Traveling alone has its perks, but it can easily become a lonely experience. Most people prefer to travel with a companion – a good friend whose presence can soothe and comfort, and whose good-natured company can lift the spirits. It’s nice to share travel experiences with someone special.
An emotional support animal can make an absolutely ideal travel companion. Most people have a very warm, close, and comfortable relationship with their ESA pet. People feel no pressure when they are with their emotional support pet, no need to impress, to show-off, or to be anything other than who they truly are.
Choosing the Ideal ESA Travel Companion
While ESA owners tend to have great relationships with their emotional support animals, when it comes to traveling, especially long distances, other practical considerations need to be taken into account. An individual’s relationship with their ESA is not the only factor that decides whether that animal will actually make a suitable ESA travel companion. Size, breed, species, temperament, and a host of other factors need to be considered.
Here are some important things to think about when deciding on an ESA travel companion.
A Good Traveling Temperament
Traveling with a badly behaved, cheeky, or ill-disciplined emotional support animal can become very stressful very quickly. An animal whose cheeky, boisterous temperament is fun and exciting in the safety and privacy of the home can become a source of massive stress and irritation in the close confines of a car, bus, or airplane.
Animals who are well-behaved, calm, obedient, and somewhat sensible make ideal travel companions. Most cats, many breeds of dog, and intelligent rodents such as rats have good temperaments for traveling.
Lugging around a large, heavy emotional support pet such as an Irish Wolfhound or (heaven forbid!) a pony can get exhausting very quickly. Many animals are simply too large to conveniently take on buses or planes. Many airlines will refuse to take an ESA that is impractically large.
The ideal size of an ESA travel companion is relatively small. If you are driving your own car or truck then you have much more leeway with this, but on most other forms of transport, especially public transport, any emotional support animals larger than a medium-sized dog will not make ideal travel companions.
You will need to consider an animal’s exercise requirements before you decide to take it on a journey. If your emotional support animal requires a lot of exercise, it is not appropriate to take that animal on a very long car, bus, or plane journey. Often an extended period of time confined to a vehicle with no chance to exercise can make a naturally active animal very anxious, depressed, and antsy.
It is important to consider other travelers when you are deciding whether to bring along an ESA travel companion. If your animal is one that a lot of people are allergic to, such as a furry cat, then you may need to reconsider taking your pet on public transport.
Hypoallergenic animals, as well as many species of emotional support animal that very few people are allergic to, are suitable ESA travel companions in this regard.
Consider Other People’s Phobias
Another question you should ask while deciding whether or not to bring along an ESA travel companion is… “Do people tend to be terrified of my ESA?”
If your emotional support animal is a species of animal that a lot of people tend to have a phobia of, such as a rat, lizard, or pit bull, then it may not be a good idea to bring it onto a packed airplane.
Phobias may be irrational, but they still feel very real to the people suffering from them. Have empathy for other people and perhaps leave your pet snake at home!
Keep the Noise Down
Particularly loud animals do not make ideal ESA travel companions. A dog that barks and yaps all night will be annoying for you, and a nightmare for any of your fellow travelers who happen to be within earshot!
Quiet animals make much better emotional support animals to travel with. Quiet dogs, most cats, rabbits, rodents; all of these ESA species make pleasantly peaceful travel companions.
Can you feed your emotional support pet properly while you are traveling? Some animals have very complex and specific dietary requirements.
A suitable ESA travel companion should have dietary requirements that are not too strict and are relatively easily catered to while on the road.