Travelling with a pet can be cumbersome. But if you plan well and try these tricks, you won’t have to leave your beloved pet behind.
AIR TRAVEL: NO EASY TASK
Most airlines refuse pets except one or two. All low cost carriers don’t carry pets, so be aware while booking tickets. Full service carriers do take pets, but mostly only two animals per flight. So it would be wise to plan your trip and book tickets well ahead of time. These airlines also have a list of 12 breeds of dogs that they term as ‘aggressive’ and will not carry at all. The list is available on these airlines’ websites.
That said, no airline allows pets as carry-ons. You will have to buy a suitable crate or cage and ship them in this. You will also need to talk to your vet, as your pet will need to be sedated. Be warned: there have been cases where pets have not survived the flight. If you are travelling within India, I would recommend taking a train or a car.
If you are travelling abroad, you will have to do some amount of paperwork to get your pet to your country of residence. Most countries will allow your pet after some tests and quarantine. It takes a large amount of paperwork and patience, but worth the effort to get your beloved pet with you than abandon it.
For flights abroad, you need to get a health certificate first from your vet, and within seven days. Take your pet also to the Government Veterinary Hospital and get another certificate of health from them. Prepare for this, as you need to travel within seven days after you get the Government certificate. You will need three photographs of your pet, so get these done in advance. You will also need three copies of your own vet’s certificate. A Government fee is applicable. Make sure the vet is around when you take your pet there, as he/she needs physically examine the pet. On the visa websites, each country lists the requirements for pet transfers; do read up on all steps and procedures carefully.
Travelling with you pets by train is far easier than by flight. If you are travelling first class in a train, the dog/cat is allowed to travel in the cabin with you. You just need to inform the train superintendent about the pet. It is a good idea to book into the twin cabin and buy both the tickets, so that you have no co-passengers. If you are in a four-passenger cabin, the other passengers can object to the pet’s presence in the train. Carry the food required for the dog for the entire trip. You can walk the train on the platform for them to do their ‘business,’ but do clean up after.
If you are travelling by any other class the pet has to be booked into the guard’s compartment. For this, you need to make sure your pet is in a secure cage. You will need to leave food and water for him/her. It is advisable to check on the pet at various stops so that you know he/she is safe. In case, you are leaving the pet in the guard’s cabin, make sure he/she is sedated well so it’s easier for them to deal with the journey. The booking has to be done only prior to the journey, and cannot be done in advance. Make sure you reach the station early so you’re able to do this.
TRAVEL BY CAR
This by far will be the easiest way to transport your pet. If your pet has been a while with you, then he/she most probably already has prior experience of travelling in a car. However, if your trip is going to be long or through hilly terrain, be warned: animals too can get travel sickness. Your vet can prescribe a simple medicine for this, which you can give to your pet an hour before travel. You can also stop the car whenever your pet needs to ‘go’. A lot of hotels these days have become ‘pet-friendly’. Do book into one of these, if you taking your pet along with on your holiday.