SOME IMPORTANT SAFETY HINTS AND TIPS
FOR TRAVELLING WITH YOUR PET
By Miriam Kerins
The sun's out, and
so is school, hailing the start of the official summer
holiday season, and I want to remind pet parents to make
every effort to ensure their pets – as well as their family
- have a safe and happy experience. So, whether you’re
travelling by road, by sea or by air, I hope the information
I’ve prepared below will be of some help to you.
read on, please note: All of the information I am providing
is done so as a guideline and as a source of information
only. It is in no way intended to be used, nor should it
ever be used, as a substitute for professional veterinary
and/or animal training/behavioural advice. If you have any
concerns regarding your animal's health or behaviour, please
contact your local veterinarian, who is an expert, or a dog
training professional without delay.
travelling can be very stressful for both you and your pet;
I know, I’m one of those people who bring their dogs
everywhere, and take it from me, poor holiday planning can
literally be listed as grounds for divorce in our house!
However, with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe,
happy and comfortable experience for everyone.
Here are a few of my own top tips.
When you and your partner are excitedly discussing the
family’s travel plans and destinations, make sure you
remember to get your pets involved. And no, I don’t mean
sit down and ask them where they’d like to go! I’m simply
suggesting you factor your furry friends’ needs and welfare
into the equation.
Take your pets to the vet to ensure they are up to date on
all vaccinations and make sure you have a supply of any
medication they are currently taking.
If you own dogs that will be in contact with other dogs,
make sure they are vaccinated against kennel cough.
If travelling by sea or air, please obtain a clean
certificate of health from your vet and make sure this is
dated at least 14 days before your departure.
Ask your vet about any parasites, health risks, etc., to
your animal that may be associated with your planned
Additionally, make sure your dog has basic training so that
he/she will at least know how to behave during the trip.
Make sure your pet wears a collar and ID tag and is micro
chipped. It’s the law! Make sure his/her details are
registered, and are up to date and clearly displayed.
you book, always, always check ahead with your
airline’s/ferry’s pet policies.
first time I took my dogs on a ferry and somebody callously
described them as “cargo,” I nearly had a fit. However this
is how they are considered, and, even if your dog is the
most relaxed canine in the world, (a la our middle girl,
Belle), the cargo hold does not make for a pleasant travel
experience for them.
required, purchase an approved shipping crate – it should be
large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, sit, lie
down and turn around in. Write the words ‘LIVE ANIMAL’
clearly on at least two sides of the crate, and use arrows
to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate.
sure the door is securely closed, but not locked in such a
way that, God forbid there’s an emergency situation,
airline/ferry personnel can’t get it open to free your
Whenever possible, book direct flights and tell every
airline/ferry employee you encounter that you are travelling
with a pet in the cargo hold. This way they will be ready
if any additional attention is required.
the journey, taking into account any rest stops and/or
restaurants where you can safely eat with your pet, and
allow them out to stretch their legs and have a pee/poo.
ever, leave your animal alone in a parked car. On a hot day,
even with the windows open, a parked car can turn into a
furnace and very quickly, in a matter of minutes, heatstroke
can develop, causing death. In cold weather, a car can turn
into a fridge, holding in the cold, causing the animal to
freeze to death.
order to make the journey safe and secure, a well ventilated
pet carrier/crate, large enough for your pet to stand, sit,
lie down and turn around in should be provided.
Alternatively a pet harness/safety belt should be attached.
However, if your dog is anything like my lot, they will
probably gnaw through the straps, rendering them useless.
So, it’s up to you; you know your own pet, meaning you’ll
know the best way to secure them.
allow your pet to travel with his head outside the window.
This can subject him/her to inner ear damage and lung
infections. In addition, your pet could be injured by flying
objects from other vehicles or from the environment. Cats
should always be held in a carrier.
allow your children to tease or annoy your pet whilst
travelling. Please teach your child (ren) to be respectful
of their furry brother/sister.
along plenty of bottled drinking water from your own tap.
Drinking water they are not used to could cause your pet’s
tummy to become upset.
Bring along a
travel bag for your pet and include things like:
First aid kit
Fresh supply of water
remember to plan your trip and do try and enjoy your
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