Tips for travelling with pets

Tips for travelling with pets

Does it break your heart each time you bid farewell to your pet as you set out on your vacation? Do you wish they could accompany you on your holiday? Now, with the mushrooming of pet friendly homestays and hotels, travelling with pets is no longer an unsurmountable challenge. But remember that the journey is equally important – you don’t want to ruin your holiday worrying about a poodle or cat who has taken sick. So keep these tips in mind when you’re planning a holiday with your four legged companion.

Choosing travel mode:  Driving down to your destination is undoubtedly the easiest option because your dog or cat will suffer less anxiety since they are familiar with the car.  Before the trip, go for a slightly longish test drive to make sure your pet will not be road sick on a journey spanning several hours. In the vehicle, keep them in a travel crate or use a pet car seat or pet seat belt. Don’t let them stick their head or paws out of the window – it can cause ear damage. Stop every two to three hours to allow them to get some exercise, relieve themselves and never leave your pet in the car while going out to explore a place – temperatures soar inside once the air conditioning is switched off!

Tips for travelling with pets

In trains in India, only first class AC compartments allow dogs in the coach, otherwise they have to travel in the luggage van, which is tantamount to a death sentence for any animal because of poor ventilation systems. But you need to get the consent of fellow passengers, so you would have to book two or four seats, depending on the coach size.

In first AC also, you have to book the entire coupe even if you are a single passenger. That rule has been made to avoid a co passenger in the same coupe objecting to travelling with a pet. But make sure he or she behaves well, because in case anyone in the entire compartment objects to the dog, he will be put in the luggage van.

If you plan to take to the skies with your cat or dog, first check with your vet to ensure the pet is fit to fly – air travel is unsuitable if they are too weak or young. Select an airline that allows them in the cabin as travelling in the cargo hold may be traumatic experience for them. Currently Spice Jet, Air India, Jet Airways, and Vistara allow pets but do check the rules for each airline before booking tickets.

Packing for the pet: Keep their favourite toys and chewies handy to keep them content. Always put your pet’s details on the crate if they are travelling in the cargo hold. Carry plenty of water to keep  them hydrated during the journey, as well as  biscuits and foods that  it likes – you may not get them at your destination. Give your pet plenty of exercise before you leave, because even more than you, they will feel cramped during the journey – after all your four-legged friend is probably used to frisking around much more.

Choosing a hotel or homestay: Don’t just choose one that allows or grudgingly accepts pets, hone down on one that welcomes pets. There is a key difference. The former might be much more fussy and have a lot of restrictions on allowing your dog access to open areas etc. Make sure you get a ground floor room.

A few five-star chains such as Taj and Four Seasons, and others such as Ibis allow pets in some of their hotels and have special staff to handle the pet and babysit when you are not there. It is also a good idea to opt for a home stay with an owner fond of pets rather than a busy resort. Preferably find one close to open spaces, parks or a beach.

With all this taken care of, your holiday will get a whole new meaning as you explore unknown trails, romp along a beach playing ball or just spend a carefree day under the sun cuddled next to each other.

Tips for travelling with pets

In case you cannot take your pet along, don’t fret. There are plenty of boarding options you can use to ensure your pet is well taken care of.

Pet boarding options:  Pet boarding options such as Waggle and Petvacations have sprung up all over the country. Besides these, big cities offer a range of pet boarding facilities.  But just as you make your travel bookings in advance, do this in time, because they too get booked out!

Tips for travelling with pets

Tips for leaving them behind: After you select a boarding facility, visit it with your pet for a few hours a couple of times to make it familiar with the place and the caregivers. Do remember to give the pet all the required vaccination shots and inform the boarding facility about any medical problem it may have. Take along their bed and some familiar toys to give them a sense of home. If you can ask a friend or neighbor with whom the pet is familiar with, to drop by while you are away, it will really help them feel more at home.

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Tips for travelling with pets

Have you traveled with your pets before? Do drop us a comment and share with us and other pet lovers your useful tips and suggestions on travelling with pets.

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