Winter Is Coming (And Pet Travel is No Game)
Winter seems like the perfect time to plan your pet's move. This means you can align your travel schedule and your holiday vacation plans while also avoiding the heat embargoes summer usually brings. Traveling in colder weather is better for your pet, right?
Not necessarily, says our team of pet travel experts. As winter approaches, so does unpredictable weather, which can lead to quite a few issues with planning safe routing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a pet relocation during the winter:
Many Airlines Don’t Have Set Rules for Pet Travel in Winter
Initially, this sounds like a good thing. However, it really means that even if everything is planned perfectly, a plan could still unexpectedly fall apart at the last minute due to weather.
With summer embargoes, we can at least avoid certain times or ports that tend to have restrictions when it's too hot for pet travel. Essentially, we expect heat to get in the way and are prepared to plan around it.
When it comes to colder months, on the other hand, blizzards or heavy winter weather can descend without much warning. Some airlines, like Delta, do have an extreme weather restriction (not allowing pets to travel in weather lower than 10 degrees Fahrenheit) to try and avoid the last-minute delays or cancellations the winter weather can cause. However, keep in mind that even this type of regulation is still not preventative enough to catch all winter weather cases in enough time.
Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans
Because the weather is so unpredictable, it's important to be flexible with your move date and/or origin and destination airports. If the weather is expected to be terrible for a week, see if it's feasible for you to move your pet’s travel date to before or after that week.
For those traveling internationally, this may be more difficult since health certificates and government endorsements have expiration dates. Still, keep in mind that it’s better to avoid extreme temperatures or weather as much as possible.
Consult Your Vet
Many animals may not cope well with colder weather. For example, older pets with arthritis may experience aggravated symptoms when the temperature is colder outside, which would make traveling a little more stressful on their bodies.
Also, specific breeds tend to be more sensitive to temperature changes and may not cope as well when it comes to dealing with the travel process (which will include car rides to and from the airport as well as the flight time). It's always a good idea to chat with your vet to see what would be best for your beloved family member.
Finally, a Few Tips From the Team
The consultants and coordinators of PetRelocation have helped thousands of pets travel safely over the years. Here are a few more bits of winter advice to consider along with the tips above:
- Add an extra layer of warmth to the travel kennel
- Bring extra food in case weather delays lengthen the journey
- Don't forget the leash (this is a tip worth mentioning no matter when you're traveling—it's surprisingly easy to forget!)
- Avoid holidays altogether, as office closures and extra busy airports can create extra challenges.