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April 1, 2015

Tips for Planning an Animal-Friendly Summer Vacation

Humane Society International/India

  • Mehmet Salih Guler/istock

With the sweltering summer approaching fast, families have already started making plans for a much-deserved vacation for the year. As Indians prepare themselves for a fun-filled and memorable summer vacation, Humane Society International/India shares a few animal-friendly tips that families should consider while planning their itinerary.

Travel safely with your pet: The safest and most comfortable way for pets to travel is inside a carrier or crate. Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Temperatures skyrocket inside a closed vehicle during summer and that can give your pet a fatal heatstroke. Besides, it’s illegal to keep animals unattended for a long time in parked cars. Always keep your pet in the back seat and don’t allow him to stick his head out of the window. Give them plenty of rest stops and carry sufficient amount of food and water. On a beach trip with your dog, make sure you get him a shady spot. Never let him drink sea water as the salt will make him sick.

If travelling by airplane with your pets is the only option, call the airline well in advance and check if they will allow you to take your pet in the cabin, if they have any special pet health and immunization requirements and if they require a specific type of carrier. If your pet is flying in the cargo hold, make sure you use direct flights, travel in the same flight as your pet, and choose a flight that will accommodate temperature extremes.

Vet visit before your vacation: Get an early summer check-up done for your pet and make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date before your trip. Fleas, ticks and the mosquitoes which carry heart worm disease are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your dog.

Find a good dog care centre: The best way to ensure pet safety when you can’t take them along is to have someone watch your pet in your home. If it’s difficult to find a potential dog baby-sitter, make sure you find a comfortable, responsible and reliable 24 hour home care. We advise looking up a foster home or a dog care centre to leave your dog while on vacation. Visit the centre at least twice to check if its clean and safe, the caretakers are reliable and will be able to meet the needs of your dog.

It is also very important to know how many dogs are housed in the centre and whether your dog will be able to get along with them. Getting these background checks done will ensure that the dog care centre is qualified enough to keep your pet safe while you enjoy your time off.

Avoid ocean parks, zoos and circuses: While making a travel plan, don’t visit places where animals are kept in cages and enclosures or used for entertainment. Animals can suffer tremendously when they are kept in captivity and live in an almost constant state of discomfort and anxiety. Avoid festivals and temple ceremonies that continue to feature elephants. Choose a beach, hill station, park, garden or a historical place instead. Even if you are not travelling during summer holidays, make it a point that you boycott such places. Animals can be beaten, brutally trained and forced to endure extreme heat during summer in places that use animals for entertainment. If you are trekking in a forest or sanctuary, avoid throwing lighted objects carelessly as this may cause fire and make sure you do not litter the place.

If you are on an international trip, make sure that you are not driven by the attraction of dolphinariums. Dolphins are highly intelligent and far-ranging creatures and don’t belong in dolphinariums where they can remain housed for years. A life in captivity has a devastating effect on a dolphin's welfare, resulting in abnormal behaviours, illness and often, premature deaths.

Sign the "Don't Buy Wild" Pledge.

Don’t buy wild during your trip:  Every year, billions of animals are inhumanely captured and killed to provide for our entertainment, and to make products for our use to buy here and around the world. Make sure that you do not participate in the illegal wildlife trade by avoiding products and experiences that come from these abused animals.

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, nmukherjee@hsi.org

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