Traveling with Animals

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Nov 1, 2017
Health

WHILE YOU MAY FIND IT HARD to be away from your pets, they may be more stressed by traveling with you. Some animals aren’t suited for travel due to temperament, illness or physical impairment.

Think about where your pets would be happiest. You may think they won’t tolerate separation; but if you must leave them in a hotel room or strange kennel, they will be more anxious. Leaving them at home with a sitter is probably a better choice.

Cats do not enjoy change. It can cause them major stress and lead to behavior problems. Unless you are moving or going away for an extended period, get a pet sitter so your cat will not have to experience the stress of a long ride in a crate and a new living arrangement.

Make sure your animal is up to date on all vaccinations and in good health for travel. Some modes of travel and destinations require a veterinary exam. If your veterinarian thinks your pet is suited for travel, he may prescribe a sedative and recommend a trial run to observe its effects. Do not give your pet any drug not prescribed by your veterinarian. If you decide to take your pet along, check into pet-related restrictions set by airlines, destination countries or states, and hotels. Keep your pet’s health certificate and medical records (especially rabies vaccinations) at hand.

The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other means. Dog restraints or seatbelts may prevent your dog from roaming around the car but cannot protect it during a crash. Most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, so keep them in a carrier restrained with a seatbelt.

Keep your pet in the backseat. If your pet is in the front passenger seat (even in a crate), a deployed airbag could injure it. Pets allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by debris or become sick from cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck. Stop frequently to allow pets to exercise and eliminate, but never permit them to leave the car without a collar, ID tag and leash. Whenever possible, share driving and pet caretaking duties with a fellow traveler so you can use rest stops while someone keeps an eye on your pet.

Heat presents a particular danger. When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can reach 116 degrees in an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with windows slightly open, the temperature inside can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. If you are delayed just 30 minutes, you could return to a 120-degree car and a pet suffering irreversible organ damage or death.

If you plan to bring your pet on vacation, driving is usually a better option than flying. If you must fly, your pet will probably be healthier and happier left in the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel. The Humane Society of the United States recommends weighing the risks if you must fly with your pet. Air travel is particularly dangerous for animals with “pushed-in” faces (brachycephaly) such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats. Their short nasal passages leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.

Most airlines allow a limited number of cats or small dogs to travel in the cabin for a fee, but you must call well in advance; make sure your dog meets size requirements. Also find out if the airline has specific requirements for health and immunization, pet carrier types and rules for transporting pets in the cargo hold. Companies such as BringFido can help you navigate the process.

Your pet’s carrier will pass through security screening; you can harness your pet so you can safely contain it outside the carrier during the X-ray process, or request a secondary screening so the pet can remain in the carrier.

While most animals traveling in the cargo area are fine, some are killed, injured or lost each year, often due to excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation and rough handling. Most U.S. airlines must report companion animal incidents in the cargo hold; study the performance record of your airline.

If your pet must travel in cargo, use direct flights to avoid mistakes during transfers and delays and travel on the same flight. Request to watch your pet being loaded and unloaded. When you board the plane, notify the captain and crew your pet is traveling in cargo; the captain may take special precautions. Choose flights that accommodate the temperature extremes in summer and winter.

Fit your pet with a collar that can’t get caught in a carrier door, and affix a travel label to the carrier. Give your pet at least a month to become familiar with the travel carrier. Do not feed your pet for four to six hours before the trip. Try not to fly with your pet during busy travel times such as holidays and summer. Carry a current photograph of your pet. When you arrive, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet.

Aside from assistance dogs, pets are welcome on only a few cruise lines, usually on ocean crossings. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine them to kennels. Contact your cruise line regarding policies and availability of kennels. Make sure the kennel is protected from the elements, and check on your pet frequently.

Amtrak allows pets on select trains and service animals on all lines. The Humane Society supports the Pets on Trains Act that would require Amtrak to allow pets on passenger trains. Some smaller U.S. railroad companies permit animals, as do many trains in Europe.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

© Ukrphoto | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 15, 2019

Cunard Launches Exclusive Musical

Cunard premiered the musical Top Hat aboard Queen Victoria last week. Next week, the musical premieres aboard Queen Elizabeth. The musical is slated to appear exclusively on Cunard ships for the next four years.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Lufthansa. Photo: Alexander Efisko | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 15, 2019

Lufthansa Launches Innovative Carbon Offset Program

Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.

Desert. Photo: Galyna Andrushko | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 15, 2019

Shop New Desert-Inspired Capsule Collection From The Luxury Collection

The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

LG Pay. Photo: Piotr Swat | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 14, 2019

LG Pay

With more mobile pay options like Apple Pay and Venmo becoming commonplace, electronics manufacturer LG is getting in on the action.

Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Ajdibilio | Dreamstime.com

© Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. Photo: Jason P Ross | Dreamstime.com

Santa Monica, California. Photo: Tupungato | Dreamstime.com

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Sponsored Content

Google Search. Photo: Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 13, 2019

Google Expands Price Comparison Tool

Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.

© VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 13, 2019

Singapore Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service Between Singapore, Seattle

Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.

Beach access ramp for wheelchair on South Beach, Miami. Photo: Alkan2011 | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 13, 2019

Florida Beaches Put Accessibility First

For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.