|Hi, I am GIZMO.|
|Hi, I am LEO.|
“The journey of life is sweeter,
When traveled with your dog.”
When I did not own a dog, I never knew what I was missing. Never thought that my life was incomplete and never realized the true meaning of LOVE.
Then came my first love when I was 10. We named him Gizmo, and he was the best thing that ever happened to me. I fed him, walked him, played with him and loved him. Nothing gave me more happiness than my ‘Gizzy Bhai‘(Bhai means brother). And then he died.
Life stopped and I thought I never would be happier again. I could never love someone more than I loved him.
And then came Leo, and he is the best thing that ever happened to me. I feed him, walk him, play with him and love him. Nothing gives me more happiness than my ‘Poopie Singh‘.
Moral of the story: Once you know the joy a pet can get in your life, there is no way you can do without this kind of ‘happiness’. It’s more than being ‘just addictive‘.
And so, it will not be surprise you when I say, that I hate being away from my dog for a long period of time. The thought of him being all alone, upsets me. The reason I am writing this blog, is because I know there are millions of you out there who feel the same connection with their pets and know what I mean when I say that I feel anxious all the freaking time when he is not in my sight.
I have captured below certain suggestions, observations and ideas which has helped my anxiety go away to a large extent and might be helpful to you as well.
You want to ensure that on your next vacation you have done the best you could to keep your pet happy and content. So here we go.
(I) SHORT TRIP/VACATION(Less than 2 weeks).
Option 1: Consider leaving your pet with:
a) That friend of yours who you know enjoys the company of pets, who adores your little ball of fur and who you know that your pet is comfortable around. What better way than to make both parties happy with the company they will have for the next couple of days.
b) A pet sitter: Maybe you can’t think of any friend who would be willing to do you the favor of looking after your pet. No worries. Open the yellow pages and look for a sitter. These are people who in general love being with animals, and feel why not make a little money while getting to enjoy pampering the little(in my case a HUGE) one. They can either come by your home at regular intervals to feed and walk your pet or some even volunteer to take them back to their own home and look after their well being there.
My suggestion would be to personally go and visit the sitter at their home to see if the surroundings are comfortable enough for your pet. Go by your gut feeling. If you feel that the sitter is in it just for the money, say NO and turn back right away for other options.
c) Kennels/Catteries: There are a number of kennels/catteries in your city and you can visit all of them to make your choice. These homes will give them the care that your pet will need and in turn he/she will remain happy in the company of other animals there. Read a lot of reviews on the temporary home that you will choose as it will give you confidence and assurance that you will come back after a vacation to a happy pet.
Option 2: Take your pet along:
This personally is usually my choice as I can always keep an eye on my precious and know that all is well. Below are the steps you must ensure to follow to make the travel for your dog as comfortable as possible.
a) Call up the hotel you plan to stay and re confirm if pets are allowed. Some hotels confirm that they welcome pets, but in reality their welcoming means putting up the pets in small cages and putting all the pets together in the garage.Horrible to think of something like this right? Trust me, it has happened to us and we walked right out of that awful hotel.
In stead, the hotel should confirm that you can bring your pet into the room you will be staying in and that you take the responsibility if the pet causes any damage and will pay for losses if any.
b) In the morning of the date of departure, take your pet for a long walk and tire him/her out so that they can relax and sleep away in the car during the journey. If they do not burn off that extra energy in the morning, trust me they will be a pain when traveling.
c) Feed your pet several hours before the actual ‘road trip’, so that they don’t feel uneasy during travel. Most of the pets(especially the dogs) have travel sickness and food will most likely come all out on your back seat if precaution is not taken.
d) Take your pet for a walk right before commencing the journey so that the pet can go relieve themselves of whatever they want to ;).
e) While traveling in a car, it is not a very good option to let the pet roam around freely on the backseat. In case of a road bump, or a sudden brake, he/she could get hurt. Thus, put them in a kennel(if they are small), or use a dog seat belt for a bigger canine. This way you would be able to drive in peace and safely without less or no distractions.
f) Stop regularly to walk your dog/cat after every 45 minutes. Stretch your legs and let your pet also get a whiff of the new surroundings. My dog usually gets down and takes a big dump and a long leak at every stop because motion does that to him. And so, stopping is a good idea.
g) Keep feeding them small munchies(HIGH ON PROTEIN) during the breaks so that they don’t feel too hungry during the journey.
h) Don’t leave your pet in the car for long if you are going for some work. And if it is absolutely necessary, leave the windows slightly open from both sides for cross ventilation. But this should only be the case if you plan to be out for a period of not more than 10 minutes tops.
In fact, an amazing alternative would be to get these K9koolers that I recently read about. These are great air conditioners which will ensure that your car remains at a safe temperature for your pet to feel comfortable at.
i) Once you reach the destination and are at the hotel, take your pet for a walk again and let him familiarize with the new environment.
j) Let your pet not run around all over the hotel and keep him by your side. After all you have to convey that you are the Alfa male(or female) and must be heard and obeyed.
k) When in hotel room, leave the pet open and let them take their time to get comfortable in the new settings. Give him his favorite chew bone or ball to play with and keep occupied.
l) Last but not the least, even in a holiday the routine for your pet should not change drastically. Feed him on time. Take him for walks and do all that you would back home.
(II) LONG VACATION/ RELOCATION.
So you plan to go far away for a vacation and that too for a couple of months. Or maybe, you finally got that international position you have been eyeing and it is now time to relocate. What then? How to ensure that your pet has a pleasant and a comfy journey?
In most likelihood, you would be traveling by air for such a kind of journey. And this mode of transport is the most scary and dangerous for pets. Between May 2005 to May 2015 there have been around 230 animal deaths while traveling by airlines(statistics compiled by Airline Animal Incident Reports) . I am mentioning the statistics not to scare you but so as to ensure that you do your best to make sure that the airlines are well equipped to take care of your traveling pet.
This mode of transport should only be used in case it is the only choice left. If there is an alternate option of driving down to the destination or leaving the dog behind with family till you are back- USE IT.
Listed below are the steps I recommend you take in consideration on the day of the travel:
a) Feed and walk your pet several hours before the journey. We need to have the pet feel at ease during the long hours he will be sitting in the cargo.
b) Familiarize your pet with the kennel/carrier you plan to put him/her in when traveling by air. You can do this by training and getting the pet to spend few hours every day inside the carrier placed in your home and to make them feel comfortable and not threatened when in it. Do not, I repeat DO NOT force your pet inside. Get them to walk in on their own by putting their favorite ball or chew bone inside for them to be occupied with.
This way you will ensure that on the day of travel, your pet will not have to additionally worry about being trapped in a new place along with the new unfamiliar surroundings.
c) I highly recommend to get micro-chipped. Microchips carry a unique identification number. If your pet gets lost and is taken to a vet clinic or animal shelter, your pet will be scanned for a microchip to reveal his unique ID number.
d) Before placing your pet in the carrier, both on his collar as well as outside the carrier, put all necessary details like pet’s name, owners name, owners address and contact number. This way if an airline is careless enough to misplace your dog, the details attached will help greatly in your reunion with your pet.
e) Do not give a sad goodbye to your pet before they are sent along with the cargo for loading. Pets understand the emotions their owners feel and thus it is important that you make the pet feel that it will be okay and that you will see him soon. Don’t forget to give him his favorite toy to play with in the carrier and make sure he is well hydrated.
f) If you have a smaller pet, check on airlines rules of whether you can pay extra and carry your pet in a carrier with you in the cabin.Some airlines permit this and if yours does, then it’s the best option. Hopefully your dog won’t bark the whole time. But in their defense, if a baby can cry the whole flight time then so can they. I rest my case ;).
g) Once you have boarded the flight, ensure you tell one of the flight attendants to inform the pilot that you have a pet in the cargo. While the pilot will already know this and will take the precaution of maintaining the ideal temperature in the cargo; there is no harm in reminding them. After all you are just looking after your best friend.
h) In case there are multiple stops before you reach your final destination, at every stop before boarding and after boarding tell your airline staff to confirm that your pet is safely on board in the cargo.
i) Lastly, when you reach the destination and are waiting near the baggage belts and when you see the carrier with your loved one barking away to glory because of the movement of the conveyor belt- RUN TO HIM AND COMFORT HIM WITH YOUR VOICE as soon as possible. Take him out of the carrier soon and hug and pet him for as long as possible.
After all, he has been through a lot and showering of your love will make him feel that all is well again in the world.
Hope my blog helps you make the journey for your cuddly bunny(excuse me for these extra mushy names I use instead of just saying- ‘pet’)a comfortable one.
They do so much for us and ask for nothing in return. It is time that we do our best to make them feel that WE CARE.
“Sometimes losing a PET is more painful than losing a HUMAN
Because in case of the PET,
You were not pretending to love it.”
– Amy Sedaris
Will be back soon with more of my travel tips.