You might not have even considered bringing your beloved pets on a flight. However, it is possible to fly to India with a pet. Pets are welcome on almost all flights, though various airlines may have varying requirements. Here are some pointers for travelling with a pet:
- Before your vacation, see your veterinarian to determine whether your pet is healthy enough to fly. Also ensure that all their vaccinations are done. After all, you want to keep your furry friend as safe as possible.
- Some dog and cat breeds such as Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Boxers, and or Persian and Himalayan cats shouldn't fly. This is because they run the risk of experiencing stress, breathing problems, or even heat stroke.
- Your pet will require a stable, well-ventilated carrier, often known as a travel cage, that is large enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down. Of course, it must be made of something that cannot be chewed! Additionally, it should have some comfortable bedding, food, and drink.
- The main Indian carriers, Jet Airways, Air India, Vistara and SpiceJet, all enable you to travel with your pets. However, IndiGo only permits service animals for passengers with disabilities.
- Your pet will need to fly with you on most of these airlines in a carrier that will keep them in the cargo hold. These cargo holds are fully pressurised and temperature-controlled.
- However, a small number of pets are not permitted in the cabin by Air India, so you should double-check in advance.
- The minimum age to fly may not apply to humans, but it does to dogs and cats! To be able to fly, your dog must be at least 8 weeks old. Additionally, airlines will now allow pregnant pets onboard due to safety concerns.
- You must ensure to always securely fasten your pet in their carrier before and after the trip, whether in the cabin or the hold. Booking a journey with no layovers is preferable because switching planes in the middle of a busy baggage area can be extremely upsetting for your pet.
Keep in mind that in-cabin travel is usually safer. This is because, even though cargo may be more economical, it might be quite uncomfortable for your pet. After your flight, if you notice any signs of distress, take them right away to the vet.
Best Practices When Travelling with Your Dog
Here are a few best practices that you should opt for while travelling with your dog:
- Schedule Bathroom Breaks: Teach your dog to pee himself on different surfaces other than only grass before you leave the house. It will lessen his pain and the likelihood of accidents while you are driving or somewhere else if he can relieve himself on diverse surfaces, such as concrete, mulch, and gravel. Bring a leash and a supply of bags for clean-up afterwards.
- Bring Toys and Games: Give your dog a few new toys and a few of his old favourites to prevent boredom. To keep him occupied, you might want to offer a puzzle-style toy.
- Keep Snacks and Drinks with You: If you want to prevent your dog from getting an upset stomach while you're away from home, talk to your veterinarian about just feeding him bottled water. Additionally, buy foldable bowls rather than packing his regular heavy ones, and give him a week or so to get used to using them before your trip.
What Are the Health And Safety Precautions to Take While Travelling With a Pet?
- Ensure that your pets have received all necessary vaccines, flea, tick, and heartworm treatments.
- In addition to collars and tags, microchips are a crucial tool for helping you find your pets. If they lose sight of you while you're out exploring, they can return to you with the aid of these tiny rice-grain-sized items.
- Fill their suitcases! Bring additional collars, leashes, toys, and bowls for water and food for your pets.
- Don't forget the water, and bring extra food and goodies. Water quality varies from city to city, so bringing bottled or bottled tap water from home is recommended to avoid stomach trouble.
- Find a veterinarian who treats animals close to where you're going. You'll feel more at ease if you are ready. There are numerous resources available to assist you in finding a qualified veterinarian close to your intended location.
- Bring medical records, identification, prescriptions and pictures of you and your dogs.
- In case of an emergency, first aid kits are crucial.
- Keep in mind that animals don't belong in hot cars! Heat stroke can be fatal and occurs quickly.
Health and Safety Tips to Maintain in a Car
Here are a few health and safety tips you can maintain in a car:
- There are two types of pet travel harnesses, those that merely reduce attention and those that actually protect against crashes. Choose carefully!
- Stop driving while you are distracted! Did you realise that distraction while driving can come from household pets as well as cell phones? Together, you and your pet should drive more cautiously, and you should make sure that your pet is securely restrained in the backseat.
- If you are wondering about crash safety, then choose a high-quality, crash-tested harness to safeguard your pet and family in the event of an accident. Additionally, CPS advises against using long extension tethers and travel accessories with ziplines.
- When travelling by car, dogs should be restrained. Numerous factors make it risky to let pets stick their heads out the window of a moving vehicle. Although it may be amusing to watch your dog's ears flap in the wind, getting road debris in his eyes can be painful and cost you a few bucks.
Health and Safety Tips for Airline Travel
- Most airlines demand that your veterinarian produce a health certificate 7–10 days before your flight. Keep this document close by at all times because you might require it at several checkpoints for checking.
- Selecting a direct flight over one with several stops will help you both experience less anxiety related to your travels.
- You also have to check in your pets at the airline counter, so arrive early and allow additional time, especially during periods of high travel demand.
- At least four hours before taking off on your flight, stop feeding your pet. There will be fewer chances of them experiencing airsickness.
- Pet tranquilisers can cause emergencies in flight, so avoid using them for air travel. Try high-intensity exercise two hours before flying if your pet is an anxious traveller.
- Investigate the airline and the care your pet will receive before booking. Since pet travel service providers (or their subcontractors) are not held to any standards, the standard of care is arbitrary and variable. Conduct your research!
- Make certain that your pet is microchipped, wearing a collar and tags, and that the carrier is clearly marked "Live Animal" and contains your contact details, including a mobile phone. Labelling must also include the final destination. If you have a second family member who can help out in an emergency, let the airline know about them and include their contact information on the travel crate as well.
- Make sure you have direct contact with someone at the airline who can help you with issues relating to your pet when you land.
- Upon inspection, seek emergency veterinary care if you ever worry about your pet's health, and keep all related documentation and medical records.
Health and Safety Tips in Hotel
- When staying in a hotel, it is always advisable to have an additional form of containment to make sure your dog is safe. Soft crates are a lightweight solution that can serve as your dog's temporary residence.
- Additionally, useful items include belly bands and potty mats, especially if your dog tends to mark its territory.
- Bringing additional blankets and comforters can make it easier for your dog to adjust to the strange hotel room.
- Prevent your pet's stomach upsets while on vacation by skipping the hotel-supplied snacks. Instead, bring extra snacks from home. When it comes to pets, introducing new foods while travelling might be a formula for a disaster.