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Take the stress out of travelling with your pet

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Any holiday or trip requires planning and organisation – this is doubly true if a pet is involved! Learn the basics to travelling safely with your pet with our handy checklist.

Our pets are members of our families, and we’d love to be able to take them with us on our family holidays or other travels.
But of course we worry about keeping them safe and healthy, and then there’s the additional logistics to consider, which can seem overwhelming. However, with good planning and organisation it’s possible to safely include our beloved pets on many of our holidays and travels. Our handy checklist will get you started on planning for your trip – with all the family.
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Is this trip really in your pet’s best interests?
The most important first step is to consider your pet’s wellbeing. Travel can be stressful for animals as well as humans, so ask yourself some basic questions about your pet’s suitability for the trip. Is he easily stressed? Is he old or frail? Does being in a crate or carrier cause distress? You know your pet better than anyone, and if you think the trip might be too much for them, it’s better to leave them behind.

What do you need to know about your destination?
If you are travelling abroad, you will need to research the rules and regulations of your destination country. What paperwork, passport or permits do they require? What about vaccinations? Has your pet been microchipped? What, if any, quarantine arrangements do you need to make? Is your pet or breed of dog banned from entering the country? The website Pet Travel is a good place to start your research.

How will your pet travel?
If you’re planning to take a plane or boat, you will need to take your pet in a crate or carrier (except dogs on some ferry routes) . This can present problems, particularly if your pet is not used to spending time in their carrier. In the weeks and months leading up to your trip, take the time to acclimatise your pet to their crate or carrier. Encourage them to see it as a safe place where they can rest or nap by placing their favourite toys or treats inside. If the crate or carrier will go in a cargo hold, make sure that you get one with a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation and a strong, secure lock. If you are travelling by air, you will need to make sure that your pet’s crate meets the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements.

Is your itinerary pet friendly?
Make sure you check in advance that all hotels, airlines, ferry and coach companies are pet-friendly. Don’t book anything until you are sure!

Understand the health risks
Many countries have strict policies that dictate what vaccinations and other health checks your pet will need to undergo before they can enter. Make sure you have researched and complied with all of these! You should also schedule a visit to your vet to discuss your pet’s general health and suitability to travel, as well as any tips and advice they can give. You may also want to research pet and animal hospitals near your destination, in case of emergencies.

Stock up!
Compile a list of everything your pet will need, and then make a trip to the pet store! Some items to consider include: name tag (with mobile phone number), water and food dishes, brush/grooming tools, food and treats and an old towel or sheet to cover hotel furniture. Another great idea is to bring along a picture of your pet, in case she gets lost.

Get rid of stowaways
If you don’t already do so, make sure your pet is free of all parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms before you travel by implementing a parasite control routine. Your vet can advise you on products such as spot-ons, tablets or collars that will kill and/or repel these parasites both before and during the trip. Your pet may face different types of parasites abroad than they do at home, so make sure your vet recommends a product that will deal with all the common parasites your pet is likely to face on her travels.

Ensure your dog is relaxed and comfortable in his crate with our guide to dog crating.