Travelling With Your Pet     iStock_000019388641XSmall-(1).jpg

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How Can I Make the Travel Experience Better for My Pet?

Our pets share so much of our lives that many of us don’t want to consider travelling without them. Whether you are relocating to England, driving to Cairns, or taking the boat to Tasmania, making the trip with a pet can add richness to the experience. Proper planning can make the travel experience better and less stressful for you and for your pet.

What Food and Medications Should I Bring When Travelling With My Pet?

There are many factors you can’t control when you are on the road, but changing your pet’s food can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, or other problems that can be difficult to deal with while travelling. Try to take enough of your pet’s regular food for the duration of the trip, and try to maintain the feeding and toilet schedule they're used to at home. If your pet receives medication, ensure you have stocked enough for the trip and try to maintain your regular schedule. 

If you are travelling by car or caravan, taking your pet’s favourite bed, blanket, or toys can also help make the trip more relaxing and pleasant for them.  If you are flying, you will need an airline-approved carrier for your pet.

Taking your pet out of the city may mean they encounter health risks you're not used to looking out for.  Coastal areas north of Gippsland are home to the Paralysis Tick, prevention is key to avoiding its potentially lethal consequences, so ask our advice on tick preventatives before you set off.  Snake bites are also common in rural areas, do your research, know the symptoms and make sure you know the local vet's contact details.

How Should I Plan for Travel With My Pet?

Spontaneity and family emergencies aside, most of us wouldn’t take a trip without planning some things ahead of time. The same thing applies when travelling with your pet:

•Travel requirements:  Airlines and pet transport agencies may require a health or vaccination certificate for pets that will be flying. The certificate generally states that the pet is in good health and free from any infectious or contagious diseases. Don’t assume this document can be obtained on the way to the airport! Your dog may need a physical examination, or other procedures before we can provide a health certificate. Also, the certificate must be obtained within a certain window of time before you travel. Find out from your airline or pet travel agent what their requirements are and plan ahead.  There maybe age or breed limitations on which pets are permitted to fly, and restrictions depending on whether or not they are pregnant.  Make sure any pet carrier you intend to use for flying meets the standards approved by your airline.  iStock_000019694326XSmall-(1).jpgFor travel to Tasmania, ensure your dog has been recently treated for hydatid tapeworm, otherwise risk a fine!  We can administer the appropriate worming products and necessary certification before you go.

•International Travel: International destinations invariably have strict quarantine regulations, these obviously differ depending on where you are going.  Organisation is key to the successful and stress-free export of your pet, contact us well in advance of your intended departure as some destinations take many months to correctly prepare for!  Our AQIS accredited veterinary service means that we can fulfil all quarantine requirements before you go, we can also put you in touch with reputable pet transport agencies who will make sure your pet arrives at its destination safely.

•Medical care: Do you have a plan in case your pet gets sick while you are travelling? If possible, research the contact details for a veterinarian at your destination; we may even be able to make some recommendations. This is especially important if your pet has an existing medical problem or is on medication.  It's always a good idea to request a repeat prescription in case medications are lost or run out whilst on the road.

•Where to stay: Many hotels and rental properties allow pets. Locating proper accommodations ahead of time and being clear about fees (some places charge an extra fee for pets) can help minimise anxiety when you arrive.  Try this link for some great ideas.

•Identification: You might know how you got them there, but it would be wrong to assume your cat or dog knows the way home!  Is your pet microchipped?  If not, make sure you have us implant one before you take your pet travelling. Microchipping provides a safe, reliable means of lifetime identification anywhere in Australia.

Should I Medicate/Sedate My Pet for Travel?

Giving a tranquilliser to your pet before travelling has pros and cons.  Sedation can have side effects, including lowering body temperature (which could be an issue if your pet is flying in the cargo area of a plane), and causing hypotension (low blood pressure), your pet may not eat and drink normally if sedated therefore leading to dehydration and other problems.  Some sedative medications may even be counter-productive and exacerbate your pet's stress levels. 

Most airlines and pet transport agencies recommend dogs and cats travel without sedation and reserve the right to refuse travel otherwise. Some pets can be conditioned and trained to travel better if you have time to prepare them for a trip, so they don’t need sedation.

Remember that sedation does not address all travel health issues; if your pet has severe motion sickness there are training techniques or medication that can help.  Ultimately, if you suspect your pet's stress during travel overrides any benefits, there are many excellent local boarding and pet-sitting services that may be a better solution.

What Else Should I Know About Travelling With My Pet?

If you plan to travel with your pet, let us know ahead of time. We will be able to advise you about parasite protection and other health considerations that may be different at your destination. If you decide to leave your pet at home, we can recommend a good boarding facility or pet sitting service. Addressing any questions or concerns with us ahead of time can save worry and stress while you are away.