Have Pet, Will Travel: Top Pet Travel Tips

Summer holidays mean hightailing it out of home. But what about Fido? If you are traveling with your four-legged friend, there are some guidelines you should consider to ensure that all members of the family have a fabulous summer soiree.

"Travelling with pets is far more complicated than you think and getting organised with the prep work well in advance can ensure a pleasant experience for the entire family,” explains Dr Elise Barry, resident vet at Pet Circle.

Firstly, consider pets as you would your children when travelling. You wouldn't drive in a car for hours on end with a child without stopping so they could have a run around, and the same goes for pets. Nor would you book a hotel with 'no child' - or pet - policies in place. And as for road trips without the perfect snacks? You're asking for trouble. 

Here are Dr Barry’s tips for travelling with a pet so you don’t all go barking mad before you’ve even left the driveway!

• “If you’re travelling by car, make sure you have an appropriate sized crate or seatbelt to safely restrain your pet,” she says.

• Introduce your pet to the car and carrier before you travel to help them get used to confinement. “Train your pet to familiarise themselves with the space by feeding them in their carrier beforehand.”

• Dr Barry advises taking frequent breaks when you’re on the road to allow for toileting as well as regularly checking in on your pet to ensure they are well fed and hydrated during the trip.

• “Pack a waterproof mat, a portable bowl and plenty of water so that your pet can stay hydrated at all times,” Dr Barry suggests.

• If you’re flying domestically, “check quarantine regulations before you pack your dog’s favourite pet food into your luggage.” The same goes for booking accommodation. Always be clear on pet policies before you depart!

• Don’t overfeed your pet before your trip, especially if they are prone to nausea, cautions Dr Barry. “For some animals, it may be best to skip breakfast on the day of travel. Alternatively, feed them a nutritious meal six hours before travelling.”

• Treat your pets as you would your children by never leaving them in the car for alone unattended! The same dangers apply to any animal that you would consider for kids.

• “Don’t purchase an international plane ticket for your pet without doing the research beforehand to see if they are suitable for travel,” Dr Barry warns. “Travelling overseas with animals is not as simple as purchasing a ticket as there are hefty costs involved, lots of paperwork to fill out and strict quarantine regulations in Australia.” 

• “Pack your pet’s favourite toys and accessories to remind them of home,” Dr Barry advises. “This can help them settle into an unfamiliar environmental and alleviate any separation anxiety they may experience.”

• If you’re flying domestically, bring your pet’s favourite healthy snacks to the airport to help ward off any unwanted behaviour during waiting times.

• Pets can experience fatigue and discomfort from travelling just like humans do, Dr Barry notes. “Allow them to sleep it off despite the time of day and take them for a walk in the new surroundings to stretch their legs.”

• “If your pet is prone to severe anxiety or stress, consider using pheromonatherapy,” advises Dr Barry. “This includes Feliway sprays or diffusers for your cat, and an Adaptil collar or spray for your dog. These products release synthetic pheromones, which can help to relax your pet.”

• Establish some form of routine for your pet at your travel destination, to help familiarise them and reduce any stress they may have from being away from home. “Feed, walk and play with them at regular intervals to keep them content,” says Dr Barry.

“Bringing your pet along for your family holiday can result in some extra family fun. Keep the above pointers in mind and everyone will have a great time,” concludes Dr Barry

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