An increasing number of pet owners (aka pet parents) are planning holidays with their paw-some travel companions, be it a playful cat, naughty dog, or a squawky parrot. Travelling with a pet can be fun and stress-free, provided one does some research and proper planning in advance. It makes the journey not just wholesome but adventurous, exploring uncharted territories together! Pet parents Tanveer Taj and Priyanka Jena Taj have three dogs (Cruise, Tara and Idly) and two cats (Noorie and Matli). They are owners of Praana Experience, Karnataka and also run ‘WheelsandTails’ page on Instagram.

Tanveer says, “We recently finished a 25-day road trip to Kerala with Cruise. We wanted to do a solo trip with him as he is getting older. Over the years, he is now equipped to travel for long hours.” Travelling with pets requires some planning because they are like kids. He adds, “We take more breaks than usual. We carry their bed, favourite towel, and toys. We can’t leave them around without the leash on.” Even, checking the neighbourhood is a part of the checklist. It is fun to watch your pets experience new things on a journey that they would otherwise miss if they were left indoors. Tanveer adds, “Their eyes light up seeing new things. They don’t care wherever you take them as long as they are there with you.”

Celeb Catwalk

Plowy is a celebrity cat who has 96.2k followers on her Instagram handle ‘Plowythecat’. Manisha and Hitesh Sharma, her parents, take Plowy with them on road trips wherever they go. She has travelled 2.5 lakh km across India. Says Manisha, “Our Jaisalmer trip was the first time Plowy experienced desert. She thought that the sand dunes were a big litter box for her and even started to mark her territory. She was enjoying her catwalk in the sand.” Plowy has her litter box and a separate travel water bottle. Her pet parents carry food and treats along with basic medications. Manisha recalls her first experience with Plowy on a road trip from Mumbai to Jaipur during the lockdown. Plowy started to get restless mid-journey. “I calmed her down by keeping her in my lap, hydrating her and taking breaks during the trip.,” she says.

Trek with Pets

Trekking becomes more rewarding when you have your furry pet along with you. Prakriti Varshney, a mountaineer, has two pet dogs Mario and Olive.

Apart from road trips, Mario has trekked mountain passes. However, Olive doesn’t like to hike a lot and enjoys the view. So, she takes Olive on a lot of road trips. “I took them to Spiti Valley with my sister. It was a beautiful trip. I would leave them in the open now and then, till we reached Kaza. They ran around and enjoyed the landscape.” Prakriti does

not feed them right before they sit in the car. She gives them half a meal midway through the trip. On reaching the destination, she gives them proper food. “They tag along with me every six months for a trip. The only difficulty I face is that they don’t like other dogs around them. They bark at them. It gets difficult to manage.”

Challenges Galore

Travelling with pets can sometimes get scary. Tanveer shares an experience with his deceased dog, Frodo, who got into a fight with a Bhutia mountain dog. Frodo was bitten on the neck. It turned into a scary situation. They had to find a nearby village to get some treatment. Manisha and Hitesh travel with a security camera each time they leave Plowy alone in a hotel room. “The security camera is a safety measure. It notifies us of any human detection in the room,” they say. Despite the increase in awareness about pet-friendly homestays and hotels, there are still some challenges. Finding pet-friendly accommodation is still a challenge. The place may be pet-tolerant but not pet-friendly. Tanveer and Priyanka had experiences where the hotels would not allow the pets to roam freely in the common areas or put them on a leash always. Manisha says, “By travelling and exploring places with Plowy, the idea is to make India a more pet-friendly country. Every time we stay at a place, we mention their name on our platform to help other pet parents.”

We take more breaks than usual. We carry their bed, favourite towel, and toys.” — Tanveer Taj, co-owner of Praana Experience, Karnataka

Every time we stay at a place, we mention their name on our platform to help other pet parents.” — Manisha Sharma, corporate lawyer

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