From India to EU… making pet travel easy

Here are the prerequisites for transport of dogs from India to the EU (Germany, Austria).

5-6 months before departure

Veterinarian: Identify an authorised veterinarian in India who has experience with dogs travelling overseas. He should have microchips and a blood-serum-centrifuge at the clinic as well as a connection to EU-laboratories and a reliable courier company.

4 months before departure

Microchip + blood test: Minimum three months before the departure and minimum 30 days afterComplete Care vaccination, blood sample of the dog needs to be taken for a serological test. “This serological test for rabies has to be carried out as follows: a neutralising antibody titration at least equal to 0.5 IU/ml carried out on a sample taken by an authorised veterinarian at least 30 days after vaccination and three months before being moved. The titration has to be carried out in an EU-approved laboratory.” (Web source: Government of Austria: Entry and re-entry of dogs, cats, ferrets and other pets into Austria when travelling from third countries)

The blood-serum must be sent via courier (recommended: FedEx; if necessary special permissions for import of blood-samples into the EU for laboratory-tests are done by the courier company). The serum should be packed in ice immediately by the veterinarian, who then informs the courier company right away. During the transport of the serum from the Indian vet-clinic to the EU-laboratory the cold chain needs to be stable. Once at the EU-approved laboratory in the EU, the rules and regulations are the same for Austria and Germany as well as for many other EU-countries. However, check for exceptions like Finland, Malta, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Each animal has to be identified by a clearly readable microchip. The microchip number has to be identical with the number used on all forms.

2-3 months before departure

Airlines: Check the updated rules and regulations for pet travel on the website of the airlines.

  • Call before your booking to check if space is available on the plane in the cargo hold. Upto eight kg (container size up to 55x40x23 cm) the pet can travel in the cabin.
  • Book your flight tickets to the EU. Your pets must be on the same plane.
  • Register your dog(s) via phone with the airline using your booking code.
  • Purchase a flight-transport-container for your dog(s). The dog must be able to comfortably lie down and stand up in the container. Some airlines also provide a transport container. However, if you have your own, the dog can get used to it before travel. Transport containers are available at pet shops.

14 days before departure

EU-forms: The authorised veterinarian needs to examine the dog(s) maximum 14 days before departure and fill in the necessary forms: “Veterinary certificate for domestic dogs, cats and ferrets entering the European community for non-commercial movements (Regulation (EC)No 998/2003)”

48 hours before departure

Indian quarantine certificate: The last certificate needs to be obtained maximum 48 hours before departure from the Indian Animal Quarantine and Certification Service Station.

Approximate expenses: costs (costs can vary)

  • Microchip + Blood sample + Service charge at the vet: 4,500 INR
  • Courier (FedEx) transport of serum from India to EU: 2,000 INR
  • EU-Laboratory Fee for Test + Certificate to be paid directly to the Lab;
    35 Euro – 75 Euro depending on the Lab (2,300) 5,000 INR
  • Flight transport: depending on the Airline; New regulations from 1st June 2011 at Austrian Airlines: Price per transport container (not weight of dog as before: 30 Euro/kg), depending on the size of container; e.g. container: 80x55x55cm (Medium size) = 150 Euro or 9,800 INR
  • Transport Container (M size) (5,500) 6,500 INR
    Sum of all costs per dog approximately is (425 Euro) 27,800 INRImportant forms, regulations and addresses: links + contacts
  • Government of Austria: “Entry and re-entry of dogs, cats, ferrets and other pets into
    Austria when travelling from third countries”
    http://www.bmg.gv.at/cms/home/attachments/3/9/2/CH1116/CMS1291991395990/rei
    severkehr_tiere_juli_2010_en_bmg_c.pdf)
  • List of important documents (Movement of Pets) Information and specimen certificate: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/nocomm_third_en.htm
  • Recommended EU approved Laboratories:
    AUSTRIA: AGES Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen, Robert Koch Gasse 17,
    A2340 Mödling, Austria, Fr. Dr. Wodak, ph: 0043(0)50555-38230, eveline.wodak@ages.at; www.ages.at/ages/ueber-uns/veterinaermedizin/formulare/tollwut-formulare/, Test done every month; Results available after 1-2 weeks;
    Costs: 57 to 70 Euro GERMANY: Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen/ Diagnostic Laboratory
    Institute of Virology Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Frankfurter Str. 107, D-35392 Giessen, Germany, Fr. Dr. Schichowski, ph: 0049(0)6419938351-63, diagnostik@vetmed.unigiessen.de, web: www.vetmed.uni-giessen.de/viro/en/diagnostik.php; Tests done 3x per week. Results available after 3 days. Costs: 35 to 45 Euro
  • List of EU-approved laboratories for serological rabies tests:
    http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/approval_en.htm
  • Recommended Vet: Dr Chaggars Dog & Cats Clinic, D-150 Saket, New Delhi-110017,
    Ph: 011-26963525, 011-26515990, 011-26564087, 011-26962774, 09810089089, Email: drchaggars@gmail.com
  • Animal Quarantine and Certification Service Station:
    Dr Vijay Kumar, Quarantine Officer (SR), Animal Quarantine and Certification Service Station, Kapashera,
    New Delhi – 110 037, Tel: 011-2506 3272, Fax: 011-2506 0647
  • Recommended Airlines: Lufthansa: www.lufthansa.com (Transport of Animals), Ph:+49-1 80-5747100 Austrian Airlines: www.austrian.com (Transport of Animals), Ph: +43 (0)5 1766 1001

(All information has been carefully collected by the author through interviews with various veterinaries in New Delhi, pet-parents who travelled overseas from India and through research on the internet. Some of the regulations might change very fast. Therefore please check all sources relevant for your pet and country of destination before departure).

Wags can tag along…

Are you relocating to another country? Are you worried who will take care of your pooch? Can you take your pooch along? The good news is yes…you can take your pooch along. There are professional companies which help you to relocate safely with your pooch. Here’s more info on Pet Travel, which offers pet travel services to more than 70 countries across the world.

There were times when we found our clients struggling to find a way to carry their important family member with them, that is, their pet child. Within India, most families travel by road with their pet. However, the same is not possible when you relocate to another country, particularly with so many complex rules and regulations in place. Safety and proper handling of the pet in transit has been another worry for the relocating families. When many of our clients requested us to handle this worry for them, we prepared ourselves to take up this challenge and in 2008, we launched this service for our clients, says Sanjay Goel, chairman, Pet Travel which is engaged in quality relocation of families and corporates within India and abroad.

Helping pet parents relocate…

“We have handled over 100 pets since we started our operations. Besides, we have also relocated pets from250x318-images-stories-issue-may12-014 one country to another without bringing them to India. We have handled many species of dogs and cats, however most popular breed is Labrador among dogs and Persian among cats,” he adds proudly. “God has been kind to us till now and we have not had an unhappy customer so far. Though we do have to face client anxiety which is normal as most of the clients are relocating their pets for the first time and they have scores of questions. Based on their queries, we have prepared FAQs which usually answer most of their queries. However, there is always a dedicated Pet Travel Advisor available at hand for them,” adds Sanjay as a matter of fact.

The process…

Normally, the pet relocation process starts almost three months before the actual travel takes place. It starts with medical examination of the pet for her fitness and then for diseases, if any. “All documentation is readied so that pet is not stranded in transit. All quarantine formalities are completed in advance. Then, IATA approved Travel Crate of right size is selected for comfortable travel of the pet and proper co-ordination is maintained with airlines and customs at both ends to eradicate chances of discomfort to the pet or her pet parent. There are almost 40 activities that take place prior to export of pet and almost 27 activities that take place prior to import of pet,” tells Sanjay.

Services – far and wide…

“We are members of International Pet Animal Transport Association (IPATA), the global association for pet shipping experts and Animal Transport Association (ATA), the association which promotes uniform and effective international regulations and humane handling of live animals. Besides sharing latest developments, changes in rules and regulations and expertise in animal transportation, these associations have presence in over 70 countries with more than 350 members. As such, there are very few countries in the world which we cannot serve. Lastly, as members of these associations, we are governed by the live animal handling protocols of these associations. This also ensures that our work standards are at par with the best in the world and no compromise in service can take place at any level at our end,” adds Sanjay.

The future plans…

“We have noticed that very few people are aware of pet travel services and many do not travel with their pet child as they are not sure of safety and comfort of their family pet in transit. We plan to spread awareness about pet travel and how easy it is to make it happen without any stress or hassles with a proper agency which has necessary exposure and expertise,” briefs Sanjay.

Advice to pet parents…

“Do not worry at all. Pet Relocation is quite simple, hassle free and much cheaper than you think. Just hire the right people to do the job,” concludes Sanjay happily.

Relocation tips

  • Plan your pet relocation well in advance.
  • Consider the weather when you move, especially for a long distance or international pet transport. For example, if you have snub-nosed breeds it is not advisable to transport them long distances in very hot weather as they can have complications with their breathing. Again planning the pet transport in advance and choosing the right time of the year will help greatly.
  • Choose the right type of pet transport container for your pet.
  • As a general rule, your pet must be able to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably in the container. The container should have appropriate ventilation and construction to accommodate the size and weight of the animal.
  • Familiarise your pet with the travel container a few days prior to pet relocation. Put some bedding and some toys in the container and have your pet sleep in it a few times to get used to it.
  • On the day of the pet transport, put some toys or an old T-shirt in the container.
  • Do not over feed pets prior to relocation. Like us, pets can get motion sickness during travel and with a full stomach it can become even more difficult for them. Try not to feed them on the day of pet relocation or give them only a light snack. Give them a nice long walk or have some playtime with them before they travel, this will help them relax. Give them plenty of water before they travel.
  • Like people, our pets have different personalities as well, some get more stressed than others. They mostly respond according to how we act around them, if you are getting stressed, they will sense it.

Did you know?

Different countries… different rules

  • All animals entering South Africa must travel as manifested cargo and not as excess baggage.
  • There is a seven days quarantine period for pets entering into China, the pets can be released home if the tests show negative results.
  • Microchip is a must for entry into Singapore. It should comply with ISO standard. No other form of identification is acceptable.
  • Dogs and cats of less than two months old and/or more than four weeks pregnant cannot be imported in Hong Kong.
  • Import Permit required from the Ministry of Agriculture to enter into Indonesia.
  • There is mandatory 30 days quarantine for all live animals entering Australia.

Documents required for export of pet

  • Name & address of the pet parents with 24 hours telephone number in the country of origin as well as destination country.
  • Three photographs of pet in standing position.
  • Copy of passport and ticket of the pet parent.
  • Details of pet such as name, age, colour, breed, sex, microchip number and size of kennel in which pet will travel.
  • Health certificate from local vet. To certify that the pet is ‘FIT FOR TRAVEL’ before 15 days of travelling.
  • NOC for export from animal quarantine before seven days of travelling.
  • Serum blood test report from government recognised vet (also known as Anti-Rabies Test), if required.
  • Details of vaccination report of the pet.
  • Authority letter from the pet parent in our name for all necessary formalities & to collect NOC on behalf of the pet parent.
  • Size of the IATA approved crate in which the pet will travel.

Documents required for import of pet

  • Details of pet such as name, age, colour, breed, microchip number and size of kennel in which pet will travel.
  • Passport and ticket copy of the pet parent.
  • Vaccination report of the pet.
  • Name & address of the pet parent of the country of origin and the country of destination.
  • International health certificate endorsed by the government authority.
  • Quarantine protocol endorsed by the government of the country of origin.
  • Flight details and date of travelling of pet.
  • Airway bill copy, if travelling as manifested cargo.
  • Letter to airlines to collect delivery order signed by the pet parent.
  • Authority letter on travel agency’s name to collect NOC and custom clearance on behalf of the pet parent.

For details, log on to: www.pettravel.in

FAQs about air travel


Is it safe for pets to fly?

Air travel is as safe for pets as it is for people. Your pet will travel in a special cabin on the cargo deck of the aircraft. This section is both climate controlled and pressurised for your pet’s safety and comfort, and it is on the same air circulation system as the passenger cabin.

Should my pet be tranquilised or sedated for the trip?

A crucial piece of advice is not to tranquilise pets during their transportation. It has negative side effects on respiration and on their blood pressure, especially at high altitudes.

Will my pet have food and water during the journey?

We provide your pet purified and safe water to drink at the airport before departure. We provide water in the sipper attached with the bottle which is fitted alongside the crate. Before the trip please prepare two portions of your pet’s food in two separate plastic bags. We will attach these portions to the outside of the crate at pick-up time, and they will be available in the event that your pet’s trip is delayed.

When should I get started?

As early as you can!! Many countries have entry requirements that require us to start up to seven months prior to the pet’s relocation date.

What if my pet is a wee bit aggressive?

Some airlines and foreign governments have aggressive breed restrictions. Pet Travel maintains a list of restricted breeds. Your pet will be denied boarding if he exhibits aggressive behaviour during screening of his body and crate.

Can my two pets travel together?

For safety reasons, each pet must travel in a separate crate. In most of the countries two pets are allowed in one passport.

What is the difference between ‘Excess Baggage’ and ‘Air Cargo’?

‘Excess Baggage’ is when your pet is checked through with you and your luggage in the passenger terminal, but travels in the cargo hold on the plane. ‘Air Cargo’ is when your pet travels without a passenger and is checked in through a cargo terminal. The cargo terminals have livestock holding rooms and are used to dealing with many types of animals.

Where will my pet be placed in the aircraft?

Your pet will travel in the livestock hold which is pressurised, climate-controlled and situated below the pasenger cabin.

Will my pet be stressed from the flight?

More than a million pets fly safely worldwide every year and are well cared for. It is the captain’s responsibility to know whether or not there are animals on board and that certain procedures are adhered to. All animals are checked and watered on stopovers.

Should I feed my pet before he is collected?

No, there should be no feeding for at least eight hours prior to collection, to avoid your pets from soiling their travel containers. You may, however, give your pets water.

Weekend hangouts with your pooch

Just like us, pets like to feel loved and cared for. Moreover, studies indicate that spending time with pets helps reduce stress, fight depression, control blood pressure and provide a number of other physical and mental benefits. Here are a few simple ways for you to bond with your dog.

  • Get some exercise: Take your pet to the park for a game of Frisbee or just to run around and have some fun. You’ll get some good exercise in the process too! Figure out a time when the park is not too crowded- so that you can take them off the leash (if they are controllable!). During your walk- take notice of your surroundings and the little things we often overlook!
  • Go for a drive with music: Most dogs love the feel of wind on their face!
  • Set up a doggie play date: If your dog gets along with other dogs, call a friend who also has a dog and let the two of them socialise. Doggies like to make new friends too!
  • Take a dog friendly vacation: This requires substantial planning, so plan ahead of time.
  • Curl up with a book or watch a movie: Let your dog sit close to you or in your lap. The human touch is very comforting to them!
  • Teach an old dog a new trick: Yes, this is possible! Start by trying to teach him something simple. Show your dog a treat and guide him with it.
  • Dog therapy: Pet therapy is not for all dogs but if your dog is exceptionally well behaved and socialised, it is a very rewarding experience. I recently took my dog Sara to a children’s NGO- and spoke with them about dogs, and how to treat them on the road. It was a great time for the kids and Sara had a lovely time too!
  • Groom your pet yourself: Dog grooming is one of your dog’s basic needs and an important part of pet parenting. More often than not, many owners leave this task to household help. It’s imperative that you groom your pet occasionally yourself to check for rashes and skin infections. Also give your pet a nice scrubby bath!
  • Play an indoor game such as hide and seek. All dogs enjoy this! Hide somewhere easy in your home and call out to your dog. Make a huge fuss when he finds you, and soon there’ll be lots of excitement, wags and barks. Your dog will learn the game very quick and it’s a lot of fun!
  • Take some photos with your pet that will make for wonderful memories.
  • Take them along for errands: If you’re running simple errands such as picking up your kids from school, or taking a short drive to pick up groceries- take your pet along in the car. Your mundane errands will suddenly become a lot more fun and your dog will love the chance to be your companion. In case you need to step out of the car for a few minutes, do not leave your dog inside the car, especially in summer.
  • Go for a family picnic with your dog: We recently took Sara- our Lab to Delhi’s Lodhi Garden for a lovely early morning picnic. While we enjoyed our music and chat with family and friends- Sara sat right in the midst of all of us and loved all the attention and her own packed picnic breakfast!
  • Spend time at a dog spa together. Lavish your pet with therapies to make her relax.

So, you don’t have to actually take time out for bonding…anytime is good time!!!

(Heads Up For Tails is a pet corner for a huge collection of luxury accessories to pamper your furry babies from head to tail. To schedule a ‘Pawtrait’, please contact: huft08@gmail.com.)

Multiply fun and joy at vacations

The problem…

If your holiday plans are always hampered or have you worried about leaving Bruno with a neighbour or a relative, a kennel that is hygienic, safe and would care enough when you are away on your travels, most of the time one ends up with canceled plans or short breaks or simply worrying about your pet instead of enjoying your holiday.

The solution…

Mahindra Homestays, a part of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited, offers over 350 homes across 52 destinations and 15 states of India and about 50 percent of them are pet friendly. The homestays that allow pets have hosts who love having pets around and one can’t miss that they also are pet owners, making them empathise with a pet’s needs. As Jaideep Singh of Madhu Pushp Bhawan, Rajasthan puts it, “My pet name is Johnny and since most of the people do not allow pets in their hotels, we give the tourists a facility to stay with their pets.” Their own pets also usually get along well with the paw guests. Safety of all the pets and other guests are also taken care of.

Your pet stays with you and is allowed to roam free (if everyone is comfortable). The best part of such a trip for your pet is that these homes are huge and have a lot of space for running around and playing (unlike city homes). The pets also get to have the company of other pets and new people. Usually pets stay is not charged but this would depend from home to home and on the length of stay and on special requirements for your pet.

Various types of houses including heritage homes (havelis, tharavad houses, palaces etc) or plantation home and farms, and city homes with modern touches (like in Kochi, Jaipur, Delhi) and rural homes (Ladakh, Kewsing, Sindhudurg) are part of the portfolio giving a traveler enough choice of experiences and culture but with a wide range of prices to suit all budgets. One can even choose to experience a real rural lifestyle by visiting their homes in Spiti, Pali and Ladakh.

The experience…

The essential homestay experience is similar to staying with relatives or your closest friends. You may go out with your pet or leave him behind in loving and caring hands knowing that they are looked after. “Normally, pet parents take care of the pet, we just guide them,” told Jaideep Singh. For their feeding, usually the hosts are happy to feed them whatever their own pets eat but if you bring along dry food that’s taken care of for their meals too. You can see the staff or the host even taking your dog out for a walk, however, some homeowners may expect guests to ensure that the pets do not create a mess. As Priyanshika Sur puts it, “My daughter’s (pet) name is Persia and we took her on a vacation at one of Mahindra Homestays venue.

The staff was very friendly and we had a good time. It’s a great effort of Mahindra Homestays.”

For more information visit: www.mahindrahomestays.com

Pet Travel

Doubling the fun and adventure…

For those who love thrill and adventure, trekking is fun. And, if you have a pooch and are planning a holiday in the Himalayas, take him along. They’ll surely love it, just like our pawstar Sheeba!

Last summer, we were the only people in Ladakh trekking with our dog, Sheeba (Indian mixed with Basenji). WePet travel took her in the car from Delhi to Darcha, the starting point of the Zanskar Valley Trek to Lamayuru (20 days). And, we flew back from Leh to Delhi. It was surprisingly easy, for her and for us. Here are five tips to make trekking easier with your pooch:

Acclimatizing in high altitude for city dogs: Sheeba had no problems at all acclimatizing to the high altitude of Ladakh. She was running up the rocky mountains like she would run up a little hill. In fact, she must have done the trek three times by running forward and backward, checking on us slow humans. Even when we reached the highest pass on the trek (nearly 5500 m) she was not only the first on top but also still smiling while we were catching our breath.

Feeding the dog on the trek: We fed dry active-dog-food (high energy food) as well as eggs, paneer, rice, milk, pasta and potatoes to Sheeba.

Protect wild life from your dog: Due to the enormous space she had in Ladakh (no trees), running was fun for her and we could see her all the time. Only when she was tempted to hunt marmots we would put her on the leash or put on a muzzle. Of course, she was absolutely not allowed to hunt any wild animals! Thanks God, she is well trained. So at the end of three weeks running she was one of the fittest and fastest dogs in India. Her fur was shiny, her muscles strong and she was very happy.

Watch out for other dogs and leopards: We also took Sheeba and her younger friend Cato (an Indian mixed breed) to Himachal Pradesh. This was also fun, but one had to be more careful because of the leopards. The leopards will usually not attack the dogs when they are near humans. So, our dogs were always with us. Unfortunately the mountain dogs, which protect the sheep and goats from leopards can be very aggressive towards other dogs. So we had to watch out for them more.

Bonding experience for dogs and humans: It was a great bonding time for us and we will take our dogs Sheeba and Cato to Ladakh this year again.

So, if you are planning a trekking adventure, take your pooch along… and have double the fun!

A vacation to remember

Whew! It’s vacation time…a time to have fun and joy and it is all about more fun when you take your pets along! Here are a few tips to make your picnic time safe and enjoyable with your pooches.

Like us, our dear pets too need a break from their daily routine to indulge in some fun filled action and get recharged. A trip with your pets is a wonderful way of showering them with some undivided attention and ample hours of joy that you can’t possibly spend with them otherwise, due to your mundane personal and professional commitments. However, since doggy picnics could at times bring along unexpected encounters and unpleasant experiences, it is a good idea to be cautious of all the possibilities and take some safety precautions while venturing out. The following few guidelines should serve as a handy checklist for all you guys planning to go on a vacation with your pet pooches.

Pet travel

  • Always keep your pets on leash: Dogs are naturally very inquisitive and may go exploring on their own if not constrained by a leash. While on a trek in a forest area or close to the hills, be careful to not let your pets roam around on their own, as there could be some dangerous reptiles, thorny bushes or marshy areas that you may not be aware of.
  • Carry lots of water and food and also the feeding bowls: Some dogs are very fussy about their food and may not try anything new. Carry lots of food that they regularly eat at home. Commercial dry dog food is easier to carry. Carry their regular eating bowls and always keep fresh water available to make sure that they do not sip water from a nearby lake or beach when thirsty.
  • Beware of fleas and ticks: Grass and bushes provide the ideal setup for flea and tick breeding. The best option is to use a spot-on or a tick collar beforehand so that they are effective while you are outdoor with your pets.
  • Carry raincoats, towels and your dog’s bed: Carry raincoats during monsoons and also towels to keep them clean and dry. When camping, do not make your pets sleep on the barren ground as it could be infested with several insects or could just be very hard and uncomfortable for them. A lot of private cottages and hotels that allow pets have special bedding for them but it’s always good to carry his bed along with you.
  • Lots of playtime means lots of toys: Carry lots of toys that will make your pets go wild and crazy. Balls and Frisbees are ideal for outdoor play. Also make sure that you don’t overwork your pets on a hot and humid day as too much of physical activity on a sunny day could result into a heat stroke that is very dangerous and even fatal at times.
  • Always be equipped with a first-aid kit: According to Dr Natasha Couto, a canine first-aid kit should have an antiseptic solution like Betadine for wound cleaning, a calamine lotion for sudden skin rashes, a thermometer, medications like Digene or Lomotil for tummy upset, Avil for allergy bouts, cotton pads and crepe bandages to cover wounds, activated charcoal tablets for poisoning, prescription antipyretic drugs for high fever and NSAIDs for arthritic pain. She also insists on carrying ice packs to combat heat stroke and over exertion.
  • Carry vaccination logs and contact numbers of your veterinarian or any animal hospital close by: Your pets should be vaccinated against rabies annually, so do check the vaccine status and due dates before leaving. A group picnic where a lot of pets are present could trigger dog fights and in worst cases one of them could get bitten too. So it’s important to get done with any pending vaccination especially if it’s the rabies shot. Also keep your veterinarian’s number handy and seek immediate medical help in case of poisoning or an accident. Discuss these possibilities with your vet prior to leaving and make a note of what needs to be done when confronted with an emergency situation.
  • People perspective: With a pet alongside you, you will get lots of smiles and stares. Be careful when children come to pet your dog. Always check if your dog is in the right frame of mind and is not scared of the place, people or children. Also with the people who are not comfortable with a pet around, respect their wishes and take your adorable canine citizen to another spot.

Vacation time is something that we all look forward to and if our baby pooches are to accompany us, the vacation becomes even more special. Have a ball of a time with your beloved babies and make each trip a memorial and well deserved experience for them!

Bon Voyage

This summer, take a vacation with your pooch to a pet-friendly hotel/resort. Here’s how to make your trips more comfortable and enjoyable

Sniff the hotels…

The comfort of your pet is your first priority. Check out the hotels in India which are pet friendly. It is important that you call and confirm the details. Call and check room descriptions, services offered and if any special arrangements have to be made for your pets. Get an email confirmation that it allows dogs to stay at their hotel.

Travelling with pets…Pet Travel

Travelling and staying with your pet at a hotel requires keeping decorum.

General tips for travelling…

  • Follow the rules of the place you are going to and stay.
  • Ensure that your dog has a nametag with name, owner’s name and contact number.
  • Carry a first aid kit–consult your veterinarian for what you need to carry.
  • Take his food and treats enough to last the trip.
  • Take along dishes, leash, dog toys, brush, towels, and bags for cleaning after your dog, all things that will keep him happy.
  • You need to get your dog’s health check done before a vacation to detect any problems before hand, so that no problem crops up during your holiday.
  • Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Take along a written proof with you on your holiday.
  • Keep your pet flea and tick free.

 

Travel by air

In domestic flights of Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Jet Lite your pet can travel in the cargo hold. The pilot should be informed in writing prior to the flight that there is a live animal in the cargo hold and he adjusts the temperature in the hold for the same. Pets below 10 weeks of age are not allowed to travel by flight. The charge for your pet travelling on the aircraft depends on the weight of your pet and differs from airline to airline. Here are some general rules for travelling with your pet by flight.

  • Your pet has to be duly vaccinated and you have to carry the vaccination history.
  • A certificate by a veterinarian is required to certify that your pet is physically fit to fly.
  • Your pet has to be placed in an IATA specified cage during the flight.
  • The maximum size of the cage can be 53” x 48” x 34” for Jet Airways. Some of the others airlines are not specific about the cage size.
  • The duty manager at the airport has to be informed 24 to 48 hours before the flight about your pet travelling on the flight.
  • The pet with his IATA specified cage has to be checked in three hours prior to the flight time.
  • For further queries on your pet travel contact the cargo department of the airlines.
  • We suggest that you offer water to your pet as close to two hours before the flight as possible.
  • Before boarding the aircraft, remain in the boarding area to confirm that your pet has been loaded.
  • When you board the aircraft, inform the captain and flight attendant that your pet is on board and require that they confirm to you that your pet has been loaded. If you do not have access to the captain, give the flight attendant a note for the captain in which you ask that he or she assure you that your pet has been loaded and is, in fact, on board.
  • Claim your pet as soon as possible after you reach your destination.
  • If your flight is not a non-stop, leave the aircraft and check on your pet during the layover. If the layover is long or the temperature a factor, confirm that the pet is unloaded for the layover and not allowed to remain in the cargo hold or out in the sunlight.
  • If the layover is long enough, claim your pet, take it for a walk, and offer him water before you reboard.
  • Never change planes without claiming and rechecking your pet, even if the airline gives you this option.

On the pet crate, attach a label with the flight information, destination, arrival contact name and number, as well as any special instructions for handlers. Place labels with the words ‘LIVE ANIMAL’ in letters at least one inch high with arrows pointing upright on all sides and an additional label without arrows on the top. We suggest including a friendly note printed on the top as follows: “Hi, I am , a going to on flight # . Thanks for taking good care of me.”

Travel by train…

 

  • A passenger can take a pet dog along with him in AC first class or first class only, provided he reserves either a two berth or a four berth compartment exclusively for his use, paying the due charges depending upon the type of train.
  • Passengers should contact railway booking counter to confirm the charges for the pets on board. The charges may vary as per the travel distance.

 

Travel by car…

  • Keep your car well ventilated and your dog cool.
  • Get a dog seat belt.
  • Don’t let him stick his head out the window while the car is moving.
  • Do not leave him in a parked car unattended or in the sun.
  • Stop every two to three hours to allow your dog to relieve himself.
  • Keep him hydrated all along.
  • Car sickness is stress related. If the first trip is handled well, then he will enjoy all his trips.
  • Begin with short trips of 10 to 15 minutes every day, maybe to the park so that he can enjoy himself. This will condition his mind to the fact that the journey will end with a treat.
  • Feed him light before the trip.
  • Keep water ready and a soft bed. Never leave your pet unattended.

 

Staying at a hotel…

  • Keep your pet on a leash. Do not let your dog run loose – it can be dangerous for him and for other animals in the vicinity. Keep the leash on when out walking.
  • Bring a poop scooper. Do not allow your pet to mess around and if he does, pick it up and clean up after him.
  • Also check for any restricted areas where the pet is not allowed.
  • Never leave the pet alone.
  • Keep the room clean by placing a blanket on any surface where your pet sits on or rests as it will help cleaning after you have left (dog hair is difficult to remove).
  • For a beach holiday, take along a ball and Frisbee for your dog, they also love to swim; if you are hiking or climbing and going on long walks and treks – keep drinking water handy and your pet on a leash.
  • Keep addresses and telephone numbers of nearby vets ready for any emergency.
  • Carry dry food along for your pet. Bring along one of his bedding that is washable so that your dog does not feel out of place.
  • Your dog is your responsibility. Do not trust anyone else to watch your pet.

If all these things are kept in mind, you will have a wonderful vacation and some beautiful memories for your picture book.

(Travel by air and train, courtesy: Anupama Vinayak of www.petvacations.in)

Flying safely with your dog

Are you planning to go on a trip by air and wish to take your pet dog along? A lot of questions would arise in your mind on how to do it. Radha Aima shares her own experience of flying from Bombay to Delhi with pet dog Zoon. Alandmark decision was made in the Aima household. The family huddled together, behind closed doors guzzling ample cups of tea weighing the pros and cons. Should we, shouldn’t we? Could she, couldn’t she? Zoon, the luscious blond, feme fatale of Bombay and the pride of the family, was to travel by air with her tizzy headed handler?–?Radha to Delhi. Finally exhausted, it was decided that she should and could.

The next major step was getting details from various airlines for taking her across. Flying with your dog is not easy but if you have do it once, then air travel is a piece of cake. When you book your ticket, ensure that the airline books your dog as well. Excess baggage will be charged for the pet including the carrier on actual weight basis and the same will not be clubbed with free baggage allowance.

Speak to the Cargo department of the airlines to get correct carrier dimensions. Make sure that the carrier has adequate ventilation. Also see whether the carrier has a water dish attached. Once they have given you that information, you can inquire from your vet or pet store where the carrier can be purchased. Make sure that the carrier is labelled and properly identifiable both from outside and inside. Don’t forget to write in bold the name of the pet, the passenger, flight number and destination on the carrier.

It is essential that you get the carrier home a week or two prior to travel. Put a couple of your pet’s favourite toys in it with a soft, absorbent sponge mattress underneath. This is so that your pet can get familiarised with it. A few days before travel, it is best that the dog sleeps inside the carrier at night and during the day. However, on the day of travel, remove all toys and keep only the spongy mattress. This is just a precaution so that in case your pet gets stressed, he doesn’t bite and choke on anything. However, some garment of yours that is unwashed can be put inside so that the pet feels comforted having the smell of the owner.

These days, vets discourage sedating a dog for travel. However, it is best to confirm with the vet directly. You will also need a good health certificate (original) from the vet along with a valid vaccination record (copy) for the airlines. Carry these with you on the day of travel.

It is advisable to feed a light meal 5-6 hours before the flight time. Make sure that they pass urine/stools before they travel. Once you reach the airport, the dog is to be walked with a leash inside the airport and the carrier carried along. A security check will be conducted of the carrier, by the airport officials and it is only when you check in your baggage that your pet is put inside the carrier, locked, weighed and then the airlines does its job of carrying your pet to the hold. Reassure your pet before this. A hug or two will be most comforting for your pet.

Once inside the aircraft, ensure that the pilot is told that your dog is travelling in the hold. A number of national carriers have pressurised holds only meant for pets. However, if it is a small aircraft, or the destination not one of the metros, reconfirm this.

Zoon and I finally travelled by Jet Airways, and I bless them every single day till date. I had arrived at the airport with a carrier large enough for a tiger to travel in. They were absolutely brilliant when they realised that the carrier could not fit in the hold. In 45 minutes flat, their carpenters stripped the whole carrier down and reconstructed it. The staff was extremely helpful and courteous.

When we arrived in Delhi, they were kind enough to let me go and see Zoon get off loaded from the hold and be put on the trolley to be taken to the airport. Hats off to them!

With my anxiety going out of control, I finally reached Zoon’s carrier. Can you imagine my shock when I saw her fast asleep!!

Well folks that’s our real life story for domestic travel. We are now off to the United States of America. This is another ball game completely and would love to share it with you later.

Holidaying with your dog

Want to go and freak out for holidays, but wish to take your dog along. Don’t worry! In this section, we will bring the holiday destinations where you can take your dog along. This time we are featuring Mercury Adventure and nature camp, Shivpuri (Rishikesh). It was in November 2000, that we had Angel (our Neapolitan Mastiff) coming to our home and it was a wonderful time that we had with her growing up in our apartment. But there was always one feeling that both me and my wife dwelled upon – Is she enjoying herself in the apartment, though she went down for her long walks to smell the grass, chase butterflies and play in the garden in the complex?

It was then, we planned that we would go on a holiday and would take Angel along with us, but the most pertinent question was – Where? Where is a place allowing us to bring the dog and let her be free? It was then that I spoke to this friend (Akshay Kumar) who owned a rafting camp in Shivpuri called the “Beach Camp” which we used to frequently visit. Akshay was more than happy to welcome Angel. We commenced on our journey in early September from Delhi. Our plan was to reach Dehradun and stay the night at our Grandma’s place for the night and then reach Shivpuri by the next afternoon. Angel used to love car rides but this being her first long drive, she enjoyed herself thoroughly. She was well rewarded throughout the drive and after we reached Dehradun, she was rewarded with beer for the first time and she wanted the whole bottle for herself. As happens to all of us post beer, she slept peacefully through the night and was up in time for the adventure ahead next morning.

We reached Shivpuri in the afternoon. The Beach camp is the only one to be on the other side of Ganges and one needs to cross the Ganges on the raft to reach the place. This is a beautiful place with tents and the pure perfect white sand beach running from end to end set at the foothills of the forest reserve. The water was cold but the weather was pretty warm with sun blazing in full glory. Angel quickly jumped on the raft alongwith our luggage and us. At first she was a little scared with the raft going through a rapid but then she was enjoying the cold splashes of water while crossing over. We reached the other side, settled in one of the tents right on the beach and I took Angel to play with me. We had taken her tennis ball and one football to play on the beach and while playing I tossed the tennis ball in the water but close enough for Angel to retrieve. Since Angel was used to only hard ground and no water body, she did not realize while running for it that the ball is in water and she charged right into the water. But as she ran into the water, she realized the difference and immediately retreated only to smell and find out that this was a different environment and she should get used to it before she jumps in it again.

Mischievous as she is, she got her confidence back and she went in it again and started swimming to retrieve the ball and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was then she discovered the water body and her skills to swim and enjoy. Once she had discovered these skills, it became the most tiring time for me and my wife as she would want to go back for more and more and believe me, it was a sight. She would not let any of us sit back and bask in the sun for the next two days, but only play in the water and sand.

But it was most satisfying experience for both of us to see that she was careful not to go far into the current but yet be dangerously close as to challenge us and her skills to swim back to the shore and then tease us. She had become the true master of her skills and she was only enjoying it, looking at me panting and not able to match her stamina of play. She loved the Beach Camp, chased all the butterflies, balls, water and the trampoline. She really did get on the trampoline with us and jumped her heart out. She was not scared but only getting more confident with each jump. She was completely bindaas during our stay and was treated well by each member of the camp. The camp members and raft guides were initially scared but during the course of our stay, they became real good friends with Angel and to date they enjoy and have real good fun whenever we go back with her to the camp.

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Today, we have two pets – Angel and her son Chubby, they only create more r
uckus and really tire both of us out whenever they are on the camp and its all thanks to Akshay and his team and that beautiful place that we get to holiday in with our dogs close to nature. We can be completely carefree during our holiday at the Beach Camp as there are no boundaries and rules, but to freak out and have good clean fun. It’s a clean place that has been kept that way by strict adherence to Akshay’s rules of cleanliness. We have been there many times and still haven’t had enough. Don’t miss the opportunity, pack your bags and go for a wonderful holiday with your near and dear ones.