How to travel with your four-legged friend

travel cats
(Photos: Shutterstock)
When planning to take a road trip or fly out of the country, we often think of our furry loved ones before we travel. It can be extremely difficult to leave our pet behind, and sometimes the only right decision seems to be to take them with us.اضافة اعلان

But traveling with a cat or dog can be a tricky endeavor — so much goes into it, including thinking through their needs on the road and any regulations involved in bringing them into a new country. Booking a pet-friendly stay is yet another challenge, not to mention pre-travel procedures to guarantee your pet’s safety and health.

Permits and paperwork
There are several points to keep in mind before traveling with a pet: checking your pet’s vaccinations is a must before travel, especially if your furry friend is still young, as young animals require more attention and care than adults. Next, you need to find out if the country you are entering permits animals from abroad — many countries require a health certificate by a vet to allow pets to enter. Jordan, for example, requires a rabies test for all pet entries, according to COVID has also complicated matters, as some animals can can carry the disease, leading to increased restrictions and very expensive fees.

When traveling outside the Kingdom with your pet, there are two main considerations to keep in mind: first, the importing country requirements, and second, airline requirements.

Take the time to research the conditions for entry of the country you are visiting. According to veterinarian Ala Shehadeh from Vetzone Pet Health Center in Amman, the main point that divides countries on entry of animals is rabies. Shehadeh broke down world countries into three categories in terms of pet travel conditions: those that do not contain rabies and therefore have very strict entry conditions for pets; those that contain rabies, but not under control, where conditions for entry are quite simple; and those that contain rabies, but under control, where entry conditions are more nuanced.

Australia, Britain, Bahrain, Japan, New Zealand fall into the first category, requiring pets to have high precautions against rabies. Countries in the EU, the UAE, Qatar, and recently the US are less strict, falling into the third category. Finally, countries such as Jordan and Latin American nations, as well as some countries in Africa, require only a health certificate and usual vaccines. These countries fall under the second category.
If you are simply going on vacation, be sure to carefully consider the risks of travel for animals before bringing your four-legged friend along. A long trip could be dangerous for a pet, especially those that have respiratory problems.
Shehadeh noted that some countries also prohibit the entry of certain animals or breeds, such as the Pitbull or the Rottweiler, because they are allegedly more violent or dangerous than other animals. However, he noted that this stereotype is mainly anecdotal: “We know that this (aggression of the animal) depends on the owner of the animal.”

A comfortable, secure journey
Another important consideration is the type of carrier in which your pet travels. Usually, a pet crate or smaller carrier is the best option. Be sure to contact your airlines to know find out their conditions for the size of the carrier. Some airlines require carriers to be large enough for the pet to turn around full and stand up comfortably on all fours. 

Vetzone in Amman offers pet travel services to the public, preparing crates or carriers to make them travel-friendly, firmly securing the carrier and its contents such as designated bowls for food and drink and litter pads.

Pets can travel in one of two ways. They may travel with their owners, and in this case, are considered luggage, kept near their owners throughout the journey, either in the cabin of the plane or in the hold with the other luggage. Sometimes, flight attendants may even allow pet owners to keep their pets as carry-ons if the plane is not full.

The second way pets may travel is when they are sent as a sort of shipment. This type of travel is rather tricky, as it requires a lot of paperwork, certificates, and permits such as customs clearances from inbound and outbound countries.

It is important to note that many countries stipulate that pets may only enter via this second option, as a shipment, as in the case of the UAE.

By plane, or by car?
If you are simply going on vacation, be sure to carefully consider the risks of travel for animals before bringing your four-legged friend along. A long trip could be dangerous for a pet, especially those that have respiratory problems. Even without health concerns, a plane journey may be very disturbing to an animal due to sounds such as engine noises and change in atmospheric pressure in the cargo hold. Thus, traveling by car or train could be a better option than flying for some animals. Your pet may even enjoy a car ride, or at least they will be reassured by your presence.

Shehadeh, who is an agent and representative of the International Pet and Animal Association in Jordan, also mentioned that it is best for the animal not to be anesthetized — when they are fully conscious during travel, pets can alert people if dangerous incidents occur.

So, the next time you decide to travel with your furry friend, be sure to check all the regulations of both the departure and arrival countries, train your pet to stay in a travel carrier, and communicate with your airline to make sure your journey is smooth and safe.

Read more Travel

Jordan News