Travelling with your pet – or leaving them behind

Making travel plans as a pet owner takes a little extra thinking.

Some pets love coming along on short trips – especially if those trips involve lots of fresh air, new smells and space to run around. Letting them be part of the family holiday can be a lot of fun, but it will take a bit of planning.

First, make sure the place you’re going is suitable. There are many dog friendly places that allow you to bring your four-legged friend along. Ask friends or your vet for their recommendations, or look up ‘pet friendly holiday accommodation’ online.

There are also some health and safety considerations. You’ll need to make sure your pet’s vaccinations, flea and worming treatments are all up to date and that they are healthy enough to travel.

If you’re going away for more than a few days, take them to the vet for a general check-up. Make sure they have ID tags with your phone number, and bring a recent photo along just in case they go walkabouts. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re covered with good pet insurance, to give you peace of mind.

Car trips

Long car trips can be tiring and uncomfortable for all of us. Here are a few ways to keep your pet safe and happy on the journey:

  • Use a harness or an approved pet carrier/crate inside the car.
  • Avoid feeding for two hours before you leave.
  • Encourage toilet time before leaving home.
  • Stop for a break every two hours and always have fresh water in the car in case your pet needs a drink.
  • Never leave your dog or cat unattended in a closed car.

Should I take my pet on a plane?

Taking your dog or cat on an aeroplane should be carefully considered. While some pets will cope fine, others who are prone to anxiety or are sensitive to loud noises will probably find the experience quite stressful.

Discuss with your vet before making plans to fly with your pet. If you do decide to go ahead, there are pet travel consultants who can help you make arrangements for both domestic and international pet travel. Search online or ask fellow pet owners who they have used or recommend.

If you’re going away for more than a few days, take your pet to the vet for a check-up. Make sure they have ID tags with your phone number, just in case they go walkabouts.

Leaving your pet at home

Of course, bringing your pet along is not always the best option – or even an option at all. If you’re leaving your pet at home, you’ll need to make arrangements for them to be well looked after while you’re away.

Do you have a family member or friend you can leave them with? If not, there are other options such as professional pet sitters, kennels and catteries, or even ‘pet hotels’ you can look into.

Choosing a boarding facility

It’s a great idea to visit a boarding kennel or cattery before you make a booking. In any case, do your research and ask questions, so you can be sure it’s somewhere you feel comfortable leaving your pet.

What to look for:

  • Accommodation that is clean, dry, well ventilated and temperature controlled.
  • Well-trained staff who are knowledgeable in pet care.
  • A decent-sized exercise area.
  • Adequate security to prevent your pet from escaping.

What to ask:

  • What are the animals fed and how often?
  • What is the exercise program?
  • Will your pet be sharing accommodation or be on their own?
  • If sharing, how do they choose roommates?
  • If your pet isn’t eating, what will the boarding kennel or cattery try differently?
  • Can you bring along your pet’s favourite toy or blankets to help them feel at home?
  • What happens if you pet becomes unwell while boarding?
  • If your pet has special health needs or issues, will the staff be able to accommodate this?

Before you leave your pet:

  • Give a brief summary about your pet, including any special needs or health issues.
  • Bring along any medications your pet needs and provide details about the dosage.
  • Provide your best contact details for when you are away. Most pet boarding facilities will also ask for your vet details.
  • Arrange with a friend or relative to be your pet’s emergency contact in case you are unable to be reached.

Your pet is going to miss you – there’s no avoiding that. But if you know they’re good hands, you’ll be able to relax and focus on enjoying your trip.

Keep your pet protected with Medibank pet insurance. Find out more and get a free quote today.

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