The COVID-19 pandemic has affected South Africa along with the rest of the world, and our government has taken decisive yet unprecedented steps to lock down the country.
As the virus disrupts almost every aspect of our lives, pet owners are becoming increasingly concerned about the health of their pets – especially those that were due to travel by air.
Hazel Imrie, Managing Director of PETPort, advises the public not to panic over reports that household pets can contract and spread COVID-19. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims.
“Pet owners should beware of fake news, false advertising and ensure that you are appointing a service partner for your pets travel who is registered,” says Imrie. Energy should instead be focused on keeping your pets safe, healthy and entertained during the upcoming lockdown as they plan for future long-distance trips with their pets.
Flying with pets during the outbreak
Many airlines have suspended the bulk of their flights until 31 May 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak as governments impose strict travel bans on passengers.
A notable exception to this trend is British Airways, which has made incredible efforts to keep its flights operating, allowing travellers and their pets to return home in this time of crisis, “Our gratitude to this airline which is making every possible effort under challenging circumstances to reunite hundreds of fur babies with their parents is immeasurable,” continues Imrie.
Pet travel services are considered non-essential during the pending lockdown period and no pet movement will be allowed during this time unless expressly authorized by government
Nonetheless, Imrie recommends that people who were planning to fly with their pets put off any non-essential travel. There is likely to be a surge in flights after the COVID-19 lockdown ends, with human passengers being given priority along with essential cargo. It is however critical that owners ensure to be well prepared and work closely in advance with their pet relocation specialists, to ensure that pets are ready to go immediately when flights become available as there is going to be a high demand for space on aircrafts.
Tips for pet owners travelling in 2020
With airline travel set to be disrupted for several months, 2020 is going to be a difficult year for travellers – more so for those travelling with pets.
To minimise stress, the following tips may help you plan your next journey with your pet:
Plan ahead: A 7 to 8 month window should be long enough to arrange your relocation trip with your pets.
Do your homework: Research the boarding and transit facilities that various airlines offer for pets.
Stay compliant: Check the regulations for the country you plan to fly to with your pet as these may change over the coming months.
Choose the best agency: IPATA-registered pet relocation companies comply with stringent safety and animal well-being guidelines to ensure a trauma-free experience.
Reach out: Friends, relatives, and colleagues are a great support network during these trying times. If your travel plans are disrupted, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Using a reputable boarding facility like BKC Pet Boarding will give you the reassurance that your fur baby is safe while you arrange transportation.
“PETport also strives to ensure your pet is healthy and happy, even during these trying times. Enquire today for more expert advice for your furry family member during lockdown,” concludes Imrie.