Pet Travel Tips
Follow These Tips for Fun and Safe Travels with Your Pet!
Whether you are making a quick dash to the store or embarking on a multi-day family adventure, think about taking your pet along on your next excursion! Not only will your pet appreciate spending more time with you (instead of being left alone), but you can save a significant amount of money on pet boarding or sitting fees.
When heading out the door on an errand or day trip, don't forget to keep the outside temperature and your pet's food, water and potty requirements in mind. A great general rule is to potty the dog and the kids before you head out the door!
When planning your next extended trip, search the web for pet friendly accommodations with the help of websites such as PetTravel.com. These sites detail pet policies of many major hotel chains (many actually allow pets - however size restrictions may exist or a cleaning deposit may be required), help you locate a pet friendly hotel at your destination and outline the process of air travel with your pet.
Make a packing list for your pet to keep your pre-trip preparations less stressful and your departure on-time. At a minimum, make sure you bring along food and water (including a portable bowl), a leash and collar/harness, waste pick-up bags, quick clean-up supplies like grooming wipes and paper towels, prescription pet medications, a pet crate or carrier, and a few toys for chew and play. For pets that get stressed easily, add a natural pet calming aid such as Rescue Remedy to your list to make getting to your destination as fun as the time that you get to spend there!
If you don't want to carry more than a day or two of bulky pet food with you, use the "Store Locator" tool of your pet's food manufacturer to find a retail store near your destination that carries the brand that your pet eats.
Safe Travel by Car -
When traveling by car, keep a close eye on the outside temperature in warmer months. When you stop to rest or refuel, park in a shady spot if possible and roll the windows down enough for good ventilation on hot days (simply cracking them may not be enough!). Breaks every few hours give your pets a chance to stretch their legs and go potty, too. If your pet is not used to pottying on lead, consider packing a retractable leash that allows them a bit more room to roam and get comfortable.
Consider keeping your pet restrained in the car for both their safety and your own. A car safety harness with front plate or mesh-style construction (such as an Ezy Dog Harness), a rear seat barrier, or a pet car seat with a tether can keep your pet safe in an accident and can actually prevent accidents by minimizing driver distractions. Also keep in mind that unrestrained pets (or pets riding on drivers' laps) in automobiles are now illegal in a growing number of states and can carry fines as high as $1,000 per incident if you are pulled over!
Preparing for Travel by Air -
First and foremost, check for airline carrier policies and containment requirements BEFORE you head out on your trip! Outside air temperatures (for larger pets travelling in cargo holds), crate and carrier dimensions, watering needs, and pet microchipping ID requirements are all key things you need to know before you leave the house.
In general, smaller dogs and cats under 13 pounds and 12 inches tall from floor to shoulder can travel in the cabin of the aircraft with you (make sure you notify your airline as soon as possible if you are travelling with a pet!). Always check with your specific airline to find out the dimensions under the seat in front of you. Airline compliant pet carriers should have a waterproof bottom, secure zippers, and ventilation on all sides.
Finally, savvy travelers now prepare an Airline Vet Certificate to bring along on their trip and research any local customs requirements when heading to an international destination or states with quarantine policies such as Hawaii. You might also want to consider getting your pet a vet check-up and an increasingly popular pet insurance policy prior to your departure.
With a little bit of planning up front, you can bring the entire family along on your next trip - including your pet! Happy travels!