Travelling with pets in South Africa


Published: 14/03/2012


As pets have become an integral part of the family unit, there are many pet-friendly B&Bs, hotels, self-catering units and camping sites in South Africa, run by people who understand this. As a result of this taking your family pet along on holiday is now more of a possibility and far more cost-effective than kennelling. Travelling to and from any holiday destination with a pet, either by air, or in the car can be challenging – here are some do’s and don’ts when travelling with pets.

Flying with your pet  
Some airlines in South Africa have the option for you to fly with your pet. Animals are kept in an area in the plane that has the same cabin pressure and temperature that all passengers experience. There are however, specific requirements and each airline may vary. Contact your airline of choice and enquire about their prerequisites.

As we have Rabies in South Africa, travelling internationally with a pet, will require a quarantine period either before and/or after the arrival of your pet at its destination. All pets will require pet passports, certain legal documentation e.g. Import Permits, Custom Clearance, veterinary certifications, etc., as well as micro-chipping and inoculations.

Please contact a reputable Pet Transport Carrier to ensure that all necessary requirements are filled according to your country of destination, or if you are travelling to South Africa with your pet. 

Driving with your pet

•    Take your pet for a check-up at the vet before the trip. An older or sickly pet won’t enjoy the long period in the car and it could be a taxing experience on your pet’s health and temperament.
•    If your pet is not used to travelling, or not used to long-distance travelling, it is wise to consult your vet on an appropriate pet container as well.
•    If they are used to travelling, create an allocated spot for your pet with ample leg room and breathing space. Place your animal’s favourite bedding and toys in this area.
•    Add a barrier between the driving area and your pet, should they be upset by anything, this will prevent them from having access to you and interfering whilst you are driving.
•    Get a safety harness, especially if they are contained, in the event of any sudden stops.
•    Take a lot of cool drinking water along on the trip.
•    Stop every two hours at a safe area where your pet can stretch his/her legs.
•    It is vitally important to remember whenever you get out of the car your pet MUST be on a lead.

•    Let your pet walk around in the car.
•    Let your pet stick their head out of the window.
•    Leave your pet in the car, as it can become very hot inside the vehicle and cause dehydration and in some instances heart failure.

Having the family’s best friend on holiday can be extremely fun and rewarding, however, it is important that the experience be great for your pet as well. If your holiday is too busy and your pet is left alone in a strange environment quite often, it might be in your pet’s best interest to leave him/her in the care of someone else for the holidays.

Assess your holiday plans honestly and base your decision on realistic information and not emotional bias, as kennelling or a house-sitter may be a far more cost effective and enjoyable alternative for your pet.

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