A fuss-free ride with your furry friends

Published on Jun 30, 2022 02:04 PM IST
Taking your pawsome pals along on vacations has been made easy with the multiple modes of transport available, along with more hotels becoming pet-friendly
dogs camping in the car. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier in the luggage compartment. Pets on vacation. (Shutterstock)
dogs camping in the car. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier in the luggage compartment. Pets on vacation. (Shutterstock)
ByAbigail Banerji

Over the past two-years, many people have adopted pets as they craved a companion and had the extra time to take care of them as well. Now, post pandemic, the trend of revenge travelling is taking over. People want to make the most out of the eased up restrictions and their vaccination cards. But as they have grown to love their pets as family, they don’t want to leave them behind while they travel the world. This has led to many pet parents taking shorter trips to close-by locations or looking for lodging that are pet friendly.

EaseMyTrip says inquiries regarding pet travel have significantly increased. “Before the pandemic, the queries we received were between 2-3%. Now, it has increased to 16%,” says a spokesperson for the online travel portal.

Ritu Mehrotra, Commercial Director, APAC at Booking.com says, “We have witnessed a demand for pet-friendly accommodations among Indian travellers. In order to meet this demand and make it easier for pet parents to plan their travel, Booking.com introduced a ‘Pet Friendly’ filter which allows them to easily view and select accommodations that are welcoming to pets. These range from hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses and more. People can easily search for pet-friendly properties using the ‘Pets Allowed’ filter on the Booking.com website or mobile app and find the best stays for themselves and their furry friends.”

According to a pet transport company, Carry My Pet, there has been a 15% to 30% increase in both domestic and international pet travel, ever since the Covid-19 curbs eased. The company has helped more than 500 families travel with their pets over the past six months. Aamir Islam, co-founder, Carry My Pet says, “People use all three modes of transport for domestic pet travel. Pet travel via flight is the most preferred as it is very convenient. We have also concluded that a few pets travel via trains. Road travel is used for short distances and for places that don’t have connectivity via air.”

The Indian Railways is also accommodative of pet travels. But there are guidelines that need to be followed, including only travelling by first class AC in a cabin with four seats, or a coupe with two seats. A letter mentioning the reason for travelling with your pet has to be written to the chief commercial officer. You will have to carry your pets’ food, water, collars and leash as well. Depending on the size of the pet, 10 to 50 can be charged for travel, according to the Indian Railways.

Road travel by private vehicles is also viable for short distances. You can even hire a car and inform the driver and the company that you will be accompanied by your pet, so they can schedule frequent stops during the trip. Nandini Yadav, who travelled from Goa to Delhi by car with her cat, Keiko, says, “During the road trip back home, I ensured she had access to her litter box and knew where it was kept. I also had her food, water and snacks handy. Mostly, I just let her move around and have fun in the car.”

Nandini Yadav travelled from Delhi to Goa to adopt her cat Keiko. Over the three-day drive home, the two of them bonded and got to know and trust each other. “When my pets are with me, I can actually focus on the trip. Otherwise I am mostly just worried about how they are doing, if they are missing me, and I go through lots and lots of guilt,” she says.

Deepika Pathar and Joel Pinto along with their dog Alphie have travelled to various places in and around Maharashtra. She says, “I feel our pets need the vacation more than we do. They are always at home while we get to go out. When we are planning our holidays, we always try and keep her in mind while to ensure she has the most fun.”

Rhea Rocque has two fur babies - Lemon and Ginger and she encourages all paw parents to travel with their pets whenever possible. She says, “Vacationing with them will give you immeasurable joy and happiness. My best memory while travelling with my babies was to see them running around and enjoying themselves when they saw the beach for the first time. They were always the centre of attention wherever we went.”

While planning a vacation with your fur buddies, it is important to keep the weather of the place in mind. Aamir Islam, co-founder, CarryMyPet says dogs, especially are susceptible to hot weather conditions, and certain breeds are less heat tolerant than others. Adding, he says, “Make sure to get a comfortable crate in which has room for your pet to move around in. Prepare the crate with the necessary amenities like food, water, absorbing sheets, and mattress to keep them comfortable.”

With the rise in travelling pooches and moving felines, the demand for pet friendly hotels and lodges has also increased. From complementary treats and special beds place in the rooms to open spaces to explore and curated menus, hotels are leaving no stones unturned and to ensure all the animals leave with wagging tails and give them their snoots of approval.

Harkaran Singh, general manager, Hyatt Regency Dehradun says, “Till now, we have only received requests for cats and dogs but the hotel allows pets as per government regulations. Apart from a separate bed and a food bowl, during check-in we also give them treats and complementary toys. The hotel also has a specially curated menu for them.”

Aashna Khurana, Creative Director, Karma Lakelands adds, “We offer many indoor and outdoor activities where the guests and their pets can participate in. They are free to walk around the gardens, enjoy meals at our open-air alfresco dining and even attend parties.”

Always research the hotel thoroughly before booking your stay explains Islam. Along with being a pet-friendly place, enquire that your pet’s needs can be accommodated with services such as food, salons, open areas for walks, etc.

While travelling by flight, it is mandatory to carry the pet’s vaccination records. Pets must be carried in soft and ventilated carriers. If they weigh more than 5kg, they cannot travel in the cabin but will be transported in the cargo. Domestic air travel with pets can cost anywhere between 20,000-60,000.

According to a report released by The Hilton Hotels, there has been a rise in the development of hotel dog parks, pup perks and more, as a result of the increased demand for pet-friendly properties. One such example is of The Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru, who recently adopted a St. Bernard, Burney, and designated him as the Chief Happiness Officer, to welcome more pets. “During their staycation, guests have the option to walk, feed, or simply hang out with Burney, or they can foster him for the night. He is the highlight of our brunches that welcome pets,” says Sudhanshu Singh, general manager.

Expert speaks

Dr Vinod Sharma, head of veterinary services, DCC Animal Hospital, advises pet parents to take time and prepare their fur babies before taking them on a long vacation. He says, “Start by travelling on short trips. Once they are used to car rides and being in an unknown surrounding, then go on longer trips together.”

It’s also important to get proper health check-ups done for the pet and to carry their vaccination records. “If your pet has anxiety while travelling, it’s important to carry their anti-anxiety pills, after consulting with their doctor. When travelling, it is important that you make frequent stops after every one to 1.5 hours and let them walk around,” adds Sharma.

10 things to carry while travelling with pets

All the important documents and records along with the veterinarian’s approval

A comfortable pet crate with enough room for your pet to move around

Food and treats

Chew toys

Pet water sipper

Food and water bowls

Important medicines

Pet leash

Pet collar with the owner’s details written on it

Warm clothes, when applicable

Inputs by Aamir Islam, co-founder, Carry My Pet

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