Pet travel - Cats & Dogs

Once again the holiday season is almost upon us. If you are planning on going away for the holidays, then like many pet parents you may want to take your furry kids with you.

However, travelling can be stressful for you and your pet, quickly turning a fun holiday into a bit of a nightmare! Travelling with dogs or cats can come with some unique challenges such as car sickness and travel anxiety.

Here are some helpful tips to make travelling together a pleasant and comfortable experience for you and your pet.

If you’re taking a road trip…

1. Start preparing your pet in advance

If you are taking a long road trip, prepare your pet in advance for the journey. Make sure your four-legged pal is used to travelling in a car. Do a practice run first with a few short drives and then increase the time spent driving in the car.

If your pet is not used to travelling in a car, he may become nauseous and struggle with car sickness, drooling excessively and maybe even vomiting – which you definitely don’t want on your holiday trip!

Lots of short trips and a homeopathic remedy like PetCalm  by Feelgood Pets will help your dog or cat become accustomed to travelling.
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2. Keep your pet in a crate or carrier

Pets that are not secured in a crate or carrier are often a distraction and safety hazard for the driver. Dogs that are travelling in a car should be in a crate which is anchored securely by a seatbelt on the backseat to prevent it from moving should you stop suddenly.

If you prefer not to use a crate, keep your dog restrained in a harness attached to the seat belt.

Cats don’t really enjoying travelling in a car, so it’s best to keep them in a carrier. Remember to keep the carrier restrained in the car by securing it with a seatbelt. If you don’t secure the carrier, it may shift or slide around and hurt your kitty.
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3. Always keep your pet on the backseat

Like with young children, pets should not allowed to ride in the passenger seat – even if they do enjoy it. Pets can easily be thrown into the windscreen if you stop abruptly when they are riding in the front seat.

Very often, pets that are allowed to roam in the car while it’s moving may try to climb onto the driver’s lap and interfere with driving, thereby causing an accident.

Air bags are also a safety hazard for small people and pets, and if an airbag  deploys while your pet is in the passenger seat, your pet can be severely injured. Back seats are much safer for pets!
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4. Keep their heads inside

Make sure that you keep your dog or cat safely in the car. Windows should always be rolled up high so that pets can’t get out. 

You can leave the windows open a little at the top to allow fresh air in, but not so wide that your dog can put his head out.

Never allow your dog to ride with his head hanging outside of the window as he can be injured by a passing vehicle. Remember to never transport your pet in the back of an open van or truck as they can also get hurt.
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5. Pack a pet-friendly travel kit

Take all your pet’s essential items along such as food, a bowl, leash, grooming supplies, first aid kit, medications as well as poop scoop and  plastic bags.

Keep plenty of bottled water in the car so that when you stop, your pet can have water from a safe source.

Refrain from feeding your pet in a moving vehicle - it is recommended that you feed him three to four hours before you leave for your trip.  This also helps to prevent car sickness in dogs.
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6. Never leave your pet alone in a car

Pets shouldn’t be left alone in parked vehicles, especially in summer. Even if the windows of a car are left open on a hot day, the temperature can heat up to 102 degrees within minutes and your pet can develop heatstroke. 

Make a point of stopping frequently to give your pet a chance to exercise and eliminate.
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7. Prevent car sickness

Even pets that are used to travelling in a car sometimes also get car sick, especially on a longer trip.  Stop frequently to give your pet a chance to exercise and eliminate as this will be helpful in keeping them relaxed and calm.

Use PetCalm from Feelgood Pets PetAlive which is a 100% homeopathic remedy to soothe and relax anxious or stressed pets. Just a few doses of this remedy before your trip will help to prevent car sickness and keep your pooch or kitty calm.  
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If you are travelling by plane…

1. Fly your pet only if necessary

It is generally not recommended to fly your pet unless it is strictly necessary. Air travel is quite stressful and can even be dangerous for pets with pushed in faces such as pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats – their short nasal passages tend to predispose them to breathing difficulties and heatstroke.

Pets flying in cargo hold are also particularly dangerous because they are often lost, injured or killed in this area as a result of rough handling, poor ventilation or extreme heat or cold.
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2. Book your pet’s flight early

It’s important to book your pet’s ticket in advance as most airlines only allow one or two pets on a flight. Check with the airline or your travel agent first that there are seats available for you and your pet so that you can travel together.
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3. Choose a direct flight

Try to book a direct, non-stop flight for your pet and in that way you will avoid possible problems that may occur during airline transfers. If possible, don’t fly over busy travel periods like the festive season as your pet will most likely be handled roughly.
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4. Buy the right carrier

Select a carrier suited for your pet. There are hard sided carriers, which work well for pets travelling in  the cargo hold and soft sided carriers which are only permitted in the cabin.

Carriers should include identification tags labelled with your name, address, contact details, final destination and where you can be reached when the flight arrives.

Keep a current photograph of your pet on hand in case he is lost during the trip – the photo will help the airline and authorities find your pet quicker.
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5. Don’t feed your pet for four hours before the flight

It is recommended not to feed your pet right before the flight. However, you can give him small amounts of water up until it’s time to travel.

Make sure that your pet gets some exercise and eliminates before boarding the flight.
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6. Visit the vet

Consult your vet to make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.  A health certificate within 10 days of departure is also needed to verify that your pet is fit for airline travel.
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7. Prevent air sickness

Nervous, easily stressed and anxious dogs and cats will definitely benefit from taking a natural remedy to keep them calm and relaxed. Use PetCalm which is a gentle and safe homeopathic calmative for pets  which can be given to them before travel.  
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