Traveling with our pets can be a rich and wonderful experience, especially when we get to our destination. But getting there with them is not always a “walk in the park,” and there are realities of traveling in airports with pets that can be very stressful. Don’t let that discourage you, however, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks! With a little knowledge, having your pet along can be stress-free —- for you and your fellow passengers.
A few tips for your travels with Fido:
Keep in mind that you—and your pet— will have to go through security screening. You may be asked to walk them thorough the metal detector with you, and they may be subject to visual and physical inspections as well. If the airport has only body scanners (a good possibility as metal detectors are being replaced at many airports), be prepared that you and your pet may be subject to a pat-down by security officers.
Your pet’s carrier will have to go through the x-ray machine, just like your personal bags. You may request a private room if your pet is high-spirited and a possible “flight-risk” once he or she is let out of it’s cage. It goes without saying, that high spirited is just that. If you have a pet that is truly high strung or unfriendly, it may be best not to travel together in the cabin at all. You may want to consider transporting them in pet cargo, or leaving them home altogether.
If your pet is very high energy or is anxious, the trip could be especially stressful for them. A “yapper” will only get worse in unknown surroundings, and can be annoying to your fellow passengers. Even the most well-behaved pet can get nervous and scared in unfamiliar surroundings with crowds of people. Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of giving your pet a tranquilizer that may calm them down and ease the stress of travel. Sometimes, a little bit of medication can go a long way to make the trip go smoothly. When I did this with my own furry son, Murray, the vet advised to observe him at home with his proscribed medication before we ventured out on our trip. It helped to observe his behavior, so there were no surprises once on-board.
Taper down on food and water consumption before travel. Your vet can give you good advice on the best way to approach this, based on your pet’s size and individual needs. Use the “pet relief areas,” now common in many airports, before you go inside the concourse. Even then, some pets will let a little pee out (for lack of a classier phrase) when they are anxious or nervous, so always be prepared for the clean up, even if your pet “would never do that!” The most predictable pet can be unpredictable in a strange environment, such as an airport or airplane.
If your pet is not a frequent flyer, you should get him or her used to the pet carrier before traveling. Practice putting him or her into the pet carrier, and increase the time they are inside, little by little. Stay in eye and ear-shot of your pet, so they feel more secure, and you can comfort them if they act unsettled. Most pets seem to acclimate to a pet carrier fairly quickly. Book now and pay later at Booking.com!
And remember, not all people love animals. Be considerate to your fellow travelers, and make sure to have a leash close at hand when you take your pet out of its carrier. You wouldn’t want your pet to get loose and disturb other passengers. Although you may know your pet is friendly, it may not be evident to others, and some people are truly fearful of animals.
Practice good travel pet-iquette with your pet well before you leave home. A well-mannered pet can be a delightful and rewarding travel experience for you and your fellow travelers. There is nothing better than having your “best friend” by your side when you arrive.