Household pets provide a sense of unwavering companionship – it’s what makes their presence so enjoyable.
Dogs are known as man’s best friend due to their unconditional loyalty, and cats – while sometimes distant – will always make their way back to their owner, even if they roam around for a considerable amount of time. The relationships people form with their pets are built on the foundation of love and compassion, so it makes sense that owners don’t want to leave their animals behind when they travel.
Modern-day transportation now accommodates those who wish to stow away their companions for trips and vacations, but that’s not to say these companies have come up with a flawless solution to pet transport. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, 29 pets died on domestic commercial flights, 26 were injured and one was lost altogether. While it seems like a high number, the U.S. Department of Transportation says that 2 million animals travel on commercial airlines each year.
The chances of fatality and injury are slim, but pet owners should consider the following three tips prior to packing their bags:
1. Don’t let pets roam in the car: As much as pet owners love animals, they shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely in the car. Each family knows their pet the best, so this advice can be taken with a grain of salt, but generally speaking, larger animals like dogs shouldn’t really be jumping from the front seat to the back seat or moving around a lot. If a family has a larger vehicle with an open air trunk like an SUV, they can place a crate in the back or make a bed for the animal to sleep on if they’re concerned about the pet’s well-being. While dogs are more open to traveling in cars, cats and other small animals should be placed in an enclosed carrier for their own safety. As far as commercial flights go, most airlines provide specific guidelines as to what owners need to do prior to shipping their animals, the Airlines for America says.
2. Plan to stop a number of stops: Obviously pet owners can’t alter a flight’s itinerary to ensure that their animal has an opportunity to stretch its legs, but when traveling by car, families should schedule a few extra stops in their trip, the Human Society suggests. All animals need time to use the bathroom and stretch their legs, so pulling off at a rest stop and allowing them to do so won’t add too much time to a trip if they’re planned accordingly.
3. Don’t leave them alone for too long: Long flights aren’t highly recommended for pets. The only time the Humane Society advocates that animals travel via air is when it’s the only option available. In terms of car travel, owners must be weary of temperatures when leaving their pets alone in the car. A pit stop may seem quick for humans, but a hot summer day – even with the windows open – can create extremely dangerous conditions for an animal who is waiting behind. Best practice is to leave someone in the car with the pet while the air conditioning is running.
Are you traveling this summer? Will you be bringing your furry friend along?