43. On the day of the trip, you will get an SMS confirming your seats in the cabin or coupe. Get to the station at least two hours before time. Present your confirmed ticket at the parcel office at the station, as well as your pet’s fit-to-travel certificate from the vet and vaccine records. This step is needed because your pet is essentially travelling as cargo in the eyes of the railways. The authorities will then weigh your pet and levy parcel charges. While your pets don’t need a separate ticket to their name, you have to book either two or four tickets to ensure that you travel together in a coupe or cabin.
Travelling with cats—things to remember
44. Especially for cats, travelling by train is the most convenient option because you can place their litter box inside the coupe, without having to worry about getting off the coach.
45. It’s quite common for domesticated cats to not enjoy travelling or being out of their homes, unless they’ve been accustomed to it since kittenhood. While arranging for a sitter would be the preferred option more often than not, if they must travel, carry their crate or carrier along because it becomes their safe space in unfamiliar territory. Stuff it with something comfortable, like their favourite blanket.
46. You can also use some catnip in the carrier. Make it a happy place for them. There’s cat calming music that you can play during the journey to put them at ease.
Tackling motion sickness and anxiety
47. Keep an eye out for signs of distress during travel, like salivating or drooling, pacing up and down, whining, barking, or vomiting. You can work with a canine behaviour professional beforehand to get accustomed to such mannerisms, understand the signs better, and work on a personalised desensitisation programme.
48. If your pet is prone to getting sick or queasy in a moving vehicle, consult with your vet to know exactly what medication could help with motion sickness. “There could be a bit of trial and error before you find the perfect combination of medication and quantity of food before you travel,” warns Rao.
49. “Ondem works really well to curb nausea,” recommends Dr. Simoes. “If your dog or cat has a tendency to throw up during car rides, giving a dose every eight hours helps. Avomine is another option for dogs, but consult your vet personally about the dosage and which drug would best suit your pet.”
50. “For pets prone to anxiety, Gabapin helps calm them down,” advises Dr. Simoes. “It can be given half an hour before you start the journey.” “CBD oil works wonders for both anxiety and motion sickness; THC-free broad spectrum CBD oils work the best,” Dr. Simoes says. “Two drops of the 500mg CBD oil are enough for cats and small dogs; the dosage is up to 2-5ml for large dogs. Get your pet used to this a few days prior to travelling. Locally available Hexia tablets and the Cure By Design CBD oils also work well. Use these 30 minutes before starting your trip. You can give them another dose, if needed, after 6 hours.”
Safety, wellbeing, and first aid
Do your research and save contacts of local vets at your destination. Knowledge of local vets and animal welfare groups could prove life-saving in case of emergencies. Have your pets wear a tag on their collar with their name and your contact details. GPS trackers also help ensure their safety. “For dogs, it’s always a good idea to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on you, in case they swallow something untoward and you need to make them throw up. Also carry activated charcoal tablets (Flatuna), in case they ingest something toxic,” advises Dr. Simoes. “Pack medicines to deal with vomiting, diarrhoea, allergies, and antiseptics. I’d suggest Ondem, Cetzine, and Flagyl, a probiotic, the dosage of which depends on your pet’s weight,” says Dr. Simoes. “Betadine liquid and gauze bandages are a must to dress wounds. Potassium permanganate powder will help stop bleeding from a cut nail or a deep scratch.”