LET THE FUR FLY

Want to take your four-legged friends on hol­i­day? Here’s how

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - TIANA TEMPLEMAN

Pigs can’t fly, right? Well, yes and no. A pig and its owner were re­cently kicked off a US Air­ways flight af­ter the porky pet be­came dis­rup­tive be­fore take­off. While you can’t take a piggy on a plane in Aus­tralia, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your dog or cat on hol­i­day. Vir­gin Aus­tralia even re­wards pet own­ers with fre­quent flyer points for their jet­set­ting pooch (or kitty).

There is only one way to stop your fur baby from giv­ing you the cold shoul­der when you re­turn home from your trav­els, and that is to take them with you.

CAN MY PET TRAVEL BY PLANE?

Only ser­vice dogs are per­mit­ted to travel in a plane’s pas­sen­ger cabin in Aus­tralia, but other an­i­mals can be ac­com­mo­dated in the cargo hold in a pet trans­port crate. “The crate must be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down in,” says Ali Web­ster, ex­ec­u­tive man­ager of freight and cater­ing at Qan­tas. “It must also have a wa­ter bowl big enough for the jour­ney that is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by your pet and fil­l­able from out­side the cage.”

Dogs and cats are wel­come on Vir­gin Aus­tralia flights while Qan­tas also ac­cepts rab­bits, guinea pigs and do­mes­tic fish and birds.

“Visit your vet be­fore fly­ing with your pet to en­sure they are fit and healthy to fly,” Web­ster says. “Also en­sure your pet has time to get fa­mil­iar with its travel crate a few weeks or months be­fore trav­el­ling. And fi­nally, re­mem­ber to put a favourite com­fort toy or blan­ket in with them.”

CAN I TAKE MY PET OVER­SEAS?

Some air­lines such as KLM, Air France, United Air­lines and US Air­ways will let you bring small pets into the pas­sen­ger cabin on do­mes­tic flights. How­ever, you will need to get your furry friend over­seas first.

Due to the com­plex­ity of quar­an­tine laws and to en­sure your pet’s well­be­ing, an ap­proved In­ter­na­tional Pet and An­i­mal Trans­porta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (ipata.org) agent should be used if you are fly­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

ANY TIPS FOR FLY­ING?

Con­sider fly­ing early in the morn­ing or in the late af­ter­noon to min­imise the chance of heat stress, par­tic­u­larly if you are trav­el­ling to or from a warm des­ti­na­tion. On the day of travel, give your pet the op­por­tu­nity to go to the toi­let, stretch and ex­er­cise be­fore check-in at the cargo ter­mi­nal.

“Cus­tomers and their pets should ar­rive 90-120 min­utes be­fore depar­ture” Web­ster says.

“Com­plet­ing the rel­e­vant pa­per­work on­line in ad­vance will save you time.”

Do not med­i­cate your pet. “We urge peo­ple not to se­date their pet as it’s im­por­tant for us to tell if they are sick or sleepy when we check on them at dif­fer­ent points in the jour­ney,” Web­ster says.

WHAT ABOUT A ROAD TRIP?

Thirty min­utes into an eight-hour car jour­ney is not the time to dis­cover your pet gets car sick, so do a trial run first if they aren’t used to trav­el­ling by car. An ap­proved dog ve­hi­cle re­straint (or pet car­rier for smaller an­i­mals) will help to en­sure ev­ery­one has a safe and com­fort­able jour­ney. Make reg­u­lar stops so your pet can stretch their legs and go to the toi­let, but keep them on a lead so they don’t run away. If you would like to travel to or from Tas­ma­nia but would pre­fer not to fly, your pet can travel in one of the Spirit of Tas­ma­nia’s pur­pose­built ken­nels for $22 each way.

WHAT ABOUT AC­COM­MO­DA­TION?

Joanne Ke­own from BIG4 Gold Coast Hol­i­day Park says own­ers should al­ways tell their ac­com­mo­da­tion provider they are trav­el­ling with a pet.

“You should def­i­nitely let them know in ad­vance,” she says.

“Even if a hol­i­day park (or other ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion) is pet friendly, not all cab­ins may be suit­able for pets.”

While your dog or cat should never be al­lowed to roam free, it can

RE­MEM­BER TO PUT A FAVOURITE COM­FORT TOY OR BLAN­KET IN WITH THEM

be a good idea to en­sure their mi­crochip owner-con­tact de­tails are up to date just in case they do wander off. At­tach­ing an ID tag to their col­lar makes it even eas­ier for a good Sa­mar­i­tan to re­unite you.

WHAT ABOUT LEAV­ING THEM BE­HIND?

If your pet is stay­ing home, you can leave them at a cat­tery or ken­nel or with a hous­esit­ter. The best board­ing fa­cil­i­ties get booked up well in ad­vance, so don’t leave it too late. Ask friends for rec­om­men­da­tions or visit nearby fa­cil­i­ties and choose the one you think your pet will like best.

If you would like some­one to look af­ter your pet in your home and can’t find a pet-lov­ing hous­esit­ter us­ing word of mouth, there are ser­vices that can help.

PetCloud, a web­site where pet own­ers can search a na­tional net­work of trusted and po­licechecked pet sit­ters, is part-owned by RSPCA Queens­land and a por­tion of the prof­its go back to the RSPCA to help an­i­mals in need.

Deb Mor­ri­son, founder of PetCloud, sug­gests ar­rang­ing a meet-and-greet at your house to see how the pet­sit­ter in­ter­acts with your pet. “Go through your pet’s nor­mal rou­tine and talk about what you want the hous­esit­ter to do,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go with your gut in­stinct if you are hav­ing doubts.”

If you or­gan­ise the meet-and­greet a month or two in ad­vance, there is still time to find another sit­ter if the first one isn’t a good fit.

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK

AN­I­MAL AN­TICS A Jack Rus­sel ter­rier is all smiles while on hol­i­day with its own­ers in Amalfi, Italy.

CRATE TRAVEL

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