11 June 2018

Traveling with pets

Summer is coming and, with it, vacations, getaways and long trips. Our furry friends may also have to travel with us, which implies a series of preparations to make things easier for them.

It is important to remember that, although we love to enjoy their company anywhere, there are places or types of trips to which it is not advisable to take them. We must not forget that for them, a trip is just an uncomfortable and stressful situation, and that we must weigh other options before subjecting them to a considerable journey or a change of environment (especially when it comes to cats). It is advisable to assess each situation and see if it is worth looking for a friend or a professional who can take care of our pet until we return.

That being said, from Dingonatura we want to help you in your planning, so we offer you a quick guide with useful tips to travel with your cat or dog:

Traveling by car:

1) In case of small animals, it is advisable to use a pet carrier. The carrier should not be perceived as a place of torture (visits to the veterinarian or dizziness in the car) but we should teach them that it can be a quiet and safe place. It is essential for them to get used to the carrier from a young age: let them in and out to their liking, let them play hiding things inside, sleep inside, with or without the owner present, and take them for short car rides on the carrier.

2) For smaller animals, a harness is preferred to the carrier.

3) In the event of using a carrier, the ideal spot to place it is at the feet of the rear seats and, if you use a harness, it must be attached to the safety belt (there are suitable fastening materials for this).

4) If the dog is sitting with a harness, it may be useful to put a soaker on the seat … In case of any mishaps. It is also useful to put some paper or other soaker inside the carriers.

5) We should not let them take their heads out the window, however happy we see them, they not only run the risk of hitting or scratching themselves with something, but of getting cold or getting some particle or insect in their eyes.

6) If we are going to travel for more than 5 hours, it is advisable to let the cats out of the carrier (always with the vehicle closed or, if it is outside, with a leash), so they can move and drink water if they wish. When it comes to dogs, our stops must also be theirs, being a perfect time to give them a little bit of fresh water and some small treat that does not spoil at room temperature (the ideal is to carry a little bag of Moments  in the car, just in case).

7) And last, but not least, never leave the animal unattended in the car. If you inevitably travel alone, park the car in the shade and not exceed 10 minutes of absence (for 20 minutes inside a car on a hot day can turn into hell even with the window down). Las temperaturas extremas se agravan dentro de un vehículo estacionado y en este tipo de paradas, el tiempo pasa volando.

As you can see, traveling by car with a dog or cat requires certain considerations.

By plane:

Traveling by plane with animals is possible, but you have to take into account several details some time in advance.

1) As a rule of thumb, this type of transport is not recommended in brachycephalic breeds (both cat and dog) as they have a higher risk of heat stroke or shock, as well as problems breathing. If you absolutely have to take them with you, it is better for them to go in the cabin. Remember that there is a limit of animals on each flight, so it is important make reservations well in advance so you can make sure that they will go in the cabin with you (to fly in the cabin, each company has a regulation regarding the maximum weight of the animal, so it is key to check it before buying the tickets).

2) In order to be able to travel by plane with our pets, ee will have to present some documents, which may vary depending on the country of destination. Generally, a European passport and an identification microchip are enough, but they can request animal health or export certificates, serological tests and blood tests, or be dewormed or vaccinated against something specific. Therefore, we recommend that you speak with your veterinarian several months in advance, as well as with the airline.

3) Try to choose non-stop flights and avoid flights that leave during hot weather.

4) Remember to train your pet to spend time in the carrier, as mentioned in the previous “Traveling by car” section.

5) Choose a carrier with many slots for proper ventilation and a waterproof base (in case liquids are poured in the hold). Also, it should be large enough so that your pet can stand up if needed.

6) Tag the carrier indicating “Live Animal” for it to be handled very carefully. We also recommend writing both your contact information and your phone with the área code of your country and the destination airport.

7) Find a small sprue that can be attached to the carrier and ask if you can put ice in it, so they can drink and lick something cool during the trip.

8) Put a soaker on the floor of the carrier and a toy that they like, plus some clothes with your smell.

9) Put your pet a necklace with your name and phone number (with área code).

10) And remember to always check the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment to make sure you meet all the requirements before traveling.


Finally, here you have some basic general advice for any trip with animals:

1) For our four-legged friends any change of environment means leaving their comfort zone, and this can generate fear and anxiety, so they can show a behavior that we do not recognize (such as barking or snorting). It is key on those occasions to stay calm and to change their focus of attention to something they like to distract them, and not reprimand them, since they are only defending themselves from something new. With cats, it may be useful to cover the carrier with something while moving it in places with lots of activity so that they do not see too many threatening stimuli.

2) Keep a positive attitude when separating from them to help them feel safer and calmer. We have to try not to place great importance to that temporary farewell or instill guilt or pity, because they perceive gestures, tones and smells associated with emotions.