By Diane Burroughs
Traveling with your bird can be fun, plus it saves you the hassle of boarding your bird or hiring a pet sitter. And, a good way to get the most out of your trip is to plan an itinerary. Traveling with an exotic pet such as a pet bird, takes a lot more planning than traveling with a domesticated pet such as a dog or a cat. First of all, there are issues with a potential fly off. And, if you are crossing state lines, you may have to contend with state regulations. Some states regulate entry of pet birds or certain species of parrots due to potential threats to the poultry and farming industries Think about it. An infected bird could infect huge portions of the poultry industry. Or, an escaped parrot such as feral Quakers, cause problems resulting in state regulations and even a ban on ownership. If you plan on crossing state lines, do your research and plan your destination accordingly.
Once you decide upon your destination, an itinerary will help you plan your trip more efficiently. An itinerary is just a guideline of what you want to do. Like any trip, you’ve got things you want to do but unexpected excursions are bound to come up. Use our handy little guide to help you plan a trip with your pet.
1. Use your computer to narrow down your choice of destinations. You can figure out your mode of travel including your booking your route and finding pet friendly lodging in a half a day. Print out maps of your route, if making the trip by car and identify lodging and stops along the way. Check the weather for your destination to help you know how to pack.
2. Decide on what you want to do on your trip. It seems that there is always more to do than you have time for. Narrow down your choices by making table divided into three categories: (1) “Must See” activities, (2) “Nice to See” activities and (3) “It Can Wait.” So, if you’re in the Rocky Mountains and you love Craft Beer, you’ll want to check out some of the great breweries and maybe hold off on a Rockies game.
3. Decide whether you need a health certificate. If you are going to do interstate travel, plan on getting a Health Certificate. But possibly more important, use your computer to determine if there are any outbreaks of contagious bird diseases. Exposing your beloved pet to an outbreak of something like Newcastle Disease would be horrible. During an outbreak a pet bird without a health certificate may beconsidered a possible threat and may be confiscated and “disposed of.” That would ruin your vacation.
4. Organize the distance and time of your activities for optimum fun for all, including your pet. Most likely, car travel is not the funnest part of the trip for the kids or the bird so plan your various excursions to minimize travel time. Hey, it never hurts to save on gas money, either. Map out your activities so that you don’t have to back-track too much. But in addition to saving time and money, you’l want to make sure that you’re available to care for your pet. Even the most pet friendly hotel may not appreciate a nervous parrot “calling out” to you. Plan your excursions to allow you to check on your pet a couple of times a day or plan on taking it with you. Outdoor cafe’s and hikes are fun activities your pet bird can partake in.
5. Organize what items you need to take on each excursion to keep your bird safe. If you’re going on a hike, you’ll want a Pak O Bird Carrier but not necessarily the optional stroller that goes with it. Or, if you’ll be in the car, you’ll need a carrier cover and a mister to insure that your parrot doesn’t get over-heated. It may also be helpful to know where the closest Avian Vet is to each excursion.
6. Keep your itinerary with you. Did you know that there is probably an “app for that?” This of course, is not an exhaustive list, as new apps are always being introduced. If you can’t find an app, print your itinerary out. While we’re talking IPhone Apps for Pets, check out these two apps to see if they can help you organize your Pet Friendly Travel Itinerary:
- Pet First Aid – Although developed for dogs, this app gives you an understanding of planning for a pet emergency while on vacation. It’s not fun to think about, but, boy, you’ll be glad you did if an accident or emergency happens. What would you do if your bird got over-heated in the car or got car sick? How about if your bird becomes startled and flies off or breaks a blood feather. Develop a plan and by all means, pack a Bird First Aid Kit.
- Petsbook – This app is a notebook about your pet. Organize health information, microchip numbers, and a lot of other helpful information right on your phone. You can even store vet records and creat a photo gallery of your pet. Make sure to take a snap-shot of the leg band number and microchip info.
7. Packing for your Parrot. In this previous blog entitled Traveling with Your Bird, we addressed how to choose a bird carrier based on your travel needs. Truth is, if your are taking your bird on vacation, you might benefit from a couple of styles of bird carriers to maximize the pleasure! Imagine a bird carrier for the car and possibly one for hiking or checking out the tourist district.
Plan your trip itinerary ahead of time
Book lodging at pet friendly hotels.
Get a Health certificate from an Avian Vet if crossing state lines
Ask your vet for a referral to an avian vet at your point of destination