For many Kiwis, the pet is very much a part of the family, and leaving Fido at home while the rest of the clan enjoys an escape just isn’t an option. According to a survey by travel website Wotif.co.nz, almost half of New Zealand pet owners say they go everywhere with their fur-kids, and holidays are no exception. And not to worry, if for some reason their pet can’t go, 23% of them will at least get a souvenir.
Dogs are definitely the more popular species, with 90% of the animals taken away on holidays being canines. Cats, perhaps not too surprisingly, accounted for just 5.5% of travelling pets.
Wotif.com’s product director Donna Rodios says the results show that “96.9% of pet-friendly holidays began in the car, with plane journeys accounting for only 2.5%” – perhaps a good thing, considering the inherent difficulties of taking animals abroad.
“When flying, dogs and cats have to travel in a cage that meets the airline’s guidelines, so make sure you check their requirements,” says Ms Rodios. “If your pet isn’t familiar with a cage, it pays to prepare them by placing them in one overnight in the lead-up to your trip and reward them with treats for a job well done. That way they’re less likely to throw a wobbly when you check them in!”
Of course, a must-do before leaving home is to make sure you have some good pet insurance in place – and check your policy carefully to make sure Fido is covered at all stages of the trip. Air travel in particular is something that could be mentioned in the policy conditions, and not all providers will cover it. An unfamiliar environment, with so much to explore, could also mean animals are more prone to accidents or illness.
An added thing to bear in mind when transporting your fuzzy friend in the car, according to Ms Rodios, is comfort.
“Remember, pets can be susceptible to car sickness, especially on longer journeys, so it’s wise to avoid a big meal before you hit the road and definitely don’t give them anything new or exotic.”
She also offers advice on helping the settling-in process: “It’s always a good idea to pack some of your pet’s home comforts so they feel as comfortable as possible in the new environment – remember, they can be fussy, so letting them eat out of their own bowl is a good way to help them settle.”
With your family and pet travel checklist all ticked off, you’re good to go.