"Not a Snack"  by Victor Bezrukov via Flickr Creative CommonsHealth Checks

It is always a good idea to check the health of your pet before any long trip to make sure it is fit to travel. Health certificates or other documentation may be required anyway. You may wish to consult with your veterinarian concerning mild sedation of your pet during the trip.

Entry Requirements

Nearly every state and country has laws on the entry of animals and you will need to contact local authorities about what is involved in transporting the animals. Health certificates might need to accompany them, they may need up-to-date inoculations, be quarantined. In some places animals are only allowed entry for limited times or at certain periods and during equine or avian influenza animals may be completely banned from even transportation through the region. Local communities also have pet control and licensing ordinances. In some cases, the number of dogs and cats per residence is limited. Or large animals over a certain size may be prohibited, for example ponies and horses. You will need to check with local councils for this information or national parks. The pet should always have a special identification tag in addition to its regular one with contact details of your permanent address and where you can be located during the vacation period.


You need to ensure your cat, dog, reptile or other creature will be kept safe from harm and injury. Pet carriers must be large enough for the animal to comfortably lie down, turn around and stand in its natural position. The carrier should be secure so the animal cannot escape or get injured, provide ventilation and be appropriate to the species of animal. Snakes and other reptiles should have a different type of carrier than a cat or dog. Speak to a veterinarian or pet shop if you are unsure. Carry a current photograph of your pet so if it is lost, a photograph will make it easier for others to help you find it.


When you arrive at the hotel / lodging always announce your pet and inquire about the areas it can walk and places it is not permitted. Cover any furniture and beds your pet will be allowed on. Place their food and water bowls on a mat or feed them outside. Put litter boxes in the bathroom and avoid leaving them alone in the room - it might not be allowed and pets can be easily scared and try to escape or even attack people entering the room.

Keep your pet leashed at all times when leaving the room. You should not take them into dining area, bar, lounge or pool area and keep them away from lawns, flowerbeds and other public areas. If your pet makes a mess clean up after it. Wipe off muddy or dirty paws before you go inside and report any damage they may cause and volunteer to pay any costs. This will keep the establishments friendly and open to future pet guests.

Air Travel

If you ship your pet by air, make sure you have all the reservations and arrangements in hand. There are usually a series of steps to follow from pre medical checks and documents through to the checkin procedure. Some animals can be kept under a seat in the cabin or must travel by airfreight – for example birds, hamsters, gerbils and tropical fish. Airline freight departments, pet stores or department stores can supply shipping containers. Get to the terminal well in advance and make sure there are proper identification tags on the kennel for it to be picked up. If you aren’t picking up the pet give specific details to the person that is. Try to use direct flights for the least stress on the animal and ask to watch it being loaded and unloaded. Inform the captain and crew that an animal is with you so they can take any special precautions. When you arrive open the carrier as soon as possible and examine your pet. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.

Moving home

Always maintain normal routine for the pet to make its move less stressful. Place it in a safe, quiet place on moving day so that it can’t escape or is hassled until it is transported. And make sure you have a new ID made out for it with the updated details of your address. Make the new location as familiar as possible with the pet’s belongings.

Boat Travel

It is important for the pet to be introduced to the boat and the water. Let it explore while the boat is docked and turn the engine on to get it used to the sound and smell. You should go on small cruises first before building up to longer ones. Your pet may also need a special ramp to get it on and off the boat. For safety consider a personal floatation device for the pet as not all of them can swim, including some dogs, and even if they can they may get into a panic if tossed overboard. They may need an adjustment period with the floatation device on. Practice at home for short periods and then get them to walk with it on and finally swim with it on. Keep the animals in the shade and with water and a toilet area.

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