Travelling: Should Your Pet Stay or Go?

You have worked hard and your vacation is finally just around the corner. However, there is a dark cloud looming over your happy anticipation. What should you do with your fur babies? Handling vacations when you have a pet (or more than one) is tricky business. The owners often find themselves unsure of what to decide: should they pack up the pet too, or leave them at home? Let’s break down the issue and try to find a solution.

What should be my deciding factors?

There are several deciding factors. The first one is definitely the kind of animal you own. For instance, dogs are usually extremely loyal to their owners, and don’t take well to separation. Cats, on the other hand, aren’t fans of travel, and they are normally very attached to the home. The second thing to consider is the general state of your pet. Is he healthy? Does he have any health problems or sensitivities? How old is he? Do you have any previous experience with travel, and if the answer is yes, how did he take it? The last consideration should be the circumstances of the trip itself. What is your mode of transportation, and how comfortable will it be for your pet? Is your hotel pet-friendly? Do you plan on taking your pet with you everywhere, once you arrive there, or will he be spending a lot of time alone in unfamiliar surroundings? Bear in mind also that different countries have different pet entry regulations, and you should definitely check them out before you leave.

Consult your vet

First of all, your vet should have a definite say in your decision. If you are considering bringing your pet along, the vet should definitely give his blessing after a thorough examination to check if your furry baby’s health is good enough to tag along. If he gives you the green light, you should check whether there are any vaccines your pet should get before the trip. The vet could also prescribe a mild sedative for the flight. If your pet does get a sedative prescription, make sure you always give the prescribed dosage. If, on the other hand, the vet doesn’t deem your pet in a fit state to travel, you should look into other options, like pet sitting.

Option A: Staying at Home

If you decide to leave your pet at home, there are a few options. Of course, if you have a friend or family member who is already familiar with your pet’s habits and is willing to take care of him while you are away, you are all settled. There are also pet hotels and pet sitters, but these tend to run on the more expensive side. House sitters who stay at your home and take care of your pets for free are the cheapest option, and probably the best one, particularly if you happen to have more than one pet (this is especially important for fish owners). Always interview your sitter beforehand and see if your pet likes them.

Option B: Travelling

After the obligatory vaccinations, health check-up and regulation check, you need to also consider your pet’s general health and emotional well-being on the trip. You will need to remember to pick up your pet’s prescription medicines for the trip (if he is taking any), his supplements and any other necessary supplies. It’s good to take one or two familiar objects, like his favorite toy or blanket. On the trip, always have your pet’s vaccination report and international health certificate with you. If flying, try to avoid putting your pet in the cargo area, as it can be a very scary and unpleasant experience for animals.

Simply put, whether you decide to take your pet on holiday or leave them, is a very personal decision which depends on many factors, but most notably your pet’s general condition, and your own gut feeling. The point of a vacation is to relax, and it’s best to do whatever option gives you the peace of mind.

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