Pet Friendly Vacations: Don't Leave Your Furry Friend at Home!
Tips for Traveling with Your Pets
Everyone needs a vacation now and then, and if you have a four-legged member of your family, you might want to take him or her along for the fun, too. After all, what pet wants to stay at home in a kennel while their people go off for fun and adventure? Most cities have pet-friendly hotels, so you just need to do a little planning to find a place that will accept you and your pet(s). Here are some tips that will help you plan for your pet friendly vacation.
Whenever I'm getting ready to go somewhere and pick up my car keys, my dog starts dancing around the house, hoping that I'm going to take her along. She loves any chance to go for a ride. She's the only dog I've ever had that actually DOESN'T like to stick her head out the window while driving, but she still loves to go in the car. Most dogs do. But most cats and some canines aren't keen on car travel. So if your pet friendly vacation involves a road trip, here are some tips.
1. Take a practice run. If you've never had your cat or dog in the car (or if you have and know they don't like it), get your pet used to being in the car by taking short drives around town. Gradually increase the amount of time in the car so your furry friend will be used to the car by the time you're ready for your road trip.
2. Keep your pet secure. The ASPCA recommends keeping your pet in a well-ventilated carrier or crate in the car, but you can also get harnesses to keep your pets safe while traveling. It's good to have both options available.
3. Pet I.D. - don't leave home without it! Your pet probably already has a name tag with your contact information on it, but if you're traveling, it's a good idea to have a temporary tag made that will also include your cell phone number or other temporary contact information. And microchipping is a great way to make sure your pet is never without identification.
4. Bring a travel kit. Your pet may not need an entire suitcase like other members of the family, but don't forget to bring along the essentials, such as food, water, medication or first aid supplies, and bags and a scoop for waste removal. It's also a good idea to carry proof of your pet's rabies and other vaccinations.
For more tips on traveling, see the ASPCA's Car Travel Tips.
Pet Vehicle Harnesses - Great for long trips or just around town
Taking Your Pet on an Airline
If you're going to fly the friendly skies
Sometimes your vacation destination may be too far to drive and you'll need to fly. I've known two people who have had problems with pets escaping from their kennels at an airport, but fortunately both of them had happy endings. To avoid similar problems when you're flying with your pet on a commercial jet, here are five tips:
1. Get a health certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of departure and make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations.
2. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes your regular home contact information, as well as contact information for you at your destination. This information should also be on your pet's crate. Also, it's a good idea to carry a photo of your pet.
3. Make sure your pet's crate is clearly labeled with the words "Live Animal" in letters at least one inch tall and draw large arrows to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. Be sure to latch the door securely, but don't lock it -- in case of emergency, you want to be sure airline personnel will be able to open it. Finally, line the crate bottom with some type of disposable, absorbent bedding in case of accidents.
4. Try to book the most direct flight possible. This will mean less flying time for both you and your pet and will decrease the chances that your pet will end up getting lost in the middle of your trip.
5. Place a frozen bowl of water in your pet's crate. The ice will prevent the water from spilling during loading, but it will melt by the time your pet is thirsty.
You might also want to consider sending your favorite four-legged friend on Pet Airways, a pets-only airline where all the furry passengers ride in the cabin, not in the cargo hold. You may need to do an extra bit of scheduling to coordinate the arrival of your flight with the arrival of your pet's flight, but the peace of mind and comfort for your animal might be worth it.
For more tips on flying with your four-legged friends, see the ASPCA Air Travel Tips.