Tips to remember when travelling with a pet

Tips to remember when travelling with a pet, according to the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)

Tips to remember when travelling with a pet


Planning a holiday trip or vacation can be stressful, no matter the circumstances. As COVID-19 brings International holidays to a halt, many South Africans are set to explore our diverse and captivating country this December. Families will want to include their family pet in their plans, which may introduce an entirely new set of challenges. This includes packing the right equipment, checking the hotels pet policies, ensuring your pet meets the appropriate travel requirements, but not limited to. The South African Veterinary Services (SAVA) and Dr Dean Sim from the South City Vet, in Port Elizabeth, share useful tips to remember, which will help you, your family and beloved furry companion enjoy a safe, well-deserved and relaxing holiday.

1. Preparation is key!

Preparation is key to ensure a successful vacation, so book an appointment with your vet to ensure your pets vaccinations are updated. This includes deworming of parasites, such as roundworm, flukes and tapeworm. Calming medication might be viable especially if your pet is not used to driving long distances.

As many parts of South Africa reach high temperatures in December, make sure that you take your pet for a grooming session. This will help keep your pet cool and make it easier to find any ticks or flees. If you are planning a camping trip, be prepared for destinations with potential risks such as snakes and paralysis ticks.

Make sure to look up the name and contact details of a local vert in case of an emergency.

Order enough medication ahead of time and pack a first-aid kit including diluted antiseptic (betadine) and clean bandages.

Make sure that your pet is microchipped to help identify him or her in case they get lost. Make sure your contact details are registered so you can easily be contacted.

2. Tips when travelling in a car

If your pet is not accustomed to travelling long distances, spend a bit of time to get your pet used to the experience. Pets that are used to travelling in the car, are a lot calmer, which will ensure a less stressed trip for all.

  • A lot of pets associate car travels with going to the vet, which can be stressful. Take your pets on shorter trips from home (e.g. going to buy bread or milk).
  • Keep a doggie bed, a thin blanket, and their favourite toys to ease travel stress and for settling once you reach your destination.
  • Always remember to keep your travel food secured away from your pets when you leave the car.
  • When stopping to fuel up, or to grab a quick bite, park your car at a far distance so that your furry companion can relieve themselves. Never take them off their leashes at petrol stations!
  • NEVER leave your pet in your car, especially during days of extreme heat – always plan your outings to ensure that they can either go with you or a family member can sit under tree shade with them.
  • Make sure to pack plenty of water and food, treats, an extra leash, poop bags, and any medication for the treatment and prevention of the vomiting associated with motion sickness in dogs.

3. Make sure your destination is pet friendly

Do your research on pet friendly accommodation and activities before you book your holiday. Be sure to check for pet restrictions at the beaches as some beaches have different dog friendly hours during peak time holidays. Create a list of activities for your pet that includes:
– Nature walks
– Country markets
– Pet friendly restaurants

4. Taking care of the wellbeing of your animals

An important element to remember is the use of pet-friendly UV protection. Many pet owners might not be aware, but sunblock is as important on our furry companions, as it is for humans.

Should your pet enjoy swimming in the ocean, remember to pack an appropriate ear rinse. This will prevent your animals from getting an ear infection from the water gathered when swimming.

Ensure you pack eye rinse in case of sand coming into contact with their eyes when playing on the beach.

Brachycephalic dogs (commonly known as “short-headed” dogs such as the English bulldog, French bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, and Boston terrier) are prone to heatstroke. Be extra careful with these types of breeds in the car and provide a lot of water and shade if you plan a beach day.

5. Travelling with pets on an aeroplane

Should you opt to travel with your pet via an aeroplane, check with the airline for pet travel policies, regulations and restrictions. You’ll need to have your pet thoroughly examined, wormed and vaccinated before being approved for air travel.

Pets often do well travelling by air so ensure that you have the correct right type and size travel crate. Place a blanket and toys for comfort. However, if you see your pet showing any signs of distress, visit a vet you’ve located at your destination urgently. If you are still hesitant to take your pet travelling on an aeroplane, speak to your local veterinarian well in advance.

With the correct amount of preparation, you can ensure a safe, well-deserved, relaxing holiday with your family and your furry companion, regardless of where you go or what form of transport you take.

Source: South African Veterinary Association


Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.