Moving with your furry friend; what you must know
Pets are integral members of the family and transporting them to a new city in comfort is a priority. Here is everything you need to know about taking pets by train or plane in India:
Travel by train:
If you would like to travel in train along with your pet in the same compartment, remember to book in advance either a two berth or a four-berth coupe exclusively in AC First Class. If not, then like other passengers travelling in classes other than AC First Class, you can book them in luggage/brake van paying requisite charges. Specially designed boxes are available in the brake van for this purpose.
If you are travelling with your avian friend, non-exotic bird or birds, then you must place the cage in the luggage van. Please ensure that you complete the required documentation before travel date. On the day of travel, stock the cage with sufficient food and water. One extra measure you can take is to cover the cage with a dark cloth so that the birds think it's night, and do not get too stressed. Indian Railways does not permit the transportation of exotic bird species, and even parrots fall under this category. So seek clarification from the authorities before booking.
Procedure to make the transit
1.Procure a medical certificate from a certified veterinary doctor.
2.Fill required forms and book space for your pet in the luggage van at the railway parcel office. Also carry a copy of your ticket and your photo ID, voter or Adhaar car will do.
3.Attach the receipt or a way bill copy to the pet’s collar.
4.On the day of travel bring your pet to the station at least two hours in advance.
5.Meet the Parcel Officer who will hand out the documents and relevant details to the Guard.
6.Your pet will then be put in the built-in cage provided in the Guard's compartment.
7.Ensure that the pet cage is sufficiently stocked with food and water.
8.On reaching your destination, contact the Guard and the local parcel officer to re-unite with your pet.
Travel by air
Most carriers allow pets such as dog/cat/rabbit or bird onboard, but in the cargo hold. If your pet is younger than 8 weeks (and in some cases, 12 weeks), they may not be allowed onboard due to health risks. Only Air India allows pets in cabin, if the combined weight of the pet and the pet carrier is less than 5 kilos. On a case by case basis, carriers allow service animals onboard with the owner, who are accompanying disabled people.
Crating your pet
For any air travel, you need to crate your pet in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved cage. While purchasing the cage, ensure that you pick an appropriate size that is well ventilated, made of a non-chewable material, has smooth edges and shuts properly. It should be escape and leak-proof. Buy the crate in advance so that your pet gets used to it, so that they are less nervous on the day of the journey. Putting a label on the crate is a good idea, listing your pet’s information, including name, behaviour of the pet (mild or slightly aggressive), choice of food, your name, address, flight itinerary and your emergency contact details.
Visiting the vet
Probably the only outing that your pet doesn’t enjoy is the visit to the vet. If the pet is flying, then a health certificate needs to be procured from a certified vet, along with a letter stating that your pet is fit to fly. Please update the medical records of the pet and ensure that the necessary vaccinations are given. The requirements may vary depending on the choice of airline, so enquire at least a month in advance. Some carriers object to sedation of animals, as it may pose a tremendous risk to their health. If you feel that your pet may get agitated, then ask your vet for a natural pet calmer instead. If they are prone to motion sickness, then start taking them for long drives to prepare for the travel. Do not feed them before the flight, just hydrate them well.If your pet is a rabbit or a bird then, in addition to the fitness certificate from the vet, a letter needs to be procured from the State Forest or Wildlife department stating that the species is not endangered and is allowed to be carried on a domestic flight from the origin city to the destination city.