Whether you're moving across the country, relocating internationally, or simply planning a summer vacation with your furry friend, there are critical considerations for pet travel during the warm season. Summer travel poses unique challenges for pet owners, from bustling airports to soaring temperatures.
Here are our top tips for ensuring your pet's safety, comfort, and happiness during summer travel.
1. Navigating Airline Embargoes for Summer Pet Flights
Summer months often come with airline pet cargo restrictions. Some airlines may limit pet travel hours or restrict certain breeds from flying due to heat concerns. Research major airlines' summer flight embargoes and, if needed, contact our team at PetRelocation for guidance.
Pro tip: Airlines often decide which months to start their summer embargoes based on the previous year’s temperatures. Make sure to check last year’s weather patterns when planning your vacation or relocation.
2. Timing Your Pet's Travel to Avoid Extreme Heat
Some airlines will only allow pets to travel as cargo during the early morning and evening hours when the sun is down. For instance, the pet-safe airline Lufthansa will only allow snub-nosed pets to fly when they know the temperature will be under 80 degrees Fahrenheit at both the departure and arrival locations. Avoid surprises by knowing the best times for your pet to travel.
Pro tip: We see the least amount of weather embargoes in the spring and fall seasons. If possible, consider planning your pet’s travel to coincide with this.
3. Opting for Ground Transportation for Pet Relocation
Ground transportation may be the only option if your pet moves across the United States this summer. When driving long distances, especially with dogs in the car, having a co-driver or another human passenger is important. This will make bathroom breaks for both humans and pets safer.
It would be best to inspect your vehicle to ensure there are no repairs your car may need for the long journey ahead. For instance, ensuring your air conditioning will last the duration of the trip is very important in the summer months. Also, consider the terrain you're traveling on. In desert states, such as New Mexico and Arizona, tires that are underinflated or unequipped for hot asphalt to falter are not unheard of. Ensure your vehicle— especially your tires—are ready to weather harsher conditions.
Pro tip: Make sure your pet’s crate is in a shaded area within your vehicle. Consider draping a light-colored sheet across the top of the crate to provide unexpected sun exposure.
4. Buy the Right Travel Crate and Acclimate Your Pet
When creating a positive travel experience for your pet, ventilation is key. This guide will help you choose the right travel crate for any type and size pet. 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 to it. Practice crate training early and often with your pet.
Pro tip: Begin crate training your pet by feeding them in their crates with the door open, or off. This will help them get comfortable and form a positive association with their crate.
5. Scheduling a Pre-Travel Veterinary Visit
Before any summer move or vacation, ensure your pet is healthy for transport. Pets with weight or health issues may not be suitable for long trips
Pro tip: For international trips, your veterinarian may need to issue a health certificate endorsed by the USDA. Know the destination requirements before booking.
6. Grooming Your Pet for Comfortable Travel
Depending on your pet's hair type, he or she may benefit from a little pre-travel summer grooming. 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.
Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to keep your pet’s nails short during travel. This will make handling an excited dog easier. Check with your groomer about getting your pup pedicured before embarking on your trip.
7. Ensuring Proper Nutrition and Hydration for Your Pet
When it's hot outside, and your pet will be traveling for an extended period, 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 the days before your trip to keep your pet 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 hydration levels.
Even if there's a long journey ahead, it's best to avoid food for at least two hours before taking off to avoid 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: If you’re traveling by air, freeze your water bowls or trays the night before the move so the water will melt slowly over time, to reduce spillage and ensure water is available for longer! If you’re traveling by ground, make sure to bring portable water bowls with you to provide water on rest stops.
8. Tiring Out Your Pet for a Smooth Journey
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.
Pro tip: Explore dog-friendly trails here. Hiking early in the morning before a journey begins is a great way to tire your pet out.
Following these tips should help make your summer relocation a breeze! Make sure to share your experience with us on social media! You can tag us on Instagram @PetRelocation and use the hashtag #PetRelocation.
If you have questions about traveling with your pet this summer, schedule your free consultation today!