The past three years have been turbulent for almost everybody worldwide. The sudden onset of an unprecedented global pandemic meant humanity was forced indoors, with little in the way of breaking the monotony of day-to-day chores. During this period, many people sought to alleviate their loneliness during the lockdown, which in turn led to them adopting a pet. However, once things started to open up, pet owners were left with a dilemma. A pet is beloved like a family member, so it is difficult to leave them alone while we enjoy the finer things in life; nor is it quite as enjoyable of an experience without them. Thus, people now travel with their pets in tow.
To accommodate the needs of a growing number of pet parents, various locations and travel services are now pet-friendly to better facilitate travelling with your pet. A very clear increase in demand is visible for pet-friendly services & accommodations, once the lockdown restrictions were eased. This can be observed in the booking page of most websites; hotels and accommodations now typically have a ‘pet- friendly’ tab, which allows owners to sift through only those locations where their pet is as welcome as they are.
Faisal Islam, a co-founder of Carry My Pet, notes that this change is reflected in both pet accommodation and pet transportation. Since the restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 were eased, there has been a 15%-30% increase in pet travel; both domestic and international. Having helped over 500 families in travelling with their pets over a period of six months, Faisal says, “People use all three modes of transport for domestic pet travel. Pet travel via flight is the most preferred as it is very convenient. We have also concluded that a few pets travel via trains. Road travel is used for short distances and for places that don’t have connectivity via air.”
Certainly, there are options when it comes to travelling with your pet. Road travel, for example, is practical across shorter trips. Once you have hired a car and planned your refreshment stops, all that’s left to do is enjoy the ride. Deepak Gautam, who travelled from Uttar Pradesh to New Delhi with his dog, Simba, says “I’ve never had so much fun in a car. Simba was so excited; looking out the window, enjoying the sights. He was so happy, and it made me happy too. I let him off the leash in the car so he could also relax on the long journey, but he just looked so happy all the way”.
Shashi Mohan shares a similar experience with his dog while travelling from Hyderabad to Bangalore too; “I had to shift cities because of my job, and I couldn’t bear to leave my baby behind. I hired a car and decided to make the journey by road. It turns out that was one of the best decisions because, after a long time, I spent time and pampered her with love as I used to all those years ago when I had time in school. Work is important, but sometimes it is more important to spend time with those close to you, both humans and animals”.
As it is a beautiful experience, it is wise to plan in order to avoid anything that may spoil it. “Always research the hotel thoroughly before booking your stay”, explains Aamir Islam, co-founder of Carry My Pet. “Along with being a pet-friendly place, enquire if your pet’s needs can be accommodated with services such as food, salons, open areas for walks, etc.”, he said. He also placed special emphasis on the climate conditions while planning an excursion; dogs are especially sensitive to heat, and some are less tolerant than others, so keep that in mind. “Make sure to get a comfortable crate which has ample room for your pet to move around in. Prepare the crate with the necessary amenities like food, water, absorbing sheets, and mattress to keep them comfortable”, he added.
In addition to the proper preparation, it is also important to be mindful of documentation. If you are travelling by air, for example, you will require a fit-to-fly certificate and completed vaccination records. Both of these must be signed and stamped by an authorized veterinarian, for your pet to fly anywhere. Their vaccination book also doubles as their passport, so treat it with the same care as you would your own.
The following are basics you should carry with you while transporting your pet: