How to Travel With Your Pet

More and more, people are traveling with pets. In many cases their pets are their “emotional support” animals, which allows them to take their pets almost anywhere. If you want to take your pet with you on vacation, there are a number of things to consider and do.


Dogs Always Have to Be on Leashes, in Your Control, and Crated When Possible


While everyone loves a nice dog, you just don’t know when your dog is going to be unpredictable. From airplanes to buses, dogs are allowed to travel, but they do have to remain in your control and on a leash at all times. If they are a tiny lapdog, many airlines and bus transit systems will request that you crate your pet in a pet carrier of some kind for everyone else’s safety.


If your dog is a larger dog, you may need special permission ahead of the time you travel. Call the airlines or bus line and ask what their policies are on larger breeds of dogs. If it has to be a therapy animal or support/seeing eye dog, you will be required to bring papers to verify that your animal is a working animal and not exactly a pet.


Cats Always Have to Be in a Pet Carrier


Cats typically do not travel well. However, some cats can be trained to be effective therapy animals and companions for people. Those cats that are trained for this still need to be in a pet carrier because cats are notorious for running off and hiding. In a massive airport full of people, you don’t want your cat running away before you are about to board a plane. The same holds true for buses, trains and subways.


Additionally, there are some restrictions on the breeds of cats allowed into certain states. Some cats are not allowed to travel into or through international airports, which creates some bigger problems for therapy cats and their owners. Finally, if you travel internationally with your dog or cat, the animal has to remain in quarantine at customs for a period of several days before it will be released to you. If that is a particular problem, it may be best to leave the animal at home or only take it on domestic flights.


Weight Restrictions and in-Cabin Storage of Your Pet


Pets have to weigh so many pounds or less to travel on a plane. Every airline is a little different when it comes to the weight restrictions, so read through them thoroughly before you book a flight. If you can fit your pet under your seat accordingly, the animal usually flies for free, but you can also purchase a seat ticket for your furry friend.


On a train, boat, or bus the weight is less of an issue, but your pet still has to fit in the seat, cabin, or aisle with you. On a train or plane, your pet has to be in a carrier and easily stored under your seat. On a bus or cruise ship, the animal has to fit comfortably in your seat or cabin, and you do have to purchase an extra seat or cabin occupant ticket.


Take Pet Snacks and a Collapsible Water Dish With You


For any travel lasting two hours or less, you can feed your pet just prior to leaving or provide him/her with a light snack. Longer rides or flights with fewer or no stops means that you can’t feed your pet a full meal because there is no way for your pet to relieve itself. Small treats you can feed your pet a few at a time will make sure your pet isn’t starving after a long day of travel. Take a collapsible water bowl as well. Fill it with water when you have a long layover in an airport or when you finally disembark from your plane or train to give your pet a much needed drink.