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International Pet Travel 101: How to Prepare

Traveling abroad takes some thoughtful planning and preparation when you’re on your own, never mind when you want to travel with your pet too. 

There’s a lot to wrap your head around. There are vaccinations, documents, vet visits, and much more to go through before you embark. The legal side of everything is essential, but so is mentally preparing your animal so they relax on the flight and enjoy your trip! 

Learn some easy interventions you can put in place now, to keep your pet comfortable and happy on international journeys. 

Using a Crate 

If your pet doesn’t currently use a crate for travel or sleeping, it’s a good idea to start crate training as soon as possible. Pet training is something you should adjust and accommodate, dependent on the specific needs of your pet. For instance, service dog training may look a little different. 

Begin the training as soon as you can. The earlier your pet associates its crate with safety and comfort, the better. They will likely need to travel in a crate when you reach the airport. Make this a gradual process and start slowly. 

You can have your pet in the crate for short bursts of time at first, and slowly increase the time frames they spend in there until it reflects your journey time. Then you will know that they will feel happy for the duration. 

You could also take them out along with the crate to the public, louder environments to get them accustomed to the hustle and bustle. Ensure the crate is IATA-compliant to meet airline regulations. 

The Vet 

Before you make definite plans for your pet, chat with their vet to get the first picture of their overall health. 

Just as we take certain vaccinations when traveling overseas, your pet may require the same. It’s important to note, too, that lots of countries require you to administer both external and internal parasite treatment before traveling. 

Socialize 

Our pets have complicated personalities, just like we do. Some pets are anxious or shy, and may not react well to significant changes in the environment. Developing stronger social skills will improve your pet’s ability to adjust. 

You can do so by taking your pet to public spaces. Start small and work your way up, perhaps a dog park at first, then a dog-friendly restaurant. You could try a day or two at a doggy daycare once you’re confident this won’t be too stressful for them. 

Socializing your pet is a vital step in preparing them for the journey. At every point, they will be met with loud noises and handled by strangers. Whether that’s the airline staff or hotel staff. 

Pet behavior specialists can help with signs of separation anxiety

Time To Embark 

Nobody knows your pet as well as you do, but international travel isn’t a plan to rush into. It can be stressful for us as humans, to get everything together, plan connections, and the list goes on. Don’t make it stressful for your pet too. 

Ruben Arribas is the co-founder of Gamintraveler and a Spanish traveler who has traveled to more than 100 countries around the world. He is now a full-time digital nomad.