Traveling with pets is a source of stress for many owners, and understandably so. Animals can be like small children – they have specific requirements, but can’t tell you what those are. That’s what leads people to rely on conventional wisdom about pet transportation. These factoids can be based in reality, or they can be baseless myths.
So let’s try and debunk a few of those misconceptions here!
Myth #1: Flying with pets is safe if you bring them onboard as carry-on luggage
Not necessarily. It’s safer than the cargo hold, but air pressure can be an issue in the cabin too. While keeping an eye on your pet can calm the nerves, your options are still limited. Many airlines ban snub-nosed dogs, unwilling to accept the liability for health issues that might occur. This risk applies whether they’re flying as carry-on or as cargo.
The solution is obvious, but not always convenient: transport high-risk breeds by car, boat, or train.
Myth #2: Stressed-out pets must be sedated to travel
Sedation has long been a touchy subject in pet transportation. Some animals suffer from acute travel anxiety – relocating them without sedatives would be the greater risk. However, that is rarely the case. For the vast majority of animals, the stress caused by travel is manageable with preparation and monitoring.
And as we always say, never sedate a pet without consulting a veterinarian! Using only the prescribed medication and dosage makes sure the animal remains happy and healthy.
Myth #3: Paying for pet transportation services is a waste of money
You might think it’s not that big of a deal, moving with pets. Why waste hundreds of dollars? Just bring them along with you! How much of a hassle could that be?
As it turns out, there’s about a million little things to consider. If you put in the effort, you might be able to relocate your own pet without too much trouble. But for most people, hiring a reliable professional instead is the easier, safer option.
Myth #4: Hiring a pro means you don’t have to worry about a thing
All right, so you pony up and book a pet transporter. That means you’re off the hook, right? You can sit back, relax, and let trained professionals worry about everything else? Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that.
When choosing a driver for your pet, it’s important to know what it is you’re looking for. Someone who genuinely cares about animals and their well-being? Someone who’s straightforward and gets the job done quickly? Maybe someone who offers you the best price possible? All of the above? The choice is yours, and even after you’ve made it, you’ll need to prepare your pet for the trip.
Myth #5: It’s cruel to keep multiple animals together in the same vehicle
Veteran pet transporters often ship multiple animals along the same route, cutting down on travel expenses. This worries some owners, who feel that their fur babies won’t enjoy sharing space with other animals. This can be a legitimate cause for concern if the animal struggles with anxiety. In those cases, paying extra for private transport is usually the safest option.
But most of the time, there is nothing to worry about. Each pet is kept inside its own carrier; they’re taken out for walks one at a time. They’re never in contact with each other, and a clean bill of health is usually a prerequisite for travel.
Myth #6: Cats will never get used to being driven around
It’s common knowledge that felines are uncomfortable with car travel. Whether it’s motion sickness or anxiety in unfamiliar environments, something rubs them the wrong way. There are exceptions, but for most cats, it’s useless to even try to get them to relax.
Except… that’s not exactly true either. There’s a number of ways to manage a cat’s stress before the car ride. Crate-training is a good first step, but there’s a bit more to that as well. Of course, it helps if you entrust your kitty to someone who knows what they’re doing.
Myth #7: Dogs with serious medical conditions should not travel
It’s a sad fact of life, but family pets fall ill. Some owners decide against putting them through the stress that travel entails. After all, who knows what might exacerbate their condition? Better to be safe than sorry, and leave them at home.
This can be a valid concern. In conditions of high humidity and heat, dogs with breathing problems or heart conditions are at an elevated risk. But even they can travel safely, given certain precautions. For all other medical issues, please follow your vet’s advice closely and share it with your transporter.