Contributed by Mayumi Sugai
When it comes to travelling, a family would usually pre-plan everything they need in order to ensure that every member has a great time. Things get a little bit complicated, however, when you have a pet with you.
For example, bringing one overseas will require a lot of preparation, excluding having vaccinations and permits. For a lot of pet lovers out there, this can be a hassle since you have to go through so much just to bring your pet dog or cat on a trip abroad. But this is a necessary step one has to deal with.
So, if you’re one of those people who would really like to have your pets accompany you in your travels, starting with local ones, then here’s a list of important things that you should remember!
Also read: 7 Most Adorable Pet Cafés in Manila
1. Always have vaccination records
I already mentioned it above but it must be mentioned again — you should always have a copy of your pet’s vaccination records in their duffle bag. If ever an emergency situation happens on the road, you’ll have all the important information with you. These records are required for a lot of excursions in and out of the country.
Most of the time, you won’t need to show them when you go to malls. But some hotels require these documents before they allow your pet into their premises. International travel is stricter with these, so you should always make sure that your pet is always up-to-date with all of its required shots!
2. Collar, leash and tags
It’s a standard procedure to always have a collar on your pets. Not only will this serve as a means of identification, but it also indicates that it’s not a stray animal on the loose. Without a collar, most people will see your pet as just another animal on the street when you’re not around. A dog tag, as most people call it, is very important as it’s where specific information about your pet is found, such as their name, owner, and the owner’s contact number if it gets lost.
A leash is crucial in keeping your pet in place. Most of the time, your pets should be in their best behaviour, but you can’t really tell when your pet will get worked up because of something they see, smell, or sense. In some cases, there are pets that just can’t be controlled, and that can lead to a lot of concerns and complaints from a lot of people.
When your pet is in a new territory, chances are they’ll be very excited — so much so that no matter how much training they’ve been through, there’s still a chance for them to start running around and simply enjoy themselves — which is both totally cute and a problem when left alone. Having them on a leash will at least give you a way to control your pet before anything bad happens.
3. Food and water
No matter where you plan on going, you should always have sufficient food and water for your pet. If they have a favourite food, then keep that at the ready. It’s important that you don’t let your pet’s stomach get upset. Always remember whether or not your pet is fine with human food, or pet food alone. If it’s the former, then make sure you cook it ahead of time and pack it along with your other food.
Just as how people who live in a place for a long time get used to the water there, the same goes with your pet. It’s a good idea for you to bring along as much drinking water as you can!
4. Pet travel kit
You should always have the essentials with you when you’re going on a trip with your pet. The most basic materials such as a waste scoop, plastic bags, bowl, and their travel papers should all be packed in one big doggy duffel bag.
This should also include first aid and grooming supplies in case you need them. If your pet is taking some kind of medication, then you should also pack it in this kit.
Of course, their grooming brushes and shampoos should be included and segregated within the bag. If this is how you pack all your pet’s things, you have to make sure that they’re well segregated and labelled. Don’t mix food with the shampoos and medicine, and just place the travel papers where there’s space. An organised pet travel kit will make your trip with your pet a lot easier!
5. Ease your pet to travel
To those who plan on bringing their pet on a trip for the first time, it will be best for you to go for a test drive first. A drive that takes around two to four hours will be enough to check just how they’ll react. Take note of whether or not they can travel without getting motion sickness, anxious, or agitated.
When your pet can’t stay calm during a relatively short trip, chances are they’ll be miserable during your whole trip. If that happens, then it would be best to just leave your pet at home than.
6. Remember pit stops
Your pets also need to stretch their legs after a few hours on the road. Being inside a vehicle for a long time won’t really do any benefit to both you and your pet so make sure that you plan out pit stops every now and again. Things such as bathroom breaks, food stops, or just relaxation stops will be enough for your trip to stay fresh and enjoyable!
7. Look for pet-friendly accommodations
You can’t just bring your pet anywhere you go. There are a lot of establishments that outright prohibit pets from entering them. That’s why it’s vital to find a place that allows pets even before you go on a trip — especially if you’re planning to stay in hotels or resorts.
Keep in mind, however, that not every place that says “pet-friendly” is friendly in general. Do your research and look at their pet policies. Check if they have any extra fees included when bringing in pets and if there’s anything in the surrounding area that is actually good for your pets. Pet-friendly restaurants, parks, and commercial areas are great places to start.
8. Plan out activities and destinations wisely
What you think is a great vacation might not be the same for your pets. Keep in mind that some places are way more suited for your pets than others. Your vacation will be most enjoyable if you can find a place where both you and your pet will enjoy. If you’re based in or around Manila, places like pet-friendly hotels in Alabang are good choices. But generally, you should look for places with a lot of greenery and areas to walk around.
You should also focus on easing your pets into the new environment. In some cases, your pets might get scared or anxious about being in a different environment that they just freeze in place.
Let your pets gradually get used to the new place by pacing them into it. It’s also important to remember to never overwhelm your pets. Surrounding them with strangers or leaving them in an extremely populated area, for example, might result in an unexpected reaction that you’re not used to!
9. Bed and crate
If you plan on staying in a hotel, or in any kind of accommodation, always bring your pet’s own bed. It’s rather cruel for anyone to force their pets to sleep on the floor especially in a place they’re not familiar with. So it would be best for you to bring your pet’s bed in all of your trips! You should also bring some extra sheets and pillows that your pet is familiar with so that they won’t have any problem sleeping.
Their crate may also be considered as their mini pet house, especially if your pet treats the crate as a “den”. Bring it along as well to help your pet adjust better in the new environment!
10. Toys and accessories
Not every dog has accessories, but almost every one of them has a favourite toy that they like to bring around everywhere. Never forget to bring that along so that they’d be even more comfortable on the trip.
You have to remember that your pets will most probably feel alienated in the new environment that they’re in. They might feel uneasy and anxious to do things that they would normally do at home.
Because of this, it’s very important for you to make them feel at ease with the new things around them. And what better way to do it than to bring along their most valued toys! Even things such as music and television series might help make them more comfortable!
And of course, you might as well bring along some accessories, including clothing and footwear, that you can use to dress up your pets to make them feel more secure.
11. Keep your pets in sight
In some cases, your pets might get a little too excited for the trip that they get really energetic, or oftentimes, they go off on their own to somewhere near. Either way, always remember that you should never let your pets leave your sight. This is because, in a place where both you and your pet aren’t that familiar with, it’s very easy for your pet to get lost. A quick solution is to always keep your pet on a leash!
Also read: Pawesome! Airlines Around The World That Allow Dogs on the Plane
Going on a trip with your pets is not as easy as it seems. You need to prepare a lot of things in order to make it a smooth and enjoyable one for both of you. Keep in mind that this list only tackles long drives and short vacations. When it comes to overseas travel, there are a whole lot more things that you have to consider. For the local ones, remember everything mentioned above and your vacation will go without a hitch!