Planning a pet-friendly holiday
Traveling with pets is becoming easier every day as the tourism industry evolves to meet the needs of holidaymakers and their furry friends. However, keeping your pet relaxed while travelling does require some preparation. Once you’ve decided to take your dog or cat on holiday, consider the following tips before setting off.
Visit the vet
Is your pet healthy enough to travel? Do they have current vaccinations and worming, flea and tick treatments? Will they need any medication while on holiday?
Ask your vet to recommend a good-fitting travel carrier. Use food treats and familiar toys to help your pet become comfortable in the carrier before setting off.
If you intend to fly to your destination, check to see that your furry friend is at least eight weeks’ old and that your airline will accept your pet, as some cat and dog breeds are not allowed.
Book your pet’s flights before your own, as there are fewer places available on each flight and some carriers can only hold pets on certain flight models.
Are you travelling overseas? If so, visit an AQIS-certified vet (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) at least 30 days before travelling to take care of vaccinations and comply with government regulations and customs protocol.
Check to see if your country of destination requires your pet to be micro-chipped and arrange with your vet to have this completed ahead of time, if required.
If you are travelling outside Australia your pet will need to complete ‘post-entry quarantine’ in a dedicated facility (in either Sydney or Melbourne), for a considerable period, when you touch down. Pets travelling from New Zealand are exempt. Remember that space in these facilities are limited so check availability before you plan your trip.
Check to see if there are any laws concerning animals in transit and plan your trip with regular rest stops and access to water if driving long distances interstate.
Look to see if there are dog-friendly parks or cat cafes along the way if you know your pet will crave four-legged company during a long trip.
What to pack
Create a pack list that includes: collar and ID tags, food and treats, bowls, bedding, harnesses and leads, toys, absorbent mats, grooming brushes, pet first-aid kit, emergency numbers for poison control and nearest vet, and a photo of your pet.
Keep your pet hydrated and well fed before the trip. If they appear anxious, consider a natural remedy rather than a sedative. Sedatives can dehydrate animals and may be discouraged by airlines that will not carry sedated pets.
‘Pet-friendly’ accommodation is becoming a standard search engine tool on accommodation sites worldwide. According to Bookings.com there are more than 2000 pet-friendly hotels in Australia; while many caravan parks and bed and breakfast providers offer even more options for pet-friendly travellers.
There are even websites dedicated to specific kinds of pets, like BringFido, an online travel directory that offers dog-friendly accommodation in 150 countries.
Frequent flying pets
Yes, you read correctly. Virgin Australia has a frequent flyer program for domestic travelling pets. Your well-travelled canine or feline can now earn points when flying in Australia, a minimum of 300 points per pet carrier (with a maximum of two).
Take the time to consider pet insurance so that you and your furry friend can enjoy your time away. Read the fine print carefully and ask questions, to ensure you choose the right pet insurance so that you are both covered should flights be delayed or an emergency arise.