The limitations surrounding travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a nightmare for individuals. For pet-owners, it’s created more complexity in a process that was already challenging.
If you’ve been sheltered in place or need to travel with your dog, here are some important considerations to keep in mind.
Research Specific Restrictions
Every country is dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic differently. In some countries, the bans and travel rules vary by region. For example, Canadian borders remain closed as of July 2020 to foreign travelers unless they’re deemed essential. Within Canada, the Atlantic provinces require anyone coming from the rest of the country to self-isolate for two weeks.
As a traveler, you must do your due diligence to ensure that you are allowed to enter your destination. Furthermore, you’ll need to research the specific regulations regarding pets.
If the information you’re looking for isn’t readily available, prepare to spend hours on hold. Don’t take information from second-hand sources without citations from an official release or government website.
Plan for Delays and Limited Options
COVID-19 has hit the travel industry hard. Many international flights have been canceled without a re-booking date in sight. Within the airports, cleaning and adaptations have resulted in significant delays. Flights are still getting canceled at a moment’s notice, making travel with a canine tough.
Areas that are typically open to having dogs, such as patio dining and pet-friendly Airbnbs, have also altered their policies. Social distancing rules apply to everyone, including pets, stemming from concerns that the virus might reside on a leash or their fur.
Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor activities that you can do with your dog, as our friends at Furry Friends Gear recommend. If you are OK with shifting the focus to enjoying your destination’s natural surroundings, grab some gear and hit the trails.
Restrictions Surrounding Pets in Commercial Flights
Some airlines have banned pets altogether. United Airlines has terminated its PetSafe travel program indefinitely, rendering even domestic air travel impossible with a canine. The few airlines that are still accepting dogs have closed their pet-friendly lounges and have removed the option for pets in the cabin.
Planning Ahead is Vital
Regardless of your method of travel, crossing borders with a pet requires a lot of planning. Now more than ever, time is of the essence. As a result of the social distancing protocols and lock-downs, many veterinary clinics have a backlog of appointments.
If your dog requires a check-up, vaccinations, and health certificates to cross borders, you need to book months in advance. If your dog must be quarantined upon arrival, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Last-minute travel is a thing of the past, especially where pets are concerned.
Be Mindful of Mutations and Changes
The world has learned a lot about this virus since it swept through the world in early 2020. However, more information is coming to light every day. So far, only a few dogs have tested positive for COVID-19. The full implications of these events are yet undetermined. While canine to human transmission is considered low-risk, future cases could create even more limitations surrounding canine travel.
While everyone is eager to travel again, think long and hard about the necessity of your trip. If your destination experiences another outbreak while you’re there, finding an emergency flight home with your pet might prove impossible.
Many pet-owners trying to get home during the first outbreak ended up stuck without a place to live and without an income because they couldn’t travel with their dogs. Some of these people tragically had to re-home their pet as a result.
Take time to plan a trip that prioritizes your dog’s safety and well-being. It’s a troubling time to be alive, and we’re fortunate to have canine companions to ease the burden.
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