Anyone who has a dog or has spent time with dogs can testify to the soul crushing loss of staring into their big, gleaming eyes and bidding them goodbye, even if it is for a while. Unless of course, you’re willing to take the poor bugger with you. That doesn’t come easy though.
So in order to help you folks out, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts and definitely-don’t-forgets when you’re traveling with your pet.
- Packing the right things: Make sure you pack the right things. Make a checklist well in advance so you don’t have a goof up. Here are some things you shouldn’t forget: portable litter boxes, first aid kits, mild natural pet calmers, harness, oil cloth, tissues, seat covers (if you’re driving), chew toys, and any other special needs your pet may have.
- Checking with your airline: In India, only Air India, SpiceJet, Vistara Airlines and Jet Airways allow your pet on board. Keep in mind that the following restrictions apply to pet travel:
– Pets below 8 weeks to 12 weeks in some cases, aren’t allowed to fly.
– If your pet is an aggressive breed, they may not be allowed to fly.
– If your pet is a short muzzled breed, it may not be allowed to fly for health reasons.
– Apart from Air India, all other airlines only allow guide dogs in the cabin, which means that your pet may need to travel in cargo.
Most airlines will charge you a flat fee for a pet, but make sure you call them early in order to prevent any surprises on the final day.
- ‘Train’ing your pet: Yes, we just made a train pun. Sue us.
Traveling by train may be less expensive than flying your pet, but it does have its challenges. Indian Railways does not make the journey easier. You can keep your pet with you only if you’re traveling in First Class or AC First Class. You also have to book the entire 4 berth space if you intend to travel with your pet. Moreover, if anyone in the entire compartment has a problem with your pet, it has to travel in the cargo, or a special car that’s primarily used for horses.
- Is your pet ready to fly? The next step is to ensure that your pet is ready to fly. For that, the airlines mandate a thorough checkup and vaccination records, along with a certificate from your doctor that your pet is ready to fly. However, that’s just the paperwork. You have to consider the fact that your pet is a semi-sentient being that feels pain, anxiety, and fear. Make sure your pet is conditioned for the journey. Take it for drives to get it used to the motion sickness. Believe me, no one is going to thank you for bringing a pet that’s throwing up everywhere.
- Choosing the right cage for your pet: Make sure you pick a cage where your pet has a lot of room to lie down, stretch and scratch around. You want to put a special premium on it being escape proof, because imagine your kitten running around frightened in a baggage compartment.
Traveling with a pet can be tough. They tend to not share our enthusiasm to see the world. But with a fair bit of preparation, hope, effort and planning, you can make it!