Vacation is coming, and you’ve decided to bring your cherished pet with you. Many well-intentioned pet owners do not plan their vacation realistically to account for the health and safety of their pets. This guide will give you a list of key things to keep in mind when traveling with your furry friends.
Consider Your Pet’s Comfort First
While we like to believe our pets want to be with us anytime and anywhere, there are situations when they will be better off staying at home in a good kennel. Look at your destination. Is it going to be loud and noisy? Many things we subject our fuzzy companions to are actually things pets hate. Consider your pet’s overall comfort levels before you commit to bringing them along.
Research Your Trip
Your vacation destination may have specific pet policies. If you are flying, airlines have their protocols you’ll need to follow. When traveling by car, research the trip. How far apart are the rest stops? Are there likely construction zones? What if you’re stuck in big city traffic? How will you allow your pet to have their needed potty breaks?
Book Hotels Well in Advance
Hotels have their own policies in place. To prepare for your trip, you’ll want to book well in advance. If your hotel is close to selling out, you may miss a chance to bring your pet. In addition, many hotels only have a small number of pet-friendly rooms available.
Register Your Pet as an Emotional Support Animal
Some facilities are more open to pets than others. If you suffer from anxiety or other mental conditions, you may be able to register your pet as an ESA. By getting a legitimate ESA letter, you will be able to sidestep many of the restrictions placed on pet owners.
Update Your Pet’s Shots
Most places you visit with an animal will require records of the pet’s vaccinations. In addition, you’ll want to have a copy of your pet’s current rabies certificate, kennel cough, and any other records the facilities or airline requires.
Get Your Pet a Checkup
Getting your pet a checkup at your veterinarian’s office will ensure your pet’s health is tip-top before the trip. If you are a new pet owner, you’ll need to schedule a visit with a vet before your trip to make sure your new pet is healthy in its new environment—Research the best candidates online and in-person to find the best vet for your pet.
Bring Your Pet’s Favorite Toys and Treats
Traveling is incredibly stressful for animals. There is a bewildering number of new scents, sights, and sounds to deal with. By bringing your dog’s favorite items from home, they will have some familiar sensations to help them cope.
Bring a batch of your pet’s favorite treats. If you make homemade pet treats, prepare a batch a few days in advance. A familiar blanket, pillow, or pet bed is a welcome treat, too.
Give Meals and Treats at the Right Times
Don’t feed your pet while a vehicle is moving. Many animals become car sick. Instead, give your dog a light meal 3-4 hours before you leave for your vacation.
Remember to provide fresh water or ice chips for your pet. Staying hydrated is a key for pet health when traveling. Also, bring some over-the-counter stomach aids for pets just in case your furry pay gets nauseous.
When traveling with your pet, they will need to be restrained for their safety. Just as children and adults need to be knuckled in and secured for their protection, pets need this too. Dogs are comfortable in small places as they create a similar feeling of being in a den in the wild.
Start by getting your pet a pet crate that buckles easily into the seat with your vehicle’s seat belts. A good pet crate must be properly ventilated and include openings for the seat belts to feed through.
If you’re flying with your dog or cat, you’ll need to check with your airline to make sure your crate complies with their policies.
Flying with Pets
Each airline will have its own rules you’ll be expected to follow. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to find their updated policies on the airline’s website. Additionally, you’ll be able to see where each airline allows pets to travel and protocols for traveling with pets either as checked baggage or carry-on.
Airlines change their policies often and without notice. Do your research in the initial planning of your trip. Then check the airline’s policies as your date gets closer.
Plan Frequent Potty Breaks
While a well-trained pet can be counted on to “hold it,” it’s not healthy to do so. So if you’re driving to your destination, be sure to plan plenty of stops. Your pet will need to go potty, stress their legs, and walk around to relieve any stress from travel.
Never Leave Your Pet Unattended in a Car
Even on a cool day, it doesn’t take long for the heat of the sun to cause the temperature in your car to skyrocket. The temperature can rise as much as 15 degrees in under ten minutes. So no matter how fast you think you’ll be, it isn’t worth the risk to your pet.
If more than one person is traveling, leave one person in the car with your pet and the air conditioning left on. If you are traveling by yourself, either go to places where you can bring your pet in with you or leave your pet at home. It’s as simple as that.
Traveling for a vacation is fun and exciting. Bringing your pet with you can make your vacation even more fun. For the safety of your pet, plan accordingly. Keep their needs in mind, so every two-footed and four-footed family member enjoys themselves.