By car, Médor! According to the peer-to-peer pet sitting site Holidog, more than one in two animals goes on vacation with their owners in the summer. How to travel safely with a furball? The question was asked of a veterinarian and an animal behavior specialist.
This summer, some are counting on their cousin Christian to come and feed Minouche, use a kennel to take care of Médor during their absence or even pet-sitters! For others, there is no question of leaving their four-legged companion behind. Holidays are all together, that’s all!
The importance of preparations
Is your dog welcome at your vacation spot? This is the first thing to check. One in two French people has a pet, but more and more tourism professionals are refusing their little fellow travelers. Some rentals impose an additional cost per animal, while others are not at all adapted to accommodate a runaway animal.
On the journey side, we must also anticipate. “The animal feels the stress of going on vacation. Especially cats, because they are much less willing to travel than dogs ”, explained Claire Bentolila, animal behaviorist in Yvelines. “The ideal thing for a cat is to get it used to its transport case, by placing it in the house a few days before departure”, indicated for his part, Gilles Ropert, veterinarian in Finistère.
For anxious animals, veterinarians may prescribe neuroleptic or antinausea medications. “Most of the time the animal is anxious and not a victim of motion sickness”, said Gilles Ropert.
Finally, before leaving, “We must also ensure that the animal is properly vaccinated, adds the vet. Abroad the vaccine against rabies is compulsory. In France, it depends on municipal decrees. “ In Finland, the United Kingdom, or even Malta, the animal must be immunized against echinococcosis, for example. The owners must therefore check, before leaving, that the health record of their quadruped is up to date.
To arrive safely with Médor or Minouche, “The precautions are the same as when traveling with a newborn baby”, says Gilles Ropert. Cats must travel in a transport crate and dogs must be attached to the belt using a harness. The specialist recalls that“An unattached 40 kg dog can become a fatal projectile in the event of an impact”.
In the event of an inspection, if the police or gendarmes notice that your animal represents “ a risk to the freedom of your movements or your field of vision ”, you are liable to a 2nd class fine of 35 euros. “And as for the driver, it is necessary to plan a stop every two hours for the animal”, continues the veterinarian. When Médor rehydrates and stretches his legs, be sure to keep him on a leash so that he does not escape from the highway area.
On the rails and in the air
Claire Bentolila reminds that the conditions for travel by train or plane are very strict concerning pets: “Big dogs should be muzzled by train. “
On its website, the SNCF indicates that the ticket for a pet weighing less than 6 kg “Costs 7 euros aboard TGV, Intercités and TER”. For larger furballs, “The ticket is equivalent to 50% of the full price of a second class ticket”.
By train, “Animals over 6 kg must be muzzled throughout the journey”, indicates the SNCF. As for guide dogs, they travel “For free at your feet and without a ticket on board all our trains”, specifies the SNCF on its site.
In the air, pets are not welcome in companies. In cases where they are allowed to embark, it will be in “Pressurized holds for animals”, says Claire Bentolila. At the airport, take the animal’s “health passport”, issued to all veterinarians.
Once arrived, “The dog will feel at home if his master feels at home, explains the behaviorist. The cat is territorial. He will need to explore the place to appropriate the space. You have to show him the location of his litter and his bowl. “ To avoid disturbing Minouche, do not forget to take his litter and his usual kibble. There are also “de-stressers” for cats based on pheromones (chemical substitutes for hormones), in the form of a spray.
Gilles Ropert, used to seasonal consultations, also advises to keep with you a small first aid kit for the animal with “His health record, prescriptions for current treatments, the address of the nearest veterinarian, as well as an anti-tick pliers, compresses and disinfectant”. Being far-sighted will avoid, according to him, “To spoil a day of vacation”.