Why do we love our pets? It could be because their love and loyalty is so unconditional. Whether we have had a good day or bad, they are always there offering support. In return, they trust in us to provide for them. Pet identification is part of that protection and pet owners should know why they should microchip their pet.
Obviously, pets need to be fed, exercised and directed. They also need to be identified should they become separated from you. An open door, a hole under a fence, a simple distraction is all it can take for your pet to wander. As many as 80% of unidentifiable pets are never reunited with their owners should they get lost.
Additionally, if you are planning a move or international travel, your pet should be microchipped. Most of the world’s countries require this form of pet identification.
MIcrochipping your pet
A pet microchip is the most permanent form of pet identification available today. About the size of a grain of rice, it is inserted painlessly by your veterinarian between your pet’s shoulder blades. There are several different types of microchips on the market in the United States. The 15 digit ISO pet microchip is the world standard. Many countries require this type of pet microchip for entry. Even if you don’t plan to travel with your pet, animal control agencies in cities and towns all over the United States have microchip scanners that can read a microchip, and that is the first thing they will do when capturing a lost pet.
Register your pet’s microchip
After microchipping your pet, the next step is registration. All manufacturers have their own database with owner contact information associated with every microchip number. Some manufacturers charge pet owners for registering, but some don’t. Datamars is a manufacturer of the ISO pet microchip. Their database can be accessed at PetLink.net and provide pet owners with free registration and unlimited changes to their contact information.
Every time you take your pet to your veterinarian, have them scan your pet’s microchip to make sure it is functioning properly and has not migrated. These are uncommon occurances but they do happen.
Remember to keep your information up to date
Set a reminder to check your pet’s identification information whenever you relocate or travel. Entering your cell phone number is essential as this will likely not change when you move. If you are traveling overseas and your cell phone will not be functioning, contact the administrator of the database and ask that a note be put in your pet’s file with a temporary phone or email address.
The concept of pet identification is quite simple but often misunderstood. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to be sure that their pet can be identified if they get lost. You must stay current on microchip registration information. If you plan to more or switch phone numbers, update your pet’s registration information with your cell phone number.
Other useful tips
Keep rabies tags on your pet
Keep a collar ID tag on your pet with your current address and phone number
Keep the pet microchip manufacturer’s tag on your pet if they have one
Always keep a picture of your pet handy (better yet, one of you and your pet) in the case that identification is necessary.
Pet identification is a simple thing. Ask your veterinarian about implanting a microchip for your dog or cat. Most importantly, don’t forget to register!
Why is it important to microchip your pet? Simply put, microchipping your pet could mean the difference between finding your pet or not if it is lost or stolen. This is a small, painless step toward keeping your pet safe at home or on the road.
What you feed your dog is important. A healthy and well-balanced diet is an essential part of good health which is especially important if you are planning on traveling.
A change of environment and schedule can upset any dog. The goal is to keep the routine similar as much as possible prior to and during travel. If you change things too much, then your dog may become unsettled and perhaps even a bit nervous. As your dog is accustomed to the diet and the food that they receive every day, introducing sudden changes may cause effects more significant than you may expect. So, why shouldn’t you change your dog’s food while traveling?
Why do pet owners change their dog’s food?
Some typical symptoms that motivate pet owners to change their pet’s food are refusal to eat, nausea, unexplained itching, upgrading to a higher quality pet food or for convenience when traveling. Certainly, it is advisable to speak with your veterinarian before changing pet foods to confirm there are not underlying issues that could be causing these problems. Some pet owners just want to upgrade to a better quality of food for their pet or transition from wet to dry food for reasons of convenience.
There is a right time to change food, and there is a wrong time. The wrong time is before you are planning to travel or perhaps doing something else that necessitate changing your pet’s schedule. Why is that?
Your dog may already be confused with watching you pack and get organized for a trip, and, if you then proceed to change their diet too, you could end up with a distressed and distracted dog. Before making changes, you have to ask yourself “is this the right time to change my dog’s food?” Your answer will establish when to change foods and why. Taking time to change your dog’s diet and not doing it just prior to traveling will help avoid digestive issues and tummy upsets.
Another reason why you should not change your dog’s food when traveling is, if changed suddenly, you can trigger problems such as a twisted tummy or other digestive issues such as small intestinal malabsorption, colitis, or even acute gastroenteritis. When you change your dog’s diet, this can affect their health more than you realize, and this can have a domino effect on other areas of your dog’s body. It can affect their stools, cause vomiting and weight loss.
When you are integrating a new food into your dog’s diet, or you are changing food completely, you need to make sure that you do so slowly by mixing small amounts of the new food with their current food, increasing the ratio over time. It is a good idea to have access to a veterinarian, just in case of an emergency. These digestive issues can cause a great deal of stress for your dog and leave them in a lot of pain if the more serious issues occur.
Your dog needs to maintain the level of nutrition that it gets daily. If you start altering what food you are giving them (especially if you have not researched options beforehand), then you could end up giving it food that is nutritionally bad for them. Foodstuffs that may be lacking in quality nutrients will have an effect on your dog’s mood and behavior, and this is simply not something that you want to deal with while you are traveling. Getting the nutrition for your dog’s diet correctly blended and managed is an art that you need to perfect when you are at home and not when you are traveling somewhere new.
What Your Dog Needs
It is important that your dog still has access to all of they need when traveling. Changing up their food may mean they might not get what they need to support their good health.
Nutrients and Vitamins
When it comes to making sure that your dog gets the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that they need at all mealtimes, you need to first establish what they need. Things to consider are how much they weigh, what their nutritional requirements are based on their weight, the amount of exercise they get, and, of course, their age. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as calcium and phosphorus are essential for a balanced diet. If your dog does not get these important vitamins and calcium in its food, then it can affect their immune system.
As well as vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus, your dog also needs to get a certain amount of fat, proteins, and carbohydrates. Proteins help build muscle and assist in preventing excessive weight gain which can oftentimes be a result of feeding your pet too many carbohydrates.
The best rule of thumb is to calculate 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. So, if your dog should weigh 40 pounds, it should be eating 40 grams of protein daily. Ideal body weight is the recommended weight for your dog, not its actual weight. If your dog is overweight, then you should not use its actual weight in this calculation. You can ask your veterinarian what the ideal weight of your dog should be.
Access to fresh and clean water
If your dog does not have access to fresh and clean water when you are traveling and at mealtimes, then it can affect its digestive system, as well as its overall health and wellbeing. A dog’s body can consist of as much as 60% of water, and if fresh, clean water is missing from its diet, it may struggle from lethargy, and it may also suffer from other digestive issues in the near future, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
The additional stress resulting from traveling can result in excess panting leading to dehydration. This is the major cause of airline incidents, especially with snub-nosed breeds like Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Chows, Persian and exotic cats and the like. If your pet is flying, get the largest water bowl that will attach to the door without interfering with your pet’s movement.
Weigh your dog’s food
When you introduce any new food to your dog, it is essential that it is weighed properly. It is very easy to underfeed or overfeed your dog, especially when using new food. To avoid uncertainty, it is important that you weigh food before you give it to your dog. If you are not giving your dog enough of a new food, it may not be getting the nutrients and vitamins it needs when traveling. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and this cannot easily be done when you are traveling. For example, it is advised to integrate the food over a period of time and increasing the amount a little at each mealtime, as opposed to a straight swap.
Bring your dog’s food with you when you travel
If you are traveling by car, then bring enough of the food that your pet is accustomed to eating with you to last the duration of your trip.
If you are flying domestically, then pack an unopened bag or can of food in a box and check it at the airport. If you are flying internationally, then it is essential to research country regulations as to the import of food. For example, pets traveling to Mexico can only import enough food for their pet’s need for one day. Canada also requires that the food be of US origin, that your pet enters Canada with the food, and that the purpose of the food is solely to feed your pet.
Take your time
When you are thinking about making a switch to your dog’s diet, or you are even considering changing your dog’s food, you need to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. Time is crucial to preparing your dog’s food to ensure that it is high in nutrients and rich in protein, especially if you are switching to a dry food diet.
These are a few reasons why you should not change your dog’s food when traveling. Changes to diets need to happen over a period of a few days or weeks and not hours. This is not something that you should arrange when you are traveling. If changes are made too quickly, then your dog may struggle to digest the new food, and it may end up getting sick as a result. Slow integration when changing diet is always recommended.
Maggie Hammond is the proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. She is passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.
Christmas is a beautiful time of year filled with lights, decorations, parties and meals spent with friends and family. It is a time of distraction with lots to do and not as much time to relax and keep an eye on what everyone is up to. All of the trimmings of the season can also be dangerous to your pets. Here are some important tips on keeping your pets safe at Christmas.
The season is a time of wonderment for your dog or cat. There are new things to explore that they do not normally see in their day-to-day lives. Glittery things, things that light up and blink, new smells from holiday candles, Christmas trees and, of course, all of the goodies in the kitchen that go along with the holiday can appeal to their senses and encourage them to investigate. They need to know how these things fit in their world and, of course, whether they are good to eat!
Keeping your pets safe from Christmas decorations
Many of our typical holiday decorations can cause havoc on our dogs or cats’ digestive system. If ingested, and many of them can cause serious illness to your pet. Consider these tips when decorating for the holidays.
You should secure your Christmas tree with a stable stand. Avoid glass ornaments as they can be a hazard (and a mess) if they fall off the tree. Decorate the bottom of the tree carefully. Use decorations that cannot be eaten or will not entice your cat or dog to play with them. If you have a real tree, keep the water in the stand out of sight. That way, your furry friends will not be tempted to squeeze under the tree for a drink. Secure and hide all cords for lights on your tree.
Tinsel – can you imaging what this will do to a cat’s stomach and intestine if eaten? Eating or even licking tinsel can lead to a very unpleasant stomach.
Salt and Dough Ornaments – although ornaments made from salt dough don’t smell particularly appealing to us, your dog or cat may think differently. Salt toxicosis causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination and coordination issues. This can result from eating these ornaments, so hang them high on the tree.
Wrapping Paper – clean up bits and pieces of ribbon and wrapping paper that hit the deck when you wrap gifts. If it looks pretty, it must taste good, right? Keep wrapped packages hidden or out of reach until Christmas morning.
Snow globes – many imported snow globes contain antifreeze which can cause kidney failure and even death. If you have them, put them where they cannot wind up broken on the floor.
Lights and Batteries – those beautiful fairy lights you use for decorating can be harmful to a cat or dog. After all, to understand how something works, doesn’t it need to be chewed? Keep these out of reach of inquisitive minds.
Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Ivy – the leaves from poinsettias can cause your dog stomach upset and/or diarrhea if eaten in large quantity. Berries from mistletoe contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. When eaten, mistletoe can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Eating ivy, amaryllis or Christmas cactus will cause the same symptoms. Certainly, this will go a long way in ruining Christmas for everyone.
Candles – you should light these only when you are in the room. Your pet can knock a candle over and cause a fire hazard. Keep candles out of reach from larger dogs who tend to eat everything they come in contact with. Some Labs and Golden Retrievers are famous for this. Opt instead for LED candles.
Christmas foods that can be dangerous for your pets
Making cookies and other Christmas goodies is part of a traditional holiday for many pet owners. The smells that you create in the kitchen are simply irresistible to our furry friends. You can bet they will be waiting to taste your creations.
Here are some foods to watch out for keep your pet safe at Christmas.
Artificial Sweeteners – many bakers cutting back on sugar make recipes for Christmas cakes and cookies that use artificial sweeteners. These contain Xylitol which, even small amounts, can cause low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. There are many recipes on the Internet for cookies that are safe for dogs at Christmas.
Chocolate – contains theo bromide which can cause muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.
Grapes and Raisins – keep both of these far away from your dog and cat. Eating these can cause acute kidney failure and even death.
Garlic, Chives and Onions – all of these are no-nos. They come from the allium family and are poisonous to dogs and cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is also toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause red blood cells in your dog or cat to burst. That certainly gets our attention, right?
Macadamia Nuts – these little jewels are so good and many pet owners splurge on them for the holidays. No slipping one to your dog or cat. Eating macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs.
Blue Cheese – Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton all contain a mycotoxin called roque fortine that is naturally produced by various fungi. Why would we want to add mold to our pet’s diet? Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton are also high in fat, which is a danger to your pet.
Other tips for keeping your pets safe at Christmas
Set Rules – make the rules clear to your guests. There will be no feeding your pets anything except treats that you have made available for them. Bag up special treats for them before everyone arrives. Your guests will love to give your pet a special treat. It is great way to introduce them to your cat or dog. Some great yummies are a small piece of plain cheese, lowfat dog or cat treat or a carrot or biscuit that you have broken up. It is better than your guests slipping them what they think will make your pet happy.
Christmas Cheer – libations for your pets are out. Gather up any glasses left unattended, and watch out for those punch bowls. Alcohol can be deadly for a dog or cat.
Seasonal Grub – Salty, spicy and fatty foods should stay on your plate including turkey, stuffing, onions, casseroles and nuts. They are too rich for your dog or cat’s digestive system. Who wants to clean that up in front of your guests while dressed in holiday garb?
Watch the Trash – keep garbage cans closed securely. Scavengers can work fast and it is no fun to clean up garbage spilled all over your kitchen floor.
Safe Spaces – Make sure that your pet has a safe place to retreat to if things get overwhelming.Pets who are untrained, hyper, aggressive, territorial or just plain shy should be confined during holiday parties.
Get Moving – exercise your pet before the gathering arrives, if possible. A tired dog will be more likely to be less active during the merriment.
Some simple adjustments can go a long way when keeping your pets safe at Christmas. Who wants to rush their best friend to an emergency hospital during the holidays? Have a wonderful and fun season with your family and your pets.
Biking is becoming ever more popular, with people flocking to use bicycles for their preferred method of both exercise and relaxation. Union Cycliste International reported that 2020 was the biggest year for bicycling in the USA since 1973; and 2021 is poised to surpass that record. This is no surprise since cycling has a low impact on the environment, is a good way to get around quickly, and also opens up opportunities to experience the world around you. And why not enjoy biking with your dog? Indeed, there are few better ways to get around with your four-legged friend than on a bicycle.
As fun as it is to bike with your dog, choosing the right option that works for both you and your pet is important. For smaller dogs, a front or rear facing carrier or bike trailer are safe and simple ways to transport your under 20 pounder, especially if you live in a busy city. However, you will need to make sure that the carrier you choose can secure your dog with a restraint and is able to withstand the weight of your dog. You should also consider investing in a pair of Doogles or other types of sunglasses to protect their eyes from dust and dirt.
If you have a larger dog that enjoys exercise such as a Husky, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Spaniel, Weimaraner or a hyper cross breed (gotta love ‘em), biking with your dog is a great way to burn off that boundless energy. But there are things to consider before you hit the road.
Should my dog be leashed? Unless you are in an environment where your dog will not be distracted from your path, it is a good idea to leash your dog to the bike. There are many devices that allow for this safely. This bike leash is just one example.
How long can my dog keep a faster pace? Before biking with your dog, you should understand their limits as to exercise. Consider the need for training your dog to run next to a bicycle. First trips should be short and slow so your pup can understand the arrangement. Work your way to a pace that is comfortable for them. Watch them carefully for signs of fatigue, dehydration and distraction. Don’t encourage your pooch to sprint for too long even if they are enjoying the pace, especially if they are a snub-nosed breed. Don’t forget to offer them water after a good biking session.
Before you head out on vacation, it’s a good idea to consider what’s on your doorstep. Many bike trails are also dog-friendly, and that extends to local parks and areas of natural beauty. The US Department of Interior has a very handy roundup of such areas, listed state by state. In particular, they recommend the Ridge to Rivers System in Idaho and the various National Wildlife Refuges set across the USA’s urban conurbations. Just make sure you know the local rules. There are times when you’ll want to let your pet off the leash, and there are several parks where this won’t be allowed. Also, and again, you’ll need to ensure you cycle at a dog-safe pace.
Off the parks and onto the roads is where many cyclists will opt to choose before their next big trip. For owners of smaller to medium sized dogs, who can be placed in a carrier on the bike as opposed to needing to be taken on lead, this is a real option and one that can help you to experience a bit of city history. Many cities have good policies on dogs when it comes to museums, and there are plenty of art installations outside, too, where you can easily dismount and go for a walk around. Cycling with your dog is not prohibited, either, but it’s important to be extra careful on city streets and among traffic.
Longer dog-friendly bike trails
Past your own front door, biking gives you the freedom to go pretty much anywhere you like, often to awe-inspiring places and backdrops, and doing so with man’s best friend in tow only enhances the adventure. The United States, with its many varied climates and sights, offers a few key trails to try out. For urban dog owners, The American River Parkway, California offers a quick way to get out. According to arpf.org, the trail has a dozen access points and an abundance of trees and wildflowers, making it a great area for your dog to explore.
Furthermore, it features areas in which you can fish, swim, kayak, or run, as well as paint, relax, or watch a sunset. For sure, your rest stops will never be boring.
Other parks offering pet friendly bike trails are
Arcadia National Park in Arcadia, ME
Katy Trail, Clinton, MO
Banks-Vernonia Trail, Portland, OR
Flume Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV
Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV
Maah Daah Hey Trail, Waterford, ND
Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest, Asheville, NC
If you and your furry pal are after something more on the wild side you can bike the George S. Mickelson Trail, South Dakota, where ghosts of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane still roam according to Parks.gov. You can explore the prairies, pine and ponderosa forests, all of which will provide a wealth of sensory adventures for your pet. Afterwards, you can stop off for a picnic while your dog enjoys a refreshing doggy paddle in the cool lake.
Other examples of wilderness biking trails that allow pets are Cowboy Trail, Norfolk, NE and The Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Pennsylvania to Maryland.
An honest to goodness road trip
Why not combine all these adventures together into a long road trip? The Active Times highlights one such trip which is 8,000 miles cross the USA trail cycled, over months, by one owner and their pet. Road trips are famous for their ability to help draw the travel experience out into a really long and enjoyable stretch – an opportunity to learn about yourself and, with your pet there, your best friend too. With the open view towards cycling and pets seen in the urban areas, parks, trails and wilderness of the country, you’re sure to have a good time.
Don’t be surprised if cycling becomes one of your favorite pastimes. Of course, you want your best friend there alongside you wherever you may roam. Biking with your dog is a great way to do this. Make sure that they are safe along the way and enjoy the time you share outdoors wherever you are. You and your pooch have fun while riding hand in paw.
Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer and editor who spent over a decade in the tourism industry.
So, it’s time to travel with your pet. Whether your trip is planned or unexpected, why should you understand that temperatures matter? Simply put, extreme weather outside your door, at any place you stop along the way or at your destination, can put your pet at great risk when traveling, especially when flying.
How does a cat or dog regulate its body temperature in periods of high temperature? Our fur babies do not sweat through their skin as we do. Their coat helps protect them, keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They can perspire through their ear canals and the pads of their feet, but they regulate their body temperature primarily through their respiratory system (panting). Excessive panting promotes dehydration, and that is why having water available to them when traveling is important.
How about low temperatures? If dogs and cats are exposed to low temperatures for long periods of time, body temperatures can drop and hypothermia can develop. As time passes, their body’s ability to bring itself back to normal temperatures diminishes. Depression of the circulatory, central nervous, respiratory and the immune systems commonly develop. It all leads to difficulty breathing, which is never good for any of our four-legged friends.
Every animal is different in how they handle changes in temperature. The size, age, breed, type of coat and health all play a part in protecting your cat or dog from variations in body temperature. Snub-nosed breeds are particularly at risk due to their inability to breathe efficiently.
Obviously, dogs and cats that have thick undercoats like Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Persians, and Maine Coon Cats, for example, are better protected in periods of cold weather while Chihuahuas, Sphynx cats and other small, short-haired breeds are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Makes sense, right? Does it work the other way around? Not necessarily. It depends on your pet’s normal environment and what temperatures they are accustomed to.
If your dog or cat is traveling from a warm climate to a cold climate, it is important to offer protection to them until they can become accustomed to lower temperatures. One way to help is with a self warming pad. This nifty pad can be used in a crate, carrier, cage or a car and will hold your pet’s natural body heat to be reabsorbed back into its body helping to keep it warm. Don’t forget sweaters for short-haired dogs and cats in low temperatures.
Let’s first consider ground travel as it is a less stressful way to travel with a pet. Obviously, if you are traveling in a car, conditions will be stable for your dog or cat because you will have control over temperatures in your car; that is, as long as you are in it. If you leave your pets in your car unaccompanied, know that temperatures can rise or fall very quickly in summer and winter, even if you leave the window open a bit. Takes only a few minutes to become risky for them, especially in periods of higher temperatures.
Remember, too, that our friends need pit stops when traveling and protecting their pads is important in both summer when asphalt is hot and winter when sidewalks are icy and snow is on the ground. Dry their pads well, removing any snow or ice that is caught in their pads. (Cats will especially love this.)
If your dog or cat is flying in an airline cargo hold, temperatures matter.
When flying in the hold, the time when your dog or cat is most at risk is not after take off at 30,000 feet but on the ground during periods of holding, loading and taxiing. Most cargo areas are not heated or air conditioned efficiently and it can get mighty cold or hot waiting for hours before loading. (United Airlines offers climate-controlled holding areas.) Live animals are generally the last thing loaded, so they wait on the baggage carrier or the tarmac until it is their turn. Also, if the airport is busy and there is a wait to take off, tarmac temperatures can affect the cargo hold until the aircraft’s heating or cooling systems kick in. (like conditions in the cabin)
If you are flying your dog or cat in the cargo hold, your airline will not accept live animals when temperatures on the tarmac fall below 45°F (7°C) or higher than 85°F (29°C) anywhere on your route (origination, layover or destination). Some airlines may accept an acclimate certificate issued by your veterinarian if your pet lives in a cold climate and is a breed that is accustomed to lower temperatures. No such certificate is available for higher temperatures and rightly so. Like a hot car, periods of high temperatures are extremely risky, even to healthy pets.
OK, so what can we do, as responsible pet owners, to avoid extreme temperatures?
Travel in Spring or Fall
The best time for pets to travel is the Spring or Fall when temperatures are not extremely hot or cold, no matter how you choose to transport your pet. Temperatures matter when it comes to your pet’s safety and comfort.
Travel During Non-Holiday Periods
Book your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday when demands on the cargo hold are not as excessive. If driving, traffic will be lighter on these days. If you are traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, go several days early before the rush and return during the week after the holiday.
Drive or Fly Directly
Unless you are traveling in an RV, get to your destination as soon as you can so you can introduce your pet to a stable environment. If flying, opt for a direct flight. It may be more expensive than a layover, but far less stressful for your pet. Never change airline companies along the way if at all possible.
Get Your Pet Acclimated to Travel
Lots of short trips in the car will help your dog or cat get used to leaving its environment and travel will become a bit less stressful. Get your pet a good restraint, whether a pet carrier or a booster seat. If flying, get a good pet crate and get your pet used to it as early as possible.
Life Happens – What to do?
Because, we do not always get the opportunity to plan our travels. Life brings sudden changes and all of us want our pets with us when it is time to go. If temperatures are high, then consider driving to an airport where temperatures are cooler if possible. Talk to your airline about holding and loading procedures.
If your destination is too hot or cold when you need to travel, you may need to leave your pet with friends or family until such time that it is safe for them to travel. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but safety is first and to lose a pet is surely a tragedy. Better to fly your best friend alone or go get them later when temperatures are more tolerable. Remember that temperatures matter!
Many animal lovers who can’t bother with energetic dogs or unpredictable cats opt for fish as pets. They require very little in terms of maintenance; you don’t need to walk them, and they won’t run around your home, potentially destroying your favorite vase, TV, or that unique gift your grandma gave you when you were younger. That said, we all like or need to travel at some point of time and we want to bring our pets with us. So, how do you travel with your fish?
Although you may think that transporting fish is just as easy as other pets; but, it’s actually much more difficult than cradling a kitten or bringing a puppy in a pet carrier.
Given that even a single fish requires daily feeding and regular monitoring in terms of water temperature, quality and pollution, if you can’t provide for that level of care while you are gone, you’ll probably want to bring your pet fish along when you’re traveling and certainly when you’re moving. Here is what you need to know to do it properly and safely.
What to do before your travel with your fish
Keep the tank’s water as clean as possible prior to transporting your fish
Any drastic change in the ambient quality of water can have devastating effects on your pet fish. Some fish can live in tanks that are pristinely clear while others actually welcome a bacterium or two. While you will be able to adjust, clean, and re-water the tank while it is stationary, you won’t get that opportunity as often while you’re traveling.
Your pet fish will need to get accustomed to the change in water’s temperature and cleanliness, and the smaller this change is, the better its odds of survival will be.
The best way to ensure that your fish will be in a healthy environment while you’re on the move is to keep your fish tank as clean as possible before filling the plastic bag with its water.
Do not feed your fish for a few days before you travel
Most fish types can survive approximately seven days without any food, so you should also time its last meal before the trip.
All fish types have different digestive systems, but most of them can digest food within a day. After that, your pet will contaminate its water. This is usually not a problem at all as most aquariums feature filtering systems, and even those that do not can be re-watered in a matter of minutes.
However, the bigger problem in this situation is the fact that most people don’t transport their fish in aquariums; plastic bags are far more practical. Plastic bags, however, contain a smaller quantity of water, which means that the effects of pollution through feces are far more impactful and dangerous.
Bringing an actual aquarium can be a viable solution if it’s decently small. Medium-sized and larger containers are not only impractical, but they’ll create bigger waves with each hard turn, which will stress your fish significantly.
Don’t place anything in your fish’s container
Generally speaking, the only thing that needs to be in the fish’s container (whether it’s an aquarium or a plastic bag) is your pet fish. Their bodies are fragile, and any item regardless of its weight can and will move with every turn, which can harm your pet.
Also, any outside object may end up polluting the water or even change its temperature. Any kind of temperature fluctuation can make your fish sick.
What to do when driving with your fish
Timing is crucial
The first thing you’ll need to think about is how long you’ll be on the move. Most fish will be able to survive approximately 48 hours outside of their fish tank. Traveling beyond this time limit will invariably increase the many factors that impact your pet’s survivability.
Making stops and resting between locations on longer trips will certainly benefit the driver and the passengers, and it’s absolutely necessary for fish. Even though they demand much less than most other types of pets, the restrictions in terms of feeding and water changing can be stressful for them, not to mention the shaking with each bump in the road.
Bring extra water
Fill clean and new plastic bags with water from your fish’s tank before traveling with your fish. Should your fish contaminate their water, you should have ample spare clean water they are accustomed to available to them.
Watch closely for signs of unease
You’ll need to monitor your pet frequently and check for signs of distress, and make a stop if you notice anything strange in its behavior. Here are some things to look for.
Gasping near water’s surface
The most typical sign that your fish is not feeling well during the trip is gasping near the water’s surface. It could be that the water had become polluted, or the environment is unsuitable (the temperature is either too high or low), or the beneficial chemicals in the water have evaporated.
Given that fish can only absorb a small amount of oxygen through the air, they may die fairly quickly if you don’t react.
The second most common sign is poor appetite, but that’s not something you’ll be able to notice since you shouldn’t feed your pet during the trip. If a fish is fed while on the move, it will inevitably soil the water and therefore contaminate it. Even so, if your pet refuses to eat once you’ve stopped, you may want to call a vet just to be sure.
Odd swimming patterns
Every fish has a different kind of swimming pattern. Some may be more energetic, some may be lethargic, and it’s important to note before traveling with your fish what is the default swimming pattern for your pet specifically. Obvious deviations from this pattern are usually a sign of distress.
Finally, try to inspect your pet fish’s color to the best of your ability. Healthy fish are always of the same color while those who are struggling with any kind of stress or disease tend to be bleaker. The color of any fish is dictated by its endocrine system, which will secrete corticosterone whenever it’s enduring huge amounts of stress.
What to do when flying with a fish
If you are moving a long distance or overseas, you may need to fly your fish in order to reduce its travel time. Due to security regulations, commercial airlines will not allow fish to fly in the cabin with their owners. Airline pet policies dictate that fish must fly in the cargo hold in secure containers that will ensure their safety. All containers must be able to withstand handling and flight conditions.
Smaller fish such as goldfish or tropical fish can travel in leakproof plastic bags filled with a minimum of one quarter water and three quarters oxygen. Your fish should be able to swim freely in the bag.
After filling with oxygen, the bag should be twisted, looped and secured. To protect against temperature fluctuations, the bag can be wrapped in a polyethylene sheet or two.
The bag should be placed in a rigid outer container made from material that will protect your fish during handling and loading. The container can be made from strong fiberboard or wood according to the regulations of your airline. No nails, screws of any hardware that could puncture the bag are allowed. Larger species or aggressive fish (betas, etc.) will require dividers.
The container must clearly labelled with Live Animal Stickers. Before sealing the container, the attendant at the cargo facility will need to inspect your fish’s container. Contact your airline’s cargo department to make reservations, discuss check in procedures, and any questions you may have regarding your fish’s safe transport.
What to do when you reach your destination
Put your fish back into its aquarium/tank
When you reach your destination, you should put your fish back into its aquarium as soon as possible. If you didn’t bring the exact aquarium your pet is living in with you, do everything you can to recreate the living conditions it has to offer.
Use the cleanest water you can provide; if tap water is out of the question, bottled water without any additives might be your best solution. Once your fish is in the bigger container, you can feed it again.
Monitor your fish for several weeks for any signs of illness
Any infections or results of stress can surface days after you return your pet to its tank. A new source of water may also cause an imbalance that could affect sensitive fish. Additional attention is good for both you and your fish once placed in a new environment.
It is also a good idea to research a veterinarian in your destination in case complications arise once you arrive.
We hope that this rundown was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to travel with your fish. A few simple steps can result in a safer and happier trip for both of you.
A poet, a writer, and a full-time nurse. When she’s at home, she spends her time with her fishy and four-legged friends. She grew up in Alberta with her parents and then moved to Ontario to take care of her only aunt. Kimberly dreams of moving to Australia and wants to spend at least a few years there.
Whether you are young, middle aged or retired, adopting a dog is an exciting prospect. Your new furry friend essentially will become a member of the family and a loyal companion who can’t wait to greet you when you walk through the door. However, the sad truth is that many dogs are abandoned because their owners are simply unaware of the amount of time and care needed for their long-term health and happiness.
Before adopting a dog, you need to evaluate whether you can commit to giving the care and attention that your dog will need for its lifetime. If you have never owned a dog before, it can be difficult to know what is expected of you as an owner. In this guide, we have put together useful information for what you need to know when adopting a dog.
1. Ask questions
The more you know about your dog?s past, the better you can be prepared to care for it. Before bringing your new friend home, ask your shelter about whether your dog has any medical issues, how long it has been in the shelter and what they know about your dog’s history. How they have been caring for your pooch is also important (feeding and walking specifically) and whether your dog gets along with other dogs.
2. Define who does what
Dogs need to be fed, walked, bathed, brushed and loved. It is important to define who in your household will be responsible for what duties when it comes to your new family member. Assigning different duties is a good way to teach your children responsibility and structure. Rules must be in place in advance for walking and feeding and consistency is the key.
3. Get ready
When bringing a dog into your home, you need to make sure that their surroundings are safe with minimal hazards. Dogs love to explore their environment, so it would be advised to create a dedicated dog zone where they are free to play and sleep. If there are any areas in the home that are off-limits to your pooch, it would be wise to install baby gates as a precaution. Some of the most important aspects to take into consideration include:
Keeping electrical wires out of reach
Removing any cleaners or chemicals that may be stored within reach (inside and outside)
Storing away shoes, socks, and other chewable items
Picking up any small items that may be tempting to eat
Keep a lid on trash cans to prevent curious puppies from foraging for leftovers
4. Go shopping
Collars, leashes, bedding, food and water bowls, dog shampoo, treats, food, brushes, nail clippers, cleaners for accidents and of course, toys to play with are some of the basic items you will need for an adopted dog. You may want to go shopping with your new friend and let them pick out toys they lilke as well.
5. Find a good veterinarian
You might not be thinking of your dog getting ill as soon as you choose to adopt, but dependent on the age of your pooch, they may need to have essential injections for common illnesses. It is an excellent idea to take your adopted dog to the veterinarian to establish a baseline record for it and check for any health related issues.
Any dog owner needs to choose a vet that they have full trust in when it comes to diagnosing conditions; therefore, it would be wise to see how the vet interacts with your pooch and if they can answer your queries confidently. Your vet should be able to provide information on the widespread illnesses your dog is at risk of and the appropriate vaccinations that should be administered.
If your shelter has not already microchipped your dog, you should consider getting your dog a microchip. Either way, be sure and register your pet with the chip manufacturer and add your contact details. If they get lost, stolen or run away, the first thing that animal control officers will do is to scan for a microchip and contact you through the chip database. A microchip will also prove ownership and can’t get removed or lost like an ID tag can.
Take time for introductions. Your dog will need to process everyone in your home and decide where they fit in. Take time for as many strokes and hugs as your dog will allow, and don’t be upset if they don’t warm up immediately. Some relationships must be nurtured, and this takes time. Generally, a dog will bond to a trusted person first, then extend relationships with others when they feel comfortable.
7. Get to know eachother
Dogs learn a lot from experiences they have had and, in the case of an adopted dog, not all past experiences are happy. It is crucial that your family (or you) build up a cache of new and happy experiences from the very beginning. This is best done around your home so your dog will learn to bond with its new environment.
8. Stick around and set the rules
After bringing your adopted dog home, you will need to keep a close eye on your pup. Your home is a new place and they have no idea what the rules are. Be patient, firm and loving when teaching them what they can and cannot do. Reward them with treats when they display good behavior and be mild but consistent with discipline in the beginning.
Don’t plan an extended vacation, going back to work, or any type of excessive stimulation right away. This can add to the confusion that an adopted dog already feels when they come to a new home. Keeping activity low-keyed will help your pet relaxed and allow them to learn more about their new environment.
9. Commit to a high-quality diet
The number of different types of dog food on the market can be quite overwhelming as a newbie dog owner, and you may not know which one to choose for your pooch. There is a vast array of sizes, flavors, and textures that are suitable for various dog types, so if in any doubt, it would be advised to do some research on which type of food your breed should be eating or ask your vet for recommendations.
As an absolute minimum, the food should list real meat in list of ingredients, not meat-flavored or grain, as this indicates that the food contains protein which is essential for dogs. A poor diet can lead to a whole host of health issues, including sickness and diarrhea. Unless you are ready to dedicate your trips to the grocer and time spent in the kitchen fixing home cooked meals for your pet, you should aim to limit human food from their diet, as this can cause an imbalance in nutrients and vitamins which keeps your dog in good health.
While grooming may be considered a novelty for your pooch, it is, in fact, an essential aspect of maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing. During the summer months, in particular, fleas and ticks can be an issue, as well as perspiration which can cause skin irritation and further scratching. Professional grooming can be a huge monthly expense; however, there are DIY dog wash options in which you can bathe your dog yourself. Before bathing, ensure that all knots and matting are cut and brushed out.
Not only will your dog feel better, it is a perfect time to bond with eachother.
11. Consider insuring your pet
You cannot predict when your dog may become ill or injured, so it would be highly advised to take out pet insurance as a form of financial protection if the worst-case scenario were to occur. Vets bills can be extremely steep, but a monthly premium policy should help cover costs up to a specific limit. Always ensure you research the very best premiums available in accordance with your budget to see what coverage they will provide.
12. Get lots of exercise
Some dogs need more exercise than others; however, all dogs should be getting some form of exercise every day. A small dog may be suited to playing fetch or short walks, while a large dog such as a Rottweiler or Golden Retriever may need a minimum 30-minute walk per day. Plenty of exercise burns off exercise energy as well as keeps their muscles and joints supple. The amount of exercise each dog needs may help you decide which type of dog would be best suited to your lifestyle.
13. Make lots of friends
Socializing your dog is a major factor in helping them become more well-balanced and well-behaved as they grow older. From as young as weeks old, your adopted dog should be exposed to a range of sights, smells, sounds, and as many different people as possible to refrain from building up fears later in life. If you have rescued your dog, try not to overwhelm them with too much too soon, as this can have the opposite effect and lead them to develop irrational fears. Nervous dogs need a gradual introduction to new experiences, which should help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. Acknowledge good behavior, so they become accustomed to being rewarded if a certain action is repeated.
14. Treat your dog with respect
It can be frustrating when your dog isn’t obeying your commands, but you should never use physical force to encourage them to perform. For example, in the early puppy stages, it’s extremely normal for them to urinate around the house and chew on objects as they haven’t been taught otherwise. Likewise, adult dogs may misbehave as a result of human action; therefore, you should always acknowledge how your own behavior may have led to bad behavior.
Giving a shelter dog a new home is certainly a worthwhile and gratifying experience. That said, it is not always easy. An adopted dog cannot tell you about its past, so you need to understand if it takes time to adjust to its new life. If you?re considering adopting a dog in the near future, we hope this guide has provided some useful care basics about what you need to know when adopting a dog.
Maggie Hammond is a proud mama to two little people and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.
Do you like traveling? Do you have a cat? Traveling with your kitty makes those days away from home more adventurous and fun! Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or visit friends, don’t let your furry baby miss out on all the fun.
But there are lots of mistakes that you can make when traveling with your cat. Your fun adventure could end up frustrating if you forget to pack some of the necessities. We are here to help. Here’s a list of 13 things not to forget to pack before you leave.
1. Litter box
Of course, you’ll need a litter box. When she’s gotta go, she’s gotta go! You could opt to carry her litter box, but that could be bulky. Alternatively, try a portable litter box or a disposable one or two. They are lighter, easy to carry, and easy to clean. A portable litter box is also purrfect for long drives. Don’t forget to bring some of your kitty’s favorite litter along as well. Familiar items always make travel easier.
2. Other Toiletries
The litter box is only but one essential toiletry for your kitty. Here’s are other toiletries to include in the list:
Plastic grocery bags. They make excellent travel poopy bags. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle!
Big trash bags. Carry a few; you will need somewhere to put the disposable litter box.
A small hand broom and dustpan.
Although your kitty’s surroundings will change, your kitty’s food should not. Changing a diet can cause digestional upset which is unpleasant for both of you. Treats can help a kitty who hesitates to eat during travel, as many of them do. They also can be a reward for good behavior. Remember, you are going on a fun-filled adventure together. Rewards are inevitable.
Make sure you carry her favorite canned food and plastic can top. She won’t finish the whole can in one meal, and you’d want to keep the rest safely in the fridge for later. Feeding in portioins also means that you should remember to carry the following items:
We may want to say that kitty is purrfect. She doesn’t make a mess on the floor when eating or drinking. But we all know that’s far from true. Spare your host or the hotel staff the frustration. Carry a mat or foldable cardboard to place under the food and water bowls during feeding times.
6. Harness and Leash
Cats like to explore new environments. They are natural hunters and, unless restrained, they can stray and get lost. There is nothing that can ruin your adventure more than losing your precious pet. Don’t overlook the harness and retractable leash when packing, especially if your cat doesn’t like to be held. It could be the best item you included in the travel list when traveling with your cat. (see more on protecting your cat from loss below)
7. Safety During Travel
Are you planning to travel by plane? Check with the airline for airline compliant cat carriers. An airline cargo hold is a scary place for a cat. Some airlines are pet friendly allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Of course, your cat must be in a high-quality carrier. But it’s much better than flying in the cargo hold.
Remember to check with the airline on their pet policy before making plans.
A high-quality carrier can also come in handy for long road trips. But pet safety during auto travel is a lot more complicated. For your cat’s safety (and your safety as well) your cat should be restrained when traveling in a car. A sudden stop at slow speeds can send your kitty flying. Better to ride in a crate, carrier or harness.
Remember to pack a pet sling or backpack with ventilation for your pit stops. Never leave a pet alone in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can climb quickly and put your pet in harm’s way.
High-quality carriers also often double up as cat beds. If you can, carry something your cat is familiar with such as a cat cave, a comfy bed, or a pillow for her comfort while at the destination. Also, carry one of her blankets. It will have a familiar scent and help your cat get comfortable with their new surroundings.
9. Grooming Supplies
Cats get stressed when they travel and shed more when they are tense. Besides, all the travel and eating while on the go could cause her to look like a mess. Kitty may need a little help with grooming. So carry along a brush, cat shampoo, and a lint roller. If you want to learn more about grooming your cat as well as cat habits, diseases and taking better care of your cat, you could also consider taking a cat grooming course.
10. Your Cat’s Favorite Toys
Put one or two of your cat’s favorite toys on the packing list. They will help to keep the little kitty entertained while away from home. If you plan on a road trip, take time to stop and play with your cat. They need to get those muscles moving to counter the fatigue involved with limited movement.
11. Medication, Medical Records, and Veterinary Contacts
Does your kitty take medication? If yes, be sure to pack enough supplies and take a photo of the prescription and store it in the cloud or on your cellphone for easy reference. Make a list of veterinarians and veterinary hospitals in along your route or in your destination area. Note their addresses, operating hours, and telephone contacts. It will save you a ton of trouble and frustration if there’s an emergency and your kitty has to see a veterinarian.
12. Pack a Pet First Aid Kit when Traveling with a Cat
When we talk about emergencies, a first aid kit must be nearby. Be prepared to handle emergencies before you get to the vet. You could opt to buy one or fix one up from supplies you already have at home. Just make sure it has the following items:
Blunt end scissors
13. Identification and Paperwork
Lastly, don’t even think about leaving home without your cat’s identification and paperwork. Ensure that you fit the cat with a collar with an ID tag and a vaccine tag. Better than an ID tag, get your cat a microchip. A microchip is a great way to uniquely identify your cat and can help to reunite you if it gets lost. When you register your information in the manufacturer’s database, animal control agencies will be able to contact you if your kitty is lost. Before you leave, check the details registered with the chip company, and ensure they include a cell phone number you’ll have access to on the journey!
If you are crossing state lines, carry a copy of your cat’s health certificate and rabies certificates.
Traveling with a cat can be fun. Ensure that you include the above items in your packing list. That way, both you and the kitty will enjoy the time away from home. In case you have to leave her home on short notice, learn what to do to make her feel comfortable.
Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training, and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friends.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.