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Every person and their dog know that having a furry, four-legged companion just makes every trip just a little bit better. Got to walk into town? Take your dog. Heading to the beach? Take your dog. Need to get away? Take your dog. It’s quite simple really.
Of course, not everywhere will be suitable for your pet, but there are more than enough places in the UK that both you and your playful pup will absolutely love. So, if you’re after some advice on where to go when travelling with your dog in the United Kingdom, and what to do when you get there, then you’ve stumbled across what we could probably consider (humbly) to be the perfect article. From Cumbria to Cornwall, these places are guaranteed to get your pooch’s approval, so discover herein the destinations fit for canine royalty. There will be smiles and wagging tails all round.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cumbria is the first location on the list. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the single best place to take your dog in the UK, but it definitely isn’t far off. The Lake District is a pretty incredible visit anyway, but the fact that it’s dog-friendly almost makes this a no-brainer, even if you’ve been before. With about 25% of the land owned by the National Trust, you can be certain of not only picturesque scenery for you, but (more importantly) a hell of a lot of open space for the dog to play, explore, and claim as their own.
As well as all the potential walks, you can take your pup on the Windermere Lake cruises and the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, or let them discover the gardens of castles Muncaster and Lowther. Even most of the pubs and cafes gladly welcome dogs, so having your loyal companion won’t inconvenience your trip in any way.
If your dog has too much respect for those that have already claimed the Lake District (or you just fancy something else), Cumbria is also home to plenty of viable alternatives. You can take your furry friend to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines for an equally stunning walk or settle somewhere in between and visit the National Trust’s Acorn Bank. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Cumbria, and whether they’ve been previously or not, your dog is guaranteed to have a barking good time.
Next up on the list of where to go when traveling with your dog in the United Kingdom, The Cotswolds. Covering 787 square miles, it is absolutely massive, so you’re definitely not short of things for you and your pup to do. The walks here really are second to none, with places like Painswick Rococo Garden and Bibury Trout Farm always excellent options, and picturesque locations such as Woodchester Park providing ample opportunity to turn your dog into the cutest model imaginable.
There are even some hotspots in The Cotswolds that offer so much more than just a walk, for a slightly more adventurous day out. Take your dog to Cotswold Wildlife Park and introduce them to all sorts of creatures from the animal kingdom, or visit Broadway Tower Country Park to really let them loose. As well as more open grass than they could ever hope to cover (although they will definitely try), these grounds boast a dedicated pooch playground with some obstacles that will have them running and jumping all day. Take treats, because they will need the fuel!
The Cotswolds is also a great spot to take your dog because of the huge range of pet-friendly accommodations that you’ll find, so there will be no unnecessary stress surrounding the trip. If I had to recommend one company to book with, it would undoubtedly be Plum Guide, because not only do they have loads of options, but the criteria that their homes actually have to meet before they’re made available for renting guarantees a quality experience every single time.
Heading West to Wales, Snowdonia is another place that will set tails wagging. I know I said that The Cotswolds was big, and it is, that wasn’t a lie, but Snowdonia National Park is even bigger, covering 823 square miles. So while your barking-mad companion will find endless joy in the open space, you can admire the majestic views and take the time to figure out when you’re going to revisit this wonderful place again next year.
The National Park is home to the tallest mountain in England and Wales, the largest natural lake in the entirety of Wales, and even historic sites like Dolbadarn Castle, so to say there’s plenty to do is an understatement. And while the National Park is arguably the go-to when travelling to Snowdonia with your canine companion, it is not the only option in this wing of the world. Criccieth Castle, Glasfryn Parc, and Llanberis Lake Railway are just three of the other dog-friendly attractions that are well worth your time, providing enjoyment for everybody on the trip. If you’re going to Wales, Snowdonia is the place for you.
Finally, rounding off this small list of top doggy travel locations, we have Cornwall. It might be at the bottom of this list, but you have to search very far and very wide for a better UK holiday spot even without your pooch, so bring the dog here for a trip they will never forget (especially if you treat them to a new toy or two… just sayin’).
You’ve got the Pinetum Gardens, Trelissick country house and garden, Land’s End, the Eden Project, and so on (and on, and on). The options for you and your four-legged friend are literally endless. You’ll probably need numerous trips to do everything you want to do, from walks, to museums, and even to the beach.
As a dog owner, you will know full well that dogs love beaches. The sand, the water, the drive there, everything is just amazing. So if you opt for a trip to Cornwall, then head down to a beach. There’s more than 100 to choose from, and whichever one you decide on, the pup will seriously thank you. Porthcurnick Beach, Hawkers Cove, Long Rock, Holywell Bay, and Port Gaverne are just a few of the options in front of you, so when you’re packing the lead, the food bowl and the doggy treats, don’t forget your flip flops.
A UK holiday is always something to get excited about, so a UK holiday with your dog is just unbeatable. Whether you’re travelling with a Chihuahua who lives in your handbag or a Mastiff that actually walks you, these destinations will have you covered. As long as you don’t forget to pack their favourite ball, your pup will have the break of a lifetime in these locations, and (crucially) so will you. You are already doing UK travel very, very right by travelling with your dog in the United Kingdom, so put the icing on the cake and visit one of these paw-some places (sorry). With endless walks and attractions to enjoy, there will always be something for everyone, from the boss of the house… to their human.
Author: Matt Blogg: Matt graduated from University with a degree in English Literature and continues to enjoy writing in his free time. An avid sports fan, he frequently writes articles about football, and also has experience as a sports journalist. Additionally, as a proud pet owner, he loves nothing more than spending time with his furry friends and hopes to write animal-related content more regularly in the future.
If you have a fur baby, the chances are that you love the idea of bringing it with you wherever you go. However, if that fur baby is a cat, then traveling should not be taken lightly. Most cats are notoriously poor travelers and do not like being forced out of their comfort zone. It is inevitable that reasons for travel will occur, and who can leave their best friend behind? Know that there are things you can do ahead of time to help your cat be a better traveler, whether internationally or across town.
There are a few things that you should start thinking about well in advance of your trip if you want to take your feline friend with you. Here’s a look at some of the essential things you need to consider.
Consider whether you really need to travel with a cat
The first thing to consider is that cats aren’t like dogs. An important thing that people often overlook when trying to help their cat be a better traveler is that cats are extremely territorial animals, which means that they don’t enjoy going to new places.
Cats feel mosts comfortable when they are in familiar surroundings, seeing familiar sights and smelling familiar smells. Travel is highly likely to cause your cat panic and distress, so it’s important that you only travel with them if really necessary. If you are going away for a short period of time, a better option would be to arrange for a friend or family member to check on them while you are away or even pay a pet sitter to come and stay in your house with them. This task is a lot easier when looking after a cat than a dog, due to how independent your pet likely is. It will still need to be checked up on every day, with it’s litter boxed emptied regularly and it’s food and water topped up.
Consider your cat’s personality
Take a minute to evaluate your cat’s personality. Is your cat friendly and outgoing or very suspicious of strangers? Is it independent or does it follow you around the house much of the time? Has your cat been handled frequently, especially when young? If an indoor cat, does your cat long to go outside?
Generally, cats that are exposed to different environments during their lifetime can turn out to be good travelers. Also, cats that welcome visitors and new experiences may surprise you with their willingness to travel.
If you have a cat that is very independent, prefers its own company rather than the company of others and shows signs of territorial dominance, you will need to spend more time to help your cat be a better traveler.
How healthy is your cat?
Another thing to consider when planning travel is whether or not your cat is in good physical shape. If they aren’t, then traveling could put them at risk.
If your cat has a chronic health condition, they are overweight, or they are advanced in years, then traveling is likely to be difficult for them.
How do you know whether your pet is overweight enough to constitute a health risk? Some breeds are naturally heavier than others. Diamond Pet has provided a detailed source about if an overweight cat is an unhealthy cat which will give you a better idea on this.
Closely related to the health of your cat, you also need to visit your veterinarian to ensure that your cat is fit to travel, up to date on any vaccinations, treatments and health certificates that it needs for travel, primarily if you’re traveling internationally, as many countries won’t let live animals enter unless their pet import requirements are met. It’s a good idea to get your cat vaccinated for rabies, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia (enteritis), feline rhinotracheitis before an international trip for it’s own safety, as there can be harmful diseases in other countries that it might not be protected against.
Keeping your cat comfortable while traveling
If you are going to be traveling with your cat, then it’s important to do all that you can to keep them comfortable. As cats gain a lot of their knowledge about what’s going on around them by smell, a good way to do this is by surrounding them with familiar smells while they are traveling.
So, if they have a favorite blanket or toy, be sure to put these in with them, and if you’re going to be using a travel pet crate or carrier, then have it in the house for a few weeks or more before you travel. Encourage your cat to sleep in it if you can. This will help the cat build up an association to the carrier and feel more safe and comfortable going inside it. It might also be worth using a different carrier when taking the cat to the vet, so that it doesn’t build up any negative connotations with the case you intend to travel with. If you’re traveling over a long distance, be sure to let your cat out of it’s carrier every now and again to stretch its legs to help with circulation but to also release some energy that it may have built up. Be sure to use a cat lead, so that you don’t lose it.
Flying with a cat
If you’re going to be flying with your cat, it’s important that you check your airline’s pet policies on pet travel as soon as possible so that you have time to plan everything you need to. Each different airline will have its own rules about whether they allow pet travel, and if they do, whether your pet will be allowed to be carried on as hand luggage or whether they will have to be put in the hold. If your cat has to be put on hold, consider how it might react to that. The hold of a plane can be loud a little chilly, creating a distressing environment, so if you haven’t booked a ticket yet, do try to find an airline that will allow your cat to travel in the cabin, as this will be more comfortable for them. There are also likely to be rules about the size of pet carrier that is permitted, but usually, most cat cases are fine due to their petite size.
They will generally require that pets be fully vaccinated and that you acquire a health certificate from your vet to confirm that they are in good health.
Every cat owner wants to help their cat be a better traveler when the time to relocate arrives. Time and patience are a must, especially if your cat is overly independent and territorial. Dothe best you can to prepare your cat ahead of time. Every minute you spend will pay off come travel day.
The regulation that provides protections for service or assistance animals on airplanes is the Airline Carrier Access Act ((ACAA), 49 U.S.C. § 41705). Administered by the United States Department of Transportation, this statute prohibits discrimination of airline service based on a mental or physical disability of a passenger. The ACAA was enacted in 1986 for US-based airlines and amended in 2000 to include foreign carriers.
Anyone who has flown on a US-based airline in the past 5 years will attest that the number of animals flying in the cabin has increased notably. So have airline charges for small, non-service dogs and cats flying in pet carriers in the cabin. Oftentimes, pet owners pay more than their own ticket to fly their pet. All airline pet policies require many larger pets to fly in the cargo hold due to their size.
When passengers realized that they could fly their pet for free by claiming their pet as an emotional support animal (ESA) with only a letter from a doctor or other medical professional, the popularity of emotional support animals on airplanes soared. It is unclear whether it was the financial benefit or the anxiety that comes with flying a pet in the cargo hold that fueled the increase. What is very clear is that it became a real problem for the airlines very fast.
The variety of animals that were brought onboard under the protection of the ACAA was astounding. Passengers found themselves flying beside mice, ferrets, rats, birds, hamsters, squirrels, monkeys, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, miniature horses and peacocks to name a few. What followed were multiple incidents of offensive behavior, aggression to passengers and crew, damage to the aircraft and ultimately an end to the public trust for legitimate service animals.
Because the ACAA did not clarify the definition of a service animal, the airlines were basically helpless to stop the surge of requests from owners of ESAs. Additionally, because emotional support animals generated no revenue for the airlines, all damages and liabilities incurred by ESAs had to be borne by other airline resources.
On February 5, 2020, the DOT issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making providing notice of the amendment and seeking comments from the public, the airlines and various agencies. As the situation worsened, in May, 2020, the DOT issued an Advance Notice of Rulemaking which allowed the airlines to specify what animals they would accept as emotional support animals. This may have helped the airlines control the influx of non-domesticated animals they were previously forced to accept, but there were more issued to address.
In order to help mitigate the issues, the DOT sought to align the definition of a service animal to that reflected in the American with Disabilities Act with this amendment. This act does not provide protections for emotional support animals in public spaces such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, or airports. It does, however, include miniature horses which the DOT has deferred to the airlines to decide whether or not they will accept them.
Why did the DOT propose the amendment?
Aside from the inconsistent definition of a service animal in the ACAA, the DOT proposed the amendment for the following reasons:
- The large number of complaints from passengers with legitimately trained service animals, other passengers and airline employees and crews.
- Disruptions caused by the forced acceptance of non-domesticated and and other wildlife in a close environment of the cabin.
- The high number of passengers flying with documentation from online mental health professionals who were willing to provide pet owners with emotional support animal and psychiatric service animal documentation for a fee allowing them to misrepresent their pet as a service animal.
- The high number of incidents of bad behavior from emotional support animals on airplanes that were not trained to behave in the confined and stressful cabin environment. As no kind of confinement was required, the behavior of ESAs could put other passengers, crew and the operation of the airline at risk.
- To clarify how the airline should regulate with respect to these issues.
- A Congressional mandate that called for minimum standards for service animals through the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
What does the amendment cover?
These are the deficiencies in the legislation that the amendment addresses:
- Defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed, that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a qualified person with a disability. Because dogs can be task-trained to perform many different tasks and functions, they would be most qualified to be a service animal.
- Requires the airline not to discriminate against any specific dog breeds.
- Requires the airline to treats psychiatric dogs the same as service dogs with regard to document provision, check in procedures and the like.
- Allows airlines to fly emotional support animals as regular pets, not service animals.
- Allows airlines to limit the number of service animals per passenger to two.
- Allows airlines to require the submission of a DOT form attesting to dog training and good behavior and health of the service dog.
- For flights more than 8 hours, allows the airlines to require that a DOT form is submitted addressing the service dog’s ability to relieve itself during the flight.
- Allows airlines to require these forms to be submitted at least 48 hours in advance, online when booking or at check in. The convenience of online booking and check in cannot be denied passengers flying with a service animal.
- Allows airlines to require that service dogs are harnessed, leashed or otherwise tethered.
- Addresses safe transport of larger service dogs.
- Allows airlines to hold passengers flying with service dogs liable for damage caused to the aircraft in certain circumstances.
Breaking down the comments
There were over 15,000 comments accepted from various agencies, associations and the public at large. About 10,000 comments were directed to the transport of emotional support animals, 3,000 in favor of the amendment and 6,000 against.
Predictably, airline associations and agencies that represent the disabled argued that untrained emotional support animals were substantially more likely to misbehave in a stressful environment causing a risk to operational safety. Because emotional support animals on airplanes are not required to be contained, they are more likely to encroach on other passengers and affect the operations of the crew.
Additionally, there was concern over the increased fraudulent documentation submitted to the airlines from owners misrepresenting their need for a service animal with a fee-based online evaluation involving minimal therapeutic interaction.
Other supporters of the amendment commented on the medical affects associated with more exposure to emotional support animals on airplanes such as allergies. This is not a new argument and has been mitigated on some airlines with enhanced air filtration; however, it merits consideration.
There were also comments from medical healthcare workers and professionals as well as individuals which did not support the amendment.
The primary concern was that changing the definition of an emotional support animal would discriminate against people with legitimate psychological issues such as PTSD, autism, debilitating depression, anxiety and other emotional and mental disabilities.
The financial impact of having to pay for pets who formerly could fly for free was also raised in the comments.
Disability rights organizations were split down the middle. Some argued that, due to the increased number of emotional support animals in the cabin was affecting public trust in legitimate service animals. Others argued that physical needs for service animals were taking precedence over mental disabilities.
Many organizations such as the Humane Society did suggest a separate classifications of service animals with stricter requirements such as behavior attestations and proof of in-office visits; however, they did not agree that containment should be required. These comments were not considered due to the confusion they would cause and the “continued opportunity for abuse and increased safety risk.”
Can my emotional support dog qualify as a psychiatric dog?
In order to qualify as a service dog, your dog must undertake a minimum of 120 hours of training over a period of 6 months according to the Association of Assistance Dog Partners . Thirty hours must be spent in public settings socializing the dog and enforcing acceptable behavior. Dogs must be sociable and trainable.
Training allows service dogs to perform specific tasks for their handlers such as guiding individuals with vision impairments, retrieving items for people with mobility issues, alerting to changes in glucose levels to name a few. The exposure involved in training will teach the dog how to behave in busy airports and crowded aircraft cabins thus reducing risks to other passengers in the terminal as well as passengers and crew in the cabin.
Psychiatric dogs are also defined as doing work or performing tasks for their handlers that involves training such as alerting for oncoming seizures or assisting those with mental or intellectual disabilities.
Advocates of the amendment argued that requiring an owner of an emotional support animal to qualify its dog as a psychiatric dog would be an incredible burden and, in the end, their benefit would not include a specific task but rather simply the comfort that their presence provides.
It is important to note that the DOT did recognize that the rule does not require service animal users to incur the cost of training by third party schools or organizations; service animal users are free to train their
own dogs to perform a task or function for them
What is the benefit of the amendment?
- Reduction of confusion as to the definition of a service animal by aligning with the ADA regulation.
- Overall reduction of incidents which previously were generally caused by untrained animals flying in the cabin
- Less liability to the airlines for damage to the aircraft caused by any animal, whether service or emotional support.
- Less potential allergic reactions from other passengers.
- Allows the airlines to fly other animals in the cabin pursuant to their pet policies should they desire to do so.
Commencing January 4, 2020, the airlines will have the right to classify all emotional support animals as pets, subject to their pet policies. Due to the container requirement, only small pets will be able to fly in the cabin in airline-compliant pet carriers. Larger pets will need to fly in the cargo hold as either checked baggage or air cargo.
We have not yet seen changes to airline policies related to emotional support animals; however, we expect the airlines to revise their policies very soon. Find airline policies for emotional support animals on airplanes.
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 14.
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 9
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23 A psychiatric service animal, like a service animal, is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a passenger with a psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. (e.g. seizure disorder or diabetes)
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23
Famously known as “man’s best friend,” let’s be honest—who wouldn’t love to travel better with their dog? It only seems natural that our four-legged companions travel alongside us in our journeys, whether small or large. However, travelling with a canine may seem quite intimidating and it really is a test of their obedience and skills. So, how can you make your trips smoother and more fun for everyone?
We have put together our top training tips for travelling with your dog, just for you!
These training tips cover everything from car trips, to hotel visits, to new and exciting locations.
Hopefully, these tips on how to travel better with a dog can put you at ease so you can further prepare your travel plans for you and your furry friend.
Introduction to training
When you’re deciding what commands to use, keep your words short and sweet–“come” rather than “come here,” for example. Say your dog’s name to get their attention, and then give the command. Keep your commands consistent so your dog doesn’t get confused.
Always use positive reinforcement in training—never punish your dog for getting things wrong. They won’t connect the punishment to their action and will only learn to fear you. Instead, reward your dog when they get things right, with a tasty treat or a belly rub.
As for how long will it take for your dog to learn necessary skills, it can vary. Some breeds (like border collies and dalmatians, for example) are known for being intelligent and fast learners, and they may pick up skills in a matter of minutes. Other dogs will take a little more time and patience.
Now that you have an idea of how to train, we’ll move in what to train in order to travel better with your dog!
Condition your dog to car trips
One of the best tips we can offer for how to travel better with a dog begins as early as puppyhood.
Conditioning your puppy to car trips from a young age is critical to ensure that your pup is calm, comfortable, and without stress during car trips, both short and long.
John from Allthingsdogs explains to us just how essential the socialization period is in the puppy. Early socialization includes the exposure to not only other dogs and humans, but also different environments (i.e. car trips and various locations).
By conditioning your puppy to car trips, you ease any predisposition to fear, anxiety or even motion sickness woes which they may have.
You can help ease any initial or on-going car trip woes with toys and familiar blankets. An excellent idea is to have specific “car toys” which are made special by only being kept or used during car time. This helps create a positive experience when it comes to travelling with your pup!
Take short trips and build up to longer trips. And importantly, take trips to happy places like your dog’s favorite trail or park. If their only experience with the car is to go to the vet or groomer, they won’t be a happy camper in the backseat!
Just like us humans, our puppy friends may experience serious injuries from car accidents. We therefore recommend the use of harnesses or doggy seat belts when travelling with your dog.
Training your pup to “buckle up” and be familiar with the use of a harness or other car safety device is essential so that your dog is not put into an unfamiliar restricted situation which may cause distress.
A great idea is to allow your pup to get a feel of the harness or other device at home in a relaxed setting. Let them wear the harness around the house and give them lots of cuddles and treats. Your dog will begin to associate the harness with other positive things and therefore they will not find the restriction so intimidating!
Crate train your dog
Crate training your dog is a great training tip for travel.
Training your pup to sleep in a crate encourages your dog to sleep in one area. This is a great option when staying away from home.
Additionally, crate training also enables your dog to have a “safe-zone”. Many dogs begin to recognize the crate area as their safe zone which is a plus when they are in an unfamiliar environment or around unfamiliar people.
Crates are also useful for the car trips. In fact, some dogs prefer to be in a crate while traveling than to be buckled in on the seat. This is also a more relaxed approach as your pup will have free reign of the crate during travel.
Crates are the most common and often the only method of transporting your pup in-flight. As many of our pets will take to the skies at some point in their lives, the crate is an important tool that will help them feel safe in the air.
Again, positive reinforcement is the best method for crate training. When your pup enters the crate say “bed” or “crate” and then pass on over a treat and some praise. Soon your pup will make their way to crate on command, or just for a snooze on their own!
Train your pup with bathroom cues
Dogs can only hold their bladder for so long, although adult dogs hold their bladder better than puppies. Nonetheless, bathroom cues and stops are an important part of travelling with pets.
To make it easier, we recommend training your pup to go to the bathroom on command through bathroom cues. For example, using the command “potty” and popping a treat into their mouth once they go.
Potty training your pup is a common training step during puppyhood. However, we do recommend taking the extra step and practicing your dog to go bathroom on command. This will save a lot of grief during long-distance travel!
Ace your dog’s on-leash skills
Leash training is an essential tool to have down pat when travelling with your pup.
Begin leash training slowly from a young age. First, let your pup run around the house with their lead on. Then, slowly begin to lead him or her around home or the backyard. If they pull, then stop. Begin walking again once they are calm.
When they are walking nicely next to you, praise and send down a treat so that they begin to associate good behaviour with yummy treats.
A well-behaved dog on a leash is a blessing while travelling. There are so many new sights, smells, people, and other animals your dog will get exposed to on a trip. It can be frustrating, and even dangerous if your dog tries to pull toward everything that interests them in an airport or rest stop. Leash training can help greatly with this.
Teach more good manners like “wait” and “quiet”
Teaching your dog to “wait” is a great training tip to help them travel better. If your dog is an unfamiliar environment and runs off, this can be a dangerous situation. Teaching the command “wait” is simple and just requires some positive training methods.
We recommend to begin teaching “wait” before your pup enters a door way, or exits the crate. Ask your pup to “wait”, and slowly open the door, if he/she begins to head out, then close the door. Repeat until your dog finally waits and then give them a treat and some love.
A barking dog can cause a lot of angry holiday-goers, and it is not the most pleasant noise to hear when on vacation or travelling.
Dogs may bark to alert us, grab our attention, and to communicate. However, they can also bark if they are fearful or bored.
We recommend training your dog to be “quiet.” When training, it’s important not to yell or get upset, but actually ignore the barking. Don’t give them any attention. When they stop barking (even for a second!) quickly reward them with a treat and praise.
Keep your dog as comfortable as possible by bringing familiar blankets and toys, and it’s a great idea to exercise them before a trip so that they are tired and sleep through the flight or drive.
Travelling with your furry friend requires proper training and preparation in order for it to be a successful and smooth ride.
Conditioning your dog to the car and to handling new and exciting environments in a controlled manner is essential. Ensuring your dog’s safety along the way to your destination is also critical.
Through the use of positive reinforcement methods, a wide array of training is required in order to prepare your dog for travel.
A dog who is well-socialized and conditioned travels the best. We trust that our top tips will help you travel better with your dog!
Have a paw-tastic and ulti-mutt journey!
John Woods is a graduate in animal welfare and behavior, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.
Generally, wild animals do not make good pets. Taking wild creatures from their natural habitat and placing them in a domesticated setting is bad news for conservation as well as for your peaceful family life. And, if you enjoy traveling with a domesticated wild animal that you are raising as a pet, regulations for importing them to a foreign country are far more complicated than importing a cat or dog.
There are exceptions to having a wild animal as a pet. You may have rescued an injured or abandoned wild animal and are unable to return it to the wild after its recovery, or perhaps you want to care for an exotic pet that isn’t domesticated in your home country.
Examples of the more commonly kept wild animals are birds, squirrels, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, foxes, and raccoons.
It is also it is important to point out that the offspring of a wild animal that has been crossbred with a domestic animal is still considered a wild animal according to the National Association of State and Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. In the case of wolves, Bengals and Savannah cats, your pet must be fifth generation removed from the wild animal to be classified as domesticated and travel under the same regulations as other domesticated animals.
Furthermore, wild animals, even though they have been bred in captivity, are still classified as wild animals and are subject to laws related to their species.
There are things you need to know before taking a wild animal into your home, especially if you intend to travel with a domesticated wild animal.
Is it legal to travel with a domesticated wild animal?
Most wild animals require a permit; however, these protection levels differ by State, nationally and worldwide. It’s best to check out your local laws before domesticating a wild animal.
As an example, ff you have a sugar glider and intend to travel to Alaska or California, know that they are illegal in those states. You will need a permit to keep them in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Massachusetts.
This may not be problematic day-to-day but if you need to travel nationally or internationally, taking a domesticated wild animal could mean you end up on the wrong side of the law – and your animal could be confiscated and destroyed.
It’s also worth adding that owners are legally responsible for their animal’s actions. There are Youtube clips of owners taking their cute raccoon on a leashed walk, but if it were to bite someone, the owner would be liable.
Wild animals can carry rabies
Rabies is carried by some warm-blooded mammals and is virtually 100% lethal to humans if not treated quickly. According to the World Organization of Animal Health, one person dies every 9 minutes from rabies and almost half of them are children.
Any warm-blooded mammal can theoretically contract rabies; however, the more common species are bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. Some wild animals rarely develop rabies such as hedgehogs and hares, but it has been known particularly in Russia. Animals such as squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice and rabbits are rarely known to contract rabies and never known to pass the disease to humans.
Rabies can be passed onto domestic pets as well as cattle which is the most common way humans are infected with rabies.
Wild animals can carry other zoonotic diseases
Wild animals can carry other zoonotic diseases aside from rabies. Any disease that ca be passed to humans is classified as zoonotic..
Salmonella is a zoonotic disease which is commonly found in reptiles. Another example is ringworm, the fungal skin disease, which affects a wide variety of wild animals, Ground squirrels, deer and another 200-odd species can carry bubonic plague.
There is also the risk that a wild animal could pass a disease to your other domestic pets. Distemper can be passed from wild animals to domesticated animals, and, more often than not, causes fatalities in unvaccinated cats and dogs.
Diseases from wild animals is a danger to everyone, especially those with suppressed immune systems and young and old people. If you’re taking a wild animal into your household, think very carefully about diseases that might come with them.
Veterinary treatment for domesticated wild animals
Most veterinarians commonly treat domesticated animals. Should your wild animal fall ill, your veterinarian might not have a good understanding of how to address its needs. Not to mention how you will find treatment for your pet in a foreign country where veterinarians may not be familiar with treating wild animals. A language barrier could make things more difficult.
Many medications, including vaccinations, are not cleared for use in wild animals. So, emergencies could turn into a very expensive and heart-breaking story.
Regulations for traveling with a domesticated wild animal
Regulations to import a wild animal to a foreign country are very different than those for a cat or dog. Government agencies responsible to oversee the import and export of wild animals must issue import permits for your pet. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are two examples of such agencies.
Furthermore, some wild animals are subject to protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and permits are required to relocate them.
Owners who are traveling with a domesticated wild animal should know that their pets can be classified as invasive and cannot be imported to a foreign country. The American Racoon is prohibited from entry to the European Union, for example.
Some countries will not permit the import of wild animals including Australia, New Zealand. Others limit many species of exotic animals such as Hawaii and Costa Rica.
Birds are especially difficult to transport due to outbreaks of Avian Influenza. Your wild bird will likely be quarantined in your origination country, your destination country, or both.
Additionally, if you leave your country with a domesticated wild animal, regulations to re-import your pet will be the same as those entering for the first time. (except for US-origin birds) For this reason, you will not only need to understand regulations to import your pet to a foreign country; but you must also need to know regulations to return home.
You must be prepared to provide evidence that you did not take your animal from the wild. Unless proof of purchase or bred-in-captivity documentation is available, your pet could be confiscated.
Flying with a domesticated wild animal
Very few airlines will fly small wild animals such as hedgehogs in the cabin or as checked baggage, even when domesticated. In almost every case, wild animals must fly as air cargo. The environment of a cargo hold can rattle any animal that has not been previously exposed to it.
Owners traveling with a domesticated wild animal must be sure that their pets are flying in IATA-compliant pet crates that are escape-proof and will keep their pet safe. Many domesticated wild animals may become upset with the introduction of confinement. This may cause them to act aggressively or destructively. Sharp claws or teeth can chew through plastic crates and metal mesh coverings. A custom crate made from heavy plywood would be best for transporting a larger domesticated wild animal.
In most cases, a transport agent must book the flight with the airlines. The agent can assist with regulations to import your pet to your destination country.
A domesticated wild animal will always be part wild
Bonds between animals and humans occur at a very young age. This makes hand-reared wild animals much easier to care for. Adult wild animals do not have this bond and are therefore more unpredictable.
Domestic animals have been selectively bred for our households for hundreds if not thousands of years. This makes them easily trained to fit in – except the occasional feral that just can’t stand it indoors. Most domesticated pets are basically diurnal where many wild animals are nocturnal.
A wild animal does not have this genealogical background. Tts instincts are right at the forefront – wild instincts such as lashing out in fear and anger, or aggression over food. These traits are not something you can tame. Stress and frustration can result in biting and other unattractive behaviours.
Where will you keep your pet?
Domesticated wild animals will need a suitable environment to live out its years.
Raccoons are clever and can quickly destroy your soft furnishings. A squirrel will climb and pee wherever it pleases. A fox will chew anything, spray urine scent marks, and bury food.
The greatest challenge will be to provide a suitable enclosure that caters to their wild instincts. Left unrestricted, domesticated wild animals can turn quickly your household upside down and create a lot of damage.
What is a suitable diet for your pet?
A wild animal probably isn’t going to happy with a convenient diet of tinned food or dry chow from the grocery store. Chances are it won’t provide them with the nutrients they need either.
Are you happy to buy specialty foods for the entirety of its lifetime? After all, foxes and raccoons can live for up to 15 years.
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What will happen if you are unable to care for your pet?
Consider what might happen if you become unwell or you have to travel without your pet. Who would look after the animal in your absence?
Kenneling won’t be an option unless your kennel accepts wild animals. A house-sitter might not be familiar with how to care for a wild animal.
Releasing your domesticated wild animal back into the environment is extremely unwise. It has become dependent on you for shelter and the provision of food. In some cases, it could be illegal.
Surrendering your pet to a local wild animal shelter would be the only responsible solution when you can no longer care for your pet.
Consult an expert
Think very carefully before domesticating a wild animal. If you find an animal in the wild that is injured, know that there are professionals trained to raise wild animals so they can be quickly released back into the wild.
As cute and cuddly as they are, caring for wild or exotic animals is a sizable responsibility. Traveling with a domesticated wild animal is, in most cases, extremely difficult.
In the majority of cases, leaving wild animals in their environment is the better result for everyone. If your animal cannot be released or it’s an imported exotic pet, then breed-specific experts can help educate you you on the legalities and the best husbandry.
Contributing to this article is Becky Simmonds of Breed Advisor is a wildlife rehabber. She rescues all sorts of hapless wildlife from netting, drains, and the roadside with the aim of releasing them back into the wild when they have recovered.
Do you want to take your pet with you on your next getaway? According to recent surveys, over 80% of pet owners are planning a trip with their pet, especially after this long period of confinement. But both pet travel and COVID can make things complicated, so how to make things safer and easier for you both when you’re ready to travel?
Many states have implemented restrictions to keep their citizens safer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cities or states require quarantine once you arrive (like Chicago), and most all states require masks when in public places. Of course, your pet doesn’t need a mask, but, if you intend to take your pet to public areas, you should be aware of mask requirements. Also, it is a good idea to keep your dog or cat away from other pets that you do not know as infections can be passed between animals.
To reduce stress and minimize the impact of unforeseen circumstances, make do some research and make preparations beforehand. To help get you started on your journey and make the most of it, here are tips for pet travel and COVID – how to make things safer and easier.
Get your paperwork in order
A few days before leaving, take your pet to the veterinarian for a checkup, rabies vaccination and health certificate. The health certificate should not be dated more than ten days before your departure. If you are traveling to another country, you may need additional documentation for pet import. Be sure you understand what paperwork will be required or authorities may quarantine your pet when you arrive at your destination. A transport agent can assist you with these requirements.
Veterinarians have also changed their procedures in many cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Should your pet require medical attention or a health certificate, you may need to wait outside while veterinarians attend to your pet. For this reason, you will need to be proactive in securing your pet’s medical records.
Do some research on quarantine
When considering pet travel and COVID-19, it’s also important to be well versed with the quarantine rules in the country you’re traveling to and to have a plan in place for this. For example, here are the current quarantine-free countries, subject to rules and conditions which you can read here:
- The Maldives
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- North America
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
If the country you’re visiting isn’t on the list, click here to read about their current rules around quarantining. You’ll need to ensure your pet has a place to stay and you have enough supplies.
If you are planning to travel in the United States know that some states require quarantine for visitors. You can find more information about US State quarantine here.
Identify your pet
Get your pet microchipped. Pets outside of their environment can get excited and get away from you if you are not careful. Over 80% of pets who are not microchipped and are separated from their owners are never reunited with them. Don’t forget to register it in the manufacturer’s database. A microchip with no information attached to it does not do anyone looking for you any good.
Take a current photo of yourself with your pet and keep it handy on your phone or printed out and kept with your travel papers. Should you become separated during the trip, it will help others identify you as the owner. If your pet is chipped, take that certificate with you as well.
Get the right-sized carrier
When traveling with your pet, whether by car, plane, or train, a pet carrier makes transporting them from place to place easier and can make them feel safer. Carriers, like pets, come in all shapes and sizes; some are hard, some are soft, some are designed to be carried on the back or shoulder, and some have wheels for hands-free convenience. Be sure it has adequate ventilation, waterproof bottom and secure fasteners. Soft carriers are ideal for tucking under a seat but don’t skimp on size.
Hard crates are much more suitable for pets making the trip flying in the cargo hold. You will want to measure your pet carefully for its crate as the airlines will not accept pets that are too large for their crate. Whether hard or soft, your pet must be able to comfortably stand, sit, turn around, and lie down inside the crate. If the airline deems your crate too small, ticket counter agents will refuse boarding.
Be sure to write your pet’s name on the outside of the crate or carrier along with your name, address, and cell phone number. Should the airlines route your pet to the wrong location, the airlines will be able to reroute it much quicker. It’s also a good idea to add a phone number of someone at the destination, just in case your pet makes it there before you do.
Acclimate your pet to its crate or carrier
Don’t wait until the day of the trip to see how Fido likes a crate or a carrier. Take it out for a spin or two. Give him or her a chance to feel comfortable in their new surroundings before adding the stress of an extended stay. Drive them to the neighborhood park, to the local shopping center, and then to the next town. By gradually increasing the amount of time they’re in the crate or carrier, they will become accustomed to it and ready for a more extended trip.
Pack a bag
Pack a bag with everything your pet needs. Familiar items such as their blanket, favorite toy, and regular food and treats can help soothe your pet during your travels. “To prevent food or water spills, use a small container with a little circle cut in the lid”, says Richard East, author of Van Cat Meow.
You will also need medications, leashes, a crate, pads, garbage bags, paper towels, and a spare blanket for any accidents. For cats, if you don’t want a kitty litter in the crate or there’s no space, take along a portable litter tray or a large container with a fitted lid so your cat relieves itself during rest stops.
Find a pet-friendly accommodation
Pet travel and COVID-19 doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s essential to find pet-friendly hotels that allow your pet to stay with you indoors. Of course, hotels are far more limited during this pandemic, so make sure to also call and confirm your stay if you usually just book online.
When you arrive, check for hazards such as insecure fences or chemicals on the premises. Be sure and protect the hotel furniture with a sheet or blanket and don’t leave your pet alone in the room.
You can also consider putting a tracker on your pet’s collar with the details of your accommodations so you know where they are, and someone can find you if your pet runs off.
See to their needs
Ensuring a mostly empty tummy will reduce gastric issues while traveling. Instead of loading up the dish right before the trip, try feeding a partial serving about four to six hours before you leave. According to Pet Food Sherpa, your pet will have more time to digest food when fed earlier. Less food will cause upset to your pet’s digestive system which is already under stress due to new surroundings and activities. Take your pet out for a romp, if possible. A bit of exercise will tire him or her and cause them to sleep more during the journey. Be sure they have an opportunity to empty their bowels and bladder before leaving and stop several times along the way.
Water, on the other hand, is important. Be sure your pet is hydrated before leaving. If traveling by car, keep a small amount of water in the dish at all times. If flying, empty the water dish before handing the pet over to the airlines. Leave the bowl inside so it can be filled by airline employees checking on the pets—especially important if there is a delay between legs of your flight.
Related: How to Travel with an Older Dog
Traveling by car
Restrain your pet while traveling to keep you both safe, as well as help you avoid getting fines or warnings. If you have a dog, a crate or a harness that connects to a seat belt, this is the best way to restrain them, says Dr. Chester. If you have a cat, put them in a crate or carrier with a lightweight sheet covering three sides, strapped in by a seat belt.
If your pet gets carsick, you can skip their morning meal or get anti-nausea medication from your vet to help them feel less travel sick, says Dr. Barnard-Nguyen. You should also take frequent breaks at rest stops away from the road during a long car trip. Your pet will always appreciate a breath of fresh air.
Related: How to Prevent Car Sickness in Pets
In some areas, rest stops have been closed due to the pandemic. It could be more difficult to find places for a quick potty break. Check with the state you are passing through or visiting to make sure you know where you can stop. Pulling off alongside the road is never safe. You could be hit by a passing motorist or your pet could dart into traffic.
Consider installing smart car tech to make driving easier and your road trips safer for everyone. These include personal assistant apps (voice commands for driving), parking apps (find, share and pay for parking), GPS units, reversing cameras, blind-spot warning systems, and advanced driver-assistance systems.
Traveling by plane
Taking your pet along for a trip that includes plane travel may not always be straightforward, but as with many things in life, it may be unavoidable. In such a case, here is some advice on how to keep pet travel safer and easier during COVID-19.
Arrive early for your departure, but not too soon. Allow some time for a walk to tire your pet out. Your pet will not be permitted to be outside of its crate or carrier once you are inside the airport. When flying with your pet, you must check-in at the counter. Approach the counter only once when you have all your documents ready, including your pet’s health certificate. Expect to wear a mask at a public airport, but pets are not subject to this requirement.
In the cabin or in the cargo hold?
With fewer people traveling due to stay-at-home orders issued by states and countries, the majority of commercial airlines are operating with fewer services for live animals, with many are suspending services altogether. American Airlines recently announced changes which include a “relaxed seating policy, reduced food and beverage service and suspension of checked pets.” Live animals cannot fly in United and Delta’s cargo hold either at the publishing of this post.
That being said, most airlines will fly you and your pet in the cabin during the COVID pandemic if your pet is small enough to conform to airline pet policies. You may find that the rules surrounding pets in the seating area of the plane are more relaxed. It’s worth calling up before making an online booking and having a chat with the airline about what is possible.
If you would like to take your pet into the passenger section, be sure the carrier can fit under the seat in front of you. You can contact your airline and ask them how much room their is on the aircraft that serves your route. Also, know that your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.
If you find an airline who will take your pet. Booking your ticket early may allow your pet to travel in the passenger section. Call the airline before booking to check for restrictions. Book your ticket with the same agent to ensure your desires are not lost by switching to another agent or booking online. Request a non-stop flight or choose a weekend when planes are not as full.
Should your pet be required to travel in the cargo hold, it can be a traumatic experience—especially for timid breeds. To maximize their comfort, fly during the spring or fall and choose early morning or late evening flights. Temperatures will be cooler at those times. Be sure to include a bed or blanket to minimize vibrations.
During the COVID pandemic, many airlines will fly larger or unaccompanied dogs as air cargo. With this class of service, you will check your pet in at your airline’s cargo facility. Plan on flying between larger airports.
Should you sedate your pet?
Speak to your vet before giving your dog or cat calming products like sedatives and pheromones to reduce their anxiety while in the car, says Anne Chester, chief vet at the RSPCA, Brisbane. Benadryl is commonly used for dog anxiety relief in these sorts of situations, but you should always check with your vet before giving your pet any medication.
Sedatives are for consumption whereas pheromones are embedded collars worn around the neck or dispensed with diffusers. You can also try out all natural pet calmers when car training your pet, and if they react well, you can use them for your trip.
As for air travel, the American Veterinary Medical Association says sedatives and tranquilizer can create respiratory and cardiovascular distress at high altitudes. They can also interfere with balance and equilibrium, making the pet unsteady when being moved and put them at risk of injury. Most airlines will not accept a sedated pet flying in the cargo hold.
Give them a break
Once you arrive at your destination, get outside, take off your mask and take your pet for a long walk. It will do you both good. Renting the car, checking in at the hotel, or taking a cab should be put off for the few minutes. It will take to give your companion a badly-needed and well-deserved respite. It will also allow them to calm as their anxiety level decreases.
Be aware that in some areas, due to COVID, dog parks have been closed to adhere to social distancing. Finding a place to let your pet exercise should not be left to chance. Ask airport employees in advance where the nearest run is so you can get to it quickly.
Summing it up
Keep in mind that areas may have established strict rules in deference to safety concerns relating to the spread of COVID-19. If you have questions about your destination country, you may want to contact their embassy.
No matter how you are traveling, or where you and your pet are traveling to, call ahead and make sure you can accommodate laws that have been established to keep everyone safer during the pandemic.
With the proper preparation, you can enjoy safe and worry-free pet travel and COVID-19 will not pose surprises for you.
Thousands of years ago, humans began traveling with their canine companions – and the yearning for side-by-side adventures has been with us ever since. We love to take our dogs with us everywhere we go, but these are unprecedented times. Is it safe to travel with your dog during the coronavirus crisis? The answer is yes as long as certain precautions are taken.
It’s important to follow official guidelines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer guidance for pet owners and travelers alike. They begin with reassurance that, at least for now, there is no evidence that animals play a major part in spreading the COVID-19 virus through the human population.
At the same time, CDC mentions that it appears humans can spread COVID-19 to pets. To date, such incidents are rare, with only a very few dogs testing positive, and slightly more, but still a small number of cats. That said, current guidance from the CDC encourages dog owners to treat their pets with the same caution they use to minimize the risk of exposure in human family members.
This means following social distancing recommendations and keeping at least six feet of space between your pet, other humans, and other dogs. Limiting contact is still the best way to protect your pet and yourself from potential exposure to COVID-19.
It’s often safe to travel with your dog.
Since you’re taking precautions for your own safety, you can put similar safeguards in place for your dog. Traveling during the coronavirus crisis means planning well in advance. It might mean knowing what to anticipate at the airport and during your flight, or plotting your route with a little added care if you’re traveling by car with your pet.
The CDC has issued a complete guide to travel with an eye toward keeping everyone safer, whether getting from one place to the other by air, land, or sea. Besides checking for updates at the national level, check for local restrictions in areas you’ll be traveling through.
Follow essential guidelines like washing your hands, not touching your face, using a cloth face covering in public and minimizing contact with others. These are some of the things you need to do to travel with a dog during the coronavirus crisis.
It’s OK to be friendly but keep your dog socially distant from others as well. Even though there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred between individuals after contact with pets; there are so many unknowns that allowing others to pet your dog simply isn’t worth the risk.
Vet checks are vital
As always, it’s important to ensure that your dog has all vaccinations required for your destination. You can find specific information on what your dog will need to travel to different destinations. Your vet can provide you with specific guidance, too.
Once your dog has had a checkup and received any necessary vaccinations, get copies of their health records to carry with you. Keep them in a spot that’s easy to access. Be sure to have electronic copies too just in case anything is lost.
Consider your destination and your own health status
As your dog’s caretaker, it’s important to look after your own health. Look for statistics concerning the spread of COVID-19 at your destination and decide if you feel that it’s safe to travel there. If not, you might be able to choose a different destination or postpone your trip until it’s safe to travel with your dog.
You might also consider a non-urban destination where there are fewer people and social distancing is easier. The countryside, fresh air and long walks will be your best friend’s preference too!
Anticipating challenges can help ease airport stress
Air travel can be challenging even during the best of times. During the coronavirus crisis, traveling, especially with your dog, may present new challenges.
Double-checking in advance to ensure that you can fly with your dog is only part of the big picture. Remember that added safety measures such as temperature checks are intended to serve as an extra layer of protection for everyone. Give yourself plenty of time to go through the process of making your way through the terminal and onto your flight, so you feel less stressed.
Know ahead of time whether your dog will be allowed to fly in the cabin or if they’ll be traveling in the cargo hold. Private jet travel is a hassle-free option if it is in your budget. It is one that’s almost certainly safer in terms of potential exposure to coronavirus, too.
Know quarantine rules
Countries around the world have used quarantine measures to prevent potentially infected travellers spreading coronavirus into their country. So, if you’re planning on traveling overseas, here’s what you need to know on quarantine rules:
- U.S. – Many states in America (e.g. Florida) require 14 days of quarantine for some out of state visitors. You can see a full list of state quarantine rules here.
- Turkey – Turkey, UAE and other countries will require 14 days of quarantine. Pet owners need to confirm that they can self quarantine at their destination address; otherwise they will need to make arrangements for their pet should they need to quarantine in a government facility
- Spain – Quarantine since May 15, not yet lifted but ministers aim to reopen borders in July
- Greece – Quarantine of arrivals since March 16, hoping to lift June 15 and at the latest July 1
- Taiwan – Quarantine since March 14, currently undergoing a trial to see if it can be lifted
- Germany – Quarantine of new arrivals since April 10, announcement it would be lifted for EU arrivals made on May 15
- Italy – Quarantine since March 28, to be lifted June 3
- France – Quarantine of some arrivals since May 3, restrictions to be “gradually” lifted from mid-June
Have a contingency plan
The coronavirus crisis is rapidly evolving and everything can change at the drop of a hat. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place, just in case.
Make plans for someone to care for your dog while you’re away, in case they aren’t able to travel with you at the last minute. Many pet boarding and kenneling businesses are still open, and private pet sitters are another option.
Prep for this possibility by putting your dog’s complete health records together. Add contact information for your vet and any other emergency contacts who might be able to help if plans change. Let everyone on your list know what you’re doing. Make sure that they’re OK with stepping up in case you and your dog need help in an emergency situation.
Have food, bedding and other essentials available in case your dog needs to stay with someone else as a last resort.
Remember to consult your vet and keep a close eye out for any changes that might affect your itinerary. With careful planning and insight, it can be fun – and safe – to travel with your dog during the coronavirus crisis.
Americans love to treat their pets as family, but we all know there are far too many pets out there who do not have a home. Homeless animals in the United States is a problem of massive proportions. Roughly 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year, and sadly 1.5 million of those animals will end up euthanized due to lack of homes and resources to care for them. If you are a pet lover, you’ve already adopted as many pets as you feel comfortable caring for, but you may wish you could still do more. For people like you, the best thing to do is to support your local animal shelter – the last beacon of hope for all homeless pets.
There are more than 3,500 animal shelters in the United States, and that number jumps to 14,000 when you include animal rescue groups. There are always more homeless pets than there are shelters to house them which is why they serve such an important role in our communities.
Let’s talk about what animal shelters do and how you can help to give them the support they need. Even if you don’t have money to donate, there are many ways to help serve shelter missions of finding a home for every pet. If you love animals and want to give back to the community, supporting an animal shelter is a fantastic way to do so.
How Animal Shelters Serve their Communities
Animal shelters offer a variety of critical services to the communities in which they are located. The most prominent role they play is taking in stray animals or pets from people who can’t keep them any longer and finding new forever homes for them. If you have ever adopted a pet, you know how good it feels going to a shelter and finding the perfect new family member.
Without this central community hub of intakes and adoptions, many pets would be abandoned by their owners, and people would be more likely to buy from pet shops or puppy mills, further exacerbating the homeless pet problem.
Animal shelters also play a critical role in reuniting lost pets and their families. Dogs and cats get out of their homes and wander into the neighborhood but don’t know how to find their way back, and animal shelters often find these animals and give them a place to stay until their owners come looking for them.
More Support for Animal Shelters Means More Lives Saved
Although animal shelters do their best to save animals and connect them with loving owners, every shelter has their limit as to the number of animals they can care for. While some animal shelters are “no kill”, the sad truth is that there are simply too many homeless animals to be adopted out. There are not enough resources for every animal to be given a temporary home for their entire lives which leads to euthanizing healthy pets that don’t get adopted.
Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals get euthanized – and we can do better than that.
Those who work at animal shelters often put in long hours and don’t get much pay for what they do, but they do it anyway because they love animals and believe in the cause. Their mission is to save as many animals as possible. Your support could make a difference in the lives of countless animals in your area.
How to Support Your Local Animal Shelter
Many people want to support their local shelter but don’t know where they should begin. Whether you’ve already adopted a pet or two or you’re looking for a new family member, there are ways for everyone to pitch in and help out. Here is a list of some great ways you can help serve your local animal shelter.
Adopt a Pet
Since most animal shelters are overcrowded, a lot of the animals will stay there for a while before finding an owner who loves them. While some animals will never find a home, you can change the life of one animal by adopting a pet from your local shelter.
Many shelters have a variety of breeds from which you can choose, and they will help you find an animal that matches your personality and lifestyle. Shelters are grateful for each person who adopts an animal from them. During the Coronavirus outbreak most local shelters are still adopting out animals; however, they require you to call and make an appointment to come see the pets.
Donate your time to an animal shelter if you would like to help and love spending time with animals. Shelters almost always need volunteers to feed and water the animals in their facilities, take the dogs on walks, and help socialize animals who never got much attention from their previous owners.
Socializing animals is a vital step in the adoption process because it gets animals used to being around people again, especially if they were treated poorly in the past. You can walk dogs or play with them in their cages so that they get to better relate to humans. After you socialize the animals in the shelter, you can help match them with caring families who will love them for years to come.
Seeing the impact you make with helping animals get adopted is a reward in itself!
Volunteering at local animal shelters is fulfilling and a great way to give back to your community. Not everyone has enough time or energy to volunteer at the animal shelter in their town, but you can still help by donating money.
Shelters have a constant need for funds to feed, house and care for the animals under their supervision. Shelters even use the money you donate to launch adoption campaigns to help animals find places to live with loving families.
The medical services that shelters provide to the animals in their care are often overlooked, but among the most important functions. Shelters have to pay for spay and neuter surgeries which cost hundreds of dollars each. There’s also a lot of preventative medicine they provide to their animals to prevent things like heartworm and tick borne diseases from harming the animals.
Shelters are always looking for pet beds, blankets, towels, newspaper, pet toys, bowls, leashes and any pet-related items you may have. If you have a pet crate or pet carrier from a previous trip that you no longer need, this will be put to good use at your local shelter. Some shelters even have an Amazon Wish List that they link to from their website or Facebook page. You can use this to take a see what they’re in need of and see if you have the supplies to donate.
If you wish to make a donation of pet food, contact your local shelter before you purchase it to see what types of food they need. Some shelters will also accept opened bags of pet food but others won’t due to safety concerns or lack of appropriate storage
If you are looking for even more ways to support your local animal shelter, raising awareness for them is more helpful than you may think. Everyone has a platform and an audience today with our social media profiles. Letting your circle of friends know about adoption drives or fundraising events can let you support your local animal shelter by getting pets get adopted and money donated second-hand.
If you see someone talking about buying a pet on a public forum you can also jump in and suggest a local animal shelter and share your story of why adopting a pet is better than shopping, especially over the Internet where pet scams are rampant.
Leave a Review
Shelters are often so focused on serving the animals in their care that they don’t have time to think about marketing or the online presence of their organization. By not proactively asking their visitors and supporters to leave a review for them online, they can often be bombarded with negative comments and reviews for very silly reasons. It’s not uncommon to see a 1-star review when someone was denied adoption because they didn’t bring the necessary paperwork with them, or the pet they wanted was already adopted when they arrived.
Get out there and leave the kind of review the shelters deserve on platforms like Facebook, Google Maps, and Yelp. If the ratings of your local shelter are too low, potential adopters might avoid the organizations and end up buying from a breeder or pet shop instead.
Spay or Neuter Your Pets
The world has more animals than people who can properly care for them, and this problem causes countless animals to be homeless each year. Animal shelters would love to hear that every animal has a home, even if it means their services aren’t needed anymore!
By spaying or neutering your pet, you potentially prevent hundreds or thousands of offspring years from now. Regardless of how old your pet is or where you got it from, spaying your pet directly serves the mission of animal shelters and will prevent more pets from being euthanized.
When in Doubt, Reach Out
Animal shelters have a difficult and challenging job. They constantly fight to better the lives of animals without a voice, knowing that the battle to end homeless pets is likely to continue indefinitely.
If you are unsure about how best to support your local animal shelter , give them a call or send them an email asking how you can best help them out. Their needs will change based on demand for adoptions and the supply of homeless pets in the area, so talking to someone at the organization is the perfect way to give them what they need while building a relationship that matters.
Kyle Holgate is a proud dog dad and animal blogger. He often writes about all things dogs and dog nutrition with a data-driven approach on his website Woof Whiskers. Kyle has a Golden/Aussie mix named Kartoffel and a Husky mix named Pidgy.
Dogs are the perfect companions for anyone at any age for many reasons. The company of a dog can help anyone cope with loneliness and also ease depression. Dogs can also provide people with a sense of purpose and structure. While you are feeding or caring for a pet, you are also doing something productive. And the love and devotion that they provide you is priceless, no matter how old they are. That said, if you like to travel, there are no reasons that you cannot bring your senior dog. Here are some tips for traveling with an older dog.
If you are a senior, a pet friendly senior living facility is one of the options that can help you stay connected with the present and a senior dog will be easier to handle. They are adopted far less than puppies, so consider adopting one if you do not have one already.
The Needs of Older Dogs
When is does a dog enter senior ranks? For small dogs, this can happen at the age of 7 and for larger dogs, they generally reach their peak at 6 years of age. This can vary according to breed, the amount of injuries a dog experiences and other breed or health predispositions that a dog may have.
Traveling with an older dog requires planning, care and attention. Most older dogs have passed the high intensity stage and are slower and more subdued which makes them great travelers. However, senior dogs can also be more anxious due to previous experiences, strong bonds or simply because it is typical of their breed. For these personality types, it is crucial that you acclimate your pet to travel. More information on acclimation to pet travel can be found here.
As dogs age, they can develop physical problems such as:
- Joint problems
- Loss of eyesight
- Loss of hearing
- Dementia (Canine Cognitive Disfunction)
- Gastrointestinal and/or kidney problems
- Heart problems
Many of these ailments require medication at regular intervals and other attention that owners must plan for when traveling. Obesity can cause breathing issues as well. Try to get your pet in the best shape possible before travel.
Do Research & Plan Ahead
Formulating a plan to address any disabilities that your pet may have with your veterinarian is the first step in traveling with an older dog.
If your dog is flying in the cargo hold, you will provide the airlines with instructions on the medical needs of your pet on a Shipping Declaration which is attached to your pet’s crate. The airlines will do what they can to attend to your pet while on the ground; however, once in the air, they will be unable to dispense any medication.
If you are driving, set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you of any medication or procedure that your pet will require while on the road. Remember that, unless your dog can hear well and is trained properly, never let them out of the car unless they are securely leashed.
Most importantly, find veterinary hospitals along your route and at your destination. Have contact information available so you can access it quickly in the case of an emergency.
If your dog is not a regular traveler, it is best to plan short trips before embarking on longer endeavors. Trips to the park, pet store, friend’s house nearby are happy experiences that your pet will remember next time you say, “its time to go!” Then make the trips a bit longer. Each time you give your pet an experience, it will draw on that experience the next time you travel.
Travelling with dogs may be a bit challenging because they are your responsibilities. This is why you have to be organized. Make lists to be sure you bring everything you need when traveling with an older dog. This is also one way for you to make sure that you have brought all the things that you need. Better to be prepared than spend time on the phone with your vet getting a prescription filled when you are out of town.
You should pack extra medical supplies and pee pads especially when you know that your pet needs it. Being organized means you can locate all the things that you need for your dog whenever you need them. Consider packing a separate bag or backpack just for your pet.
Pack Medications Separately
If you and your pet are taking medications , you should make sure that you pack your meds in a separate location. That way, you will not be confused when you look for the bottle that you need. It may seem like a very simple issue but when you are travelling, things may become a bit complicated. This is especially true if you are getting all your things from one suitcase.
Bring Familiar Things
Your pet may also feel anxious during the trip because of the unfamiliar surroundings. Should this occur, think of ways to make them feel comfortable even outside their comfort zone. One way to do this is to bring some familiar things that will let them feel like they are still in a place that is safe. If your dog sleeps with a blanket, bring it. You can also bring their favorite toy. And treats; don’f forget the treats. After all, every dog should be rewarded for good behavior.
Plan to spend extra time with them once you stop for the night or reach your destination. Walk them slowly around the surroundings and give them the opportunity to discover new smells and get grounded.
Make Necessary Arrangements for Pet Care
Pet care should be regular and, even if you are not in your hometown, you should not skip it. When traveling, you need to consider arranging this before your trip. By doing this, you do not have to be spending time driving around looking for a pet care center as opposed to enjoying your vacation.
Consider Pet Friendly Destinations
ad to say, there are hotels and businesses that do not allow pets. This is the major consideration that you must keep in mind if you are going to travel with your dog. You may be comfortable knowing that you will be able to get some perks for seniors, but don’t forget about your pet. Checking all the places you are planning to visit and asking about pet policies will save you from unnecessary expenses and unhappy experiences.
You should always request for a ground floor room whenever you go to a pet friendly hotel. This way, it would be more convenient for you and your senior pet to get outside quickly, and it would also limit exposure to other dogs.
Plan Laid Back Trips
When traveling with an older dog, it may not be a good idea to plan a trip where the focus will be strenuous activities like long hikes, bicycling or theme parks. Depending on your dog’s health, a pet friendly beach or small town where you can casually stroll down village lanes and enjoy coffee at street side cafes may be a better option. Remember that you can also enjoy your non-pet-friendly activity as long as you provide care for your pet while you are gone on your excursions.
Splurge on a Pet Friendly Jet Charter
If you plan to fly with your dog, it is important to know as a pet owner is how commercial airlines deal with live animals. For pets flying in the cargo hold, dogs and other animals are confined to a special area that is pressurized and temperature controlled. However, if you have a senior dog, you may want to consider some other options.
If your dog is small, you can fly with it in the cabin in an airline-compliant pet carrier. You can discuss sedation with your vet or opt for an all-natural pet calmer if you feel that your dog will be overly stressed when flying.
Because your pet may have disabilities or medical requirements, it may be a bit difficult for you and your pet to fly on a commercial airline, This is why a private charter is safer and more comfortable for you both. With a pet-friendly jet charter, you do not have to worry about your pet flying in the cargo hold. They can fly right next to you or on your lap for that matter. When flying in a private jet, you and your pet can enjoy the amenities and the special treatment that comes with it. And, with your pet by your side, you can monitor their well being.
Traveling with an older dog is fun and challenging at the same time. Being well prepared will go a long way in enjoying each day with your dog. Always consider that your pets should also be comfortable while you go on vacation with them. This will save you from unnecessary stress and worry while you are trying to relax somewhere away from home.
Contributing to this article is Holly Kramer, a pet lover who owns a dog and loves to write about everything related to pets. She is a frequent writer and contributor to top online pet publications and blogs including Dog Breeds 911 and Pet Friendly Senior Living.
This is an unprecedented time in world history. All over the world, people are mandated to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel to stop the spread of the corona virus. How can adopting of pet during a crisis ease the anxiety and boredom caused by confinement? Here are a few reasons.
Saving a soul
The Humane Society always encourages people to adopt or foster a pet, but especially in times of confinement due to a crisis. Many shelters across the country have placed record numbers of dogs and cats, and many applications are up by 50 percent or more. Why has fostering or adoption become so popular?
Having spare time
Most people not involved in “essential” work have plenty of time on their hands during lockdown. What better to fill the hours that a loving dog or cat that so appreciates not being housed in a cage but part of a family that has time to devote attention to it.
Wanting to help
We are involved in a situation which cannot be referred to as anything else than a crisis. Most people want to help where they can. Adopting a pet during a crisis can ease the burden on shelters that are currently being staffed by a skeleton crew, and is a great way that people can help.
A sense of normal
Fostering or adopting a pet during a crisis can help your family survive the boredom of a lock down, especially for children. Pets teach responsibility when it is a child’s job to feed and walk a pet. Schedules are established which bring structure and meaning to the day for everyone.
Pets can fill our extra time by demanding our attention, whether it be for fun, love or exercise. Shelter pets especially crave attention and we have time to give this to them during confinement.
Isolation and loneliness
Confinement brings particularly lonely times for people who live alone. Reaching out to friends and family is important. If you have a pet in your home, you will never be alone. The comfort and devotion that a pet offers is priceless in times of isolation.
The worry of getting sick and having financial issues associated with a crisis can produce great uneasiness and anxiety in many people.
Pets provide the comfort that produces measurable health results. It has been proven that being around pets can cause a chemical chain reaction in the brain that may help to lower stress hormones. It also increases the production of serotonin which is a hormone that makes us feel good.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic, looked at 1,800 people between the ages of 25 and 64 who had healthy hearts, and found that almost half of them owned a dog.
All dogs and some cats require exercise and people need that too. This is something you can share with benefits all around.
Love and devotion
Most importantly, the comfort and devotion that comes with a dog or cat can be very settling to an individual or a family, and is proven to ease anxiety, give meaning and produce positive attitude to a family with a pet.
A pet can bring everyone together to love, play and exercise. A pet can bring companionship and build unity within a family unit.
How to care for your pet during the crisis
Take time to get to know your pet
Understand that your home is a “known” environment for you, but a new environment for your pet. They may be scared or overwhelmed at first, especially if they are an older dog. Give them the opportunity to choose a master. This is usually the one who feeds them or doles out discipline. Most pets bond to everyone but tend to gravitate to one person above others.
Have a plan for your pet in case you get sick
You should have a plan for your pet in case you develop symptoms of the virus. Someone should be available to care for your pet should you need to seek medical attention, isolate or go to the hospital. That person should be familiar with your pet’s feeding, walking and medication schedules.
Identify your pet
If your pet is microchipped, then register your information in the chip manufacturer’s database or make sure the shelter has your contact information, if for any reason it is separated from you. If not chipped, then be sure that your cell phone number is on a tag on your dog’s collar.
Gather supplies for your pet
You should have at least 2 weeks of pet food on hand and bottled water if you do not drink your city or county water.
You should visit your local pet store for fun toys and treats. Toys can provide extra exercise for home bound pets and treats can be used in training. Be sure and pick up some waste bags as well. Everyone should do their part to keep our green spaces clean.
Consider an all-natural pet calmer. The attention that your pet receives from a new family can over stimulate them. When it is time to chill, it may be useful to have something that will encourage your pet to calm down.
Address any medical issues
If your pet has any medical issues or requires medication or supplements, be sure you understand what you need to do to maintain their health. You can speak to the shelter or the shelter’s veterinarian about this.
Have fun with your pet
Have fun with your pet. Teach them a new trick. Everyone can be a part of this effort and it is certainly fulfilling to see your pet learn from you.
Wash and groom your pet. This can also be a family function that is fun for all. A clean pet is a happier pet. If fleas or ticks are a problem in your neighborhood, speak to the veterinarian about treatment.
Consider a long-term relationship
Consider a long-term relationship if you are fostering. The bond between a pet and its family is strong and can occur quickly. What a disappointment will it be for your pet to return it to the shelter once the crisis has passed. If you cannot accommodate a pet under normal, post-crisis environment, try to find a loving family for it.
There is no denying that the comfort and devotion that a pet will offer an individual or family will make any period of isolation more tolerable. Consider fostering or adopting a pet during a crisis and make everyone’s life better.