Pets are becoming inseparable parts of our lives, nowadays, but traveling with pets is still a big question mark in the traveling industry! However, most travel companies are setting up rules that specify what is allowed and what is not for beloved pets!
In this post, we’ll talk about how to travel safely with your pet by car, airplane, ship, or train.
Every pet owner should consider the safety and comfort of their pet first because these innocent loyal friends of ours can’t talk for themselves.
There are several factors and precautions to consider when traveling by car with your pets.
Dogs shouldn’t be roaming in the car
The safest way to have our beloved pets with us while traveling by car is to put them in a crate, fixed by a seat belt. If dogs roam in the car, it’s not safe both for them and the driver.
Cats should be in a carrier
Most cats aren’t comfortable being in a car at all, let go of willing to travel by one, but if that’s the only choice, make sure you put your cat is a carrier and fasten the seat belt around it, to make sure it doesn’t move to hurt your cat.
Keep your dog’s head inside
Most dogs love keeping their head outside the car, but don’t get fooled by their joy! It’s harmful to them. because they may get sick because of cold weather getting forced into their lungs.
Give your pets some rest stops
Make sure you stop where ever it’s safe for your pets to come out and stretch their muscles a bit. It helps them not to get too tired or frustrated.
Have a driving buddy
First things first, your pet should never sit on the front seat, it’s not safe for it. next, it’s better to have a driving buddy with you to switch places and be beside your pet to make it feel safe and less stressed.
Never leave your pet in the car
Quickly filling up your gas or running to a pit stop for a second may not be that long for you, but it is for your pet. It can get too hot in the car quickly and make your car like a hell for your dog or cat.
The HSUS recommends that you weigh all the risks when deciding whether to transport your pet by airplane. It’s the hardest for those pets with a pushed-in face (“brachycephalic”) such as Bulldogs and Persian cats since their short nasal passages make them vulnerable against lack of Oxygen or heat stroke.
Consider an alternative way if possible
If there’s no other way but to take your pet with you, the best option is taking it by car since you have more control over your pet and can adjust the situation if needed, which is mostly not the case when carrying it with an airplane.
When flying with your pet, choose the cabin if possible
Most airlines would allow you having a small cat or dog with you in the cabin (of course they should be in a carrier) but since there’s a limit for the number of animals on the cabin, you should call the airline in advance to make sure there’s a space for your beloved pet.
There are certain questions to ask from the airline when having your pet on the cabin
- Will the airline allow you to take your small cat or dog on the board?
- Is there any requirement for the health and immunization of your pet?
- Does the airline demand a specific carrier brand? They’re mostly OK with most brands for hard-sided carriers, but when it comes to soft-sided carriers (which is better for your pet) brands limitation pop up!
- If you can’t take your pet into the cabin, what’s the requirement for having it in the cargo hold?
Take precaution when your pet’s carrier goes thru X-ray checking
Consider the fact that you should take your pet out from the carrier for the airport’s security to check the carrier itself. Sometimes there are some alternative options in the airport’s security that don’t require your pet to be taken out from its’ carrier.
Look out for your pet when getting transferred to the cargo hold
Most animals are just fine while going in n out of the cargo hold, but sometimes some of the airport personnel simply don’t take the required precautions while transferring pets. sometimes the temperature is too hot or too cold for your pet, or the ventilation is the problem!
Some tips to keep in mind if your pet is going to the cargo hold
- Book direct flights: Transferring risk will simply go out of the way if your pet doesn’t have to get to the next cargo hold.
- Travel on the same flight with your pet: Ask the airline if you can check your pet being loaded and unloaded from the cargo hold.
- Notify the captain: When you’re going on board, notify the captain about your pet in the cargo hold. They’ll be more careful.
- Never ship brachycephalic animals like Persian cat and Bulldog in the cargo hold!
- In summer, take the flights in the early morning or late at night to skip the heat
- Clip your pet’s nail: to make sure it won’t get hurt during the traveling time!
- Carry a photograph of your pet: If God forbid, you can’t find your pet, it’s easier to find it with a photograph.
While assistance dogs can be with you, in other cases, most cruises don’t allow pets inside with you while again, but most confine pets to kennels. In any case, make sure you contact your cruise’s customer service before taking your pet with you.
Some small train companies in the US and Europe allow small pets on the train while the large train companies are still working on it. You should contact them in advance to know their most updated rules.
Make your pet familiar with its’ carrier a month before traveling to reduce your beloved pet’s stress level when the traveling day arrives!
19 thoughts on “How to travel safely with your pet by car, airplane, ship or train”
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My husband and I bought a puppy last month and we want to take the best care of him possible.
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This is a very informative—edifying article to all. Thanks a lot! Continue to post!
I appreciate your recommendation to take your pet to a regular physical because animals don’t often show signs of illness or pain. My husband and I bought a puppy last month and we want to take the best care of him possible. We will be sure to find a reputable vet to take our dog to that can make sure he is in great health.
Plus there are mandatory health checks, shots and being certified as Fit to Fly for a pet. Also, Heathrow airport has an entire center for the pets and you have to check them in there before boarding.
Love your article, very well-written! I have been reading posts regarding this topic and this post is one of the most interesting and informative one I have read. Thank you for this!
This is nice , tho I got no pet 🙂
Thank you for your comment! 😊
That reminds me of the time we used to drive around with our dogs and they puke all over the seats! Travelling with pets is really not that safe all the time regardless of how comfortable they are. I’ve also seen station wagon drivers patition the back of their cars so their dogs can roam freely. Is this okay?
Unfortunately, as you mentioned, traveling with dogs is not comfortable for them, even if you try your best to make them feel comfortable!
Thanks for acknowledging
Oh boy! I went through the headache of transporting a pet on a plane when I moved back to the US! Also, it’s really important to follow the airline’s rules for pet transport, especially when it concerns food and water. Plus there are mandatory health checks, shots and being certified as Fit to Fly for a pet. Also, Heathrow airport has an entire center for the pets and you have to check them in there before boarding. I have heard of pets who had adverse effects from travelling and they need some sort of therapy
The whole traveling with pet is just too complicated!
It’s so sad that some pets would have to do kind of a therapy afterwards. I think it’s an informal version of animal abuse they do at Heathrow!
Thank you for your comment!
I actually saw a tv program about the inner workings of Heathrow. It didn’t seem so bad, but then again, I don’t believe everything in the media. My cat was fine though, and also it wasn’t Heathrow that provided tips for animal comfort, it was the airline. Heathrow has to be on the alert of people trafficking rare and exotic animals and it’s actually a hub for animal trafficking. They confiscate thousands of illegally trafficked animals every year