Whether you’re moving across the country, across the world, or just taking a trip with your furbaby or feathered friend this summer, there’s a lot to consider. Pet travel can be especially tricky when you’re up against warmer temperatures, busier roads, and packed airports. Our team often advises against booking big pet moves during the summer months, but sometimes life requires it.
Here are our tips to keep your pet as safe and happy as possible during a summer excursion of any length.
1. If You’re Taking Flight—Check for Summertime Airline Embargoes
If you’re planning to fly with your pet this summer and they’re too large to fly in-cabin with you, many airlines enstate pet cargo restrictions during the summer months. Airlines might limit their pet travel hours or the pet breeds they’ll carry due to the heat. Here’s a list of 2019 summer flight embargoes for many of the major airlines. If the airline you’re considering isn’t on the list, give them a call or work with your pet relocation specialist to clarify their summertime rules before booking a flight.
2. If Your Trip is International—Check for Import Restrictions
Import regulations vary from one country to the next. Take the time to understand what’s required at your final destination in terms of vet visits, vaccines, and paperwork as early as possible. This is key to align your pet’s travel as closely as possible with your own and avoid any hangups once you arrive.
3. Plan to Move When the Weather’s Cool
Some airlines will only allow pets to travel as cargo during the early morning and evening hours when the sun is down. If you’re traveling a shorter distance by car or other ground transportation, your pet will be much more comfortable riding when it’s cooler outside—and so will you!
4. Buy the Right Summer Travel Crate in Advance, and Practice
When it comes to creating a positive travel experience for your pet, ventilation is key. This guide will help you choose the right travel crate for a pet of any type and size. If there’s extra space in your vehicle or allowed by your airline, sizing up your crate might be a good idea to provide your pet with more fresh air and room to move.
You’ll want to purchase your travel crate as far in advance as possible to ensure it’s the right fit, and to get your pet acclimated. Swap it out for your pet’s regular crate at home in preparation for your trip so they become familiar and comfortable with the space.
5. Pay a Visit to the Vet
Before bringing your pet on a big summer move or getaway, get them checked out to make sure they’re healthy enough for the adventure. A pet that’s under or overweight or experiencing other health problems may not be up for a big trip.
6. Get Your Pet Groomed—But Not Too Short!
Depending on your pet’s hair type, he or she may benefit from a little pre-travel summer grooming. Be careful, though; trimming an unruly mane is a good idea, but read this pet grooming advice before taking things too far. A pet's hair acts as a natural cooling system and some coverage can protect their skin from sun damage, so a buzzcut could leave them hot and bothered.
7. Plan Properly for Food and Hydration
When it’s hot outside and your pet will be traveling for an extended period of time, it’s even more vital that they eat the right amount at the right times and stay hydrated (just like you)! Food and exercise should be monitored in the days before your trip to keep your pet feeling as calm and normal as possible. Make sure fresh water is always available in the hours before you head out, so your pet reaches healthy levels of hydration.
Even if there's a long journey ahead, it's best to avoid food for at least two hours before you take off to avoid any tummy upsets.
Give your pets plenty of water before and after your trip, and make sure water is available during your entire trip. You should attach a water bowl securely to their crate and fill it at the last moment before taking off.
Pro tip: Freeze your water bowls/trays the night before the move so the water will melt slowly over time, to reduce spillage and ensure water is available for longer!
8. Tire Out Your Friend Beforehand
A couple of extra walks or extended playtime the evening before and/or the morning of your trip will tire out your pet and increase the chances of travel napping. Make sure you carve out time in the days before your trip to devote to your pet and his or her travel prep.