Traveling with your pet

 



Getting ready to book your next vacation?  Why not bring your dog or cat along?  You'll need a little extra preparation, but introducing your pet to new experiences can be fun and rewarding for everyone.

Friendly pet places - Vacation spots across the U.S. and around the world are increasingly accommodating pets.  When making all plans, including transportation, ask whether your cat or dog will be welcome.   
International travel requires some additional preparation.  Contact your designation's consulate or embassy to learn that countries requirements. Advanced planning can make for smooth sailing.

Pre-Trip Vet Visit - A trip to the vet before travel can be very beneficial.  This is a good time get a health certificate, and to make sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations and stocked up on prescription medications.  If your pet has motion sickness or becomes stressed while traveling your veterinarian may prescribe medication to combat these concerns.

Identification - If you and your pet become separated, you want to have the best chance of being reunited.  Many veterinarians recommend microchipping in addition to having them wear collars and ID tags.  A microchip is a permanent way of identification, increasing the likelihood of a happy reunion.  For entry into some countries, microchipping is required.  Make sure your pets ID tags are up to date with your current address.

Choosing a carrier - Carriers are an important part of traveling with a pet. Carriers should be used in cars if a safety harness is not being employed.  Carriers are required if you choose to travel by plane, call your airline for its specific guidelines.  Before your trip, leave the carrier open in a place where your pet spends a lot of time. Place treats inside on occasion.  Never use a carrier or crate for punishment.  It should always be a comfy, cozy and familiar place to be.

Travel - If you are planning a long car trip, take your pet on many shorter drives ahead of time.  Make note of emergency clinics along your route as well just in case your pet needs assistance.  Feed at least 2 hours before departure, and provide small amounts of water as needed throughout the trip.  Take breaks outside every couple of hours for exercise. 
If you are taking a plane, find out in advance where in the airport you and your pet need to report.  Arrive 2-4 hours before your departure. Try to book flights during less-busy hours, have your pet fly in the cabin with you if possible, and avoid traveling during the hottest and coldest parts of the day.  Feed your pet 6 hours before your flight takes off.

Beyond car and air travel, options for transporting your pet are limited.  Most modes of public transportation do not welcome pets.  There are a select few cruise ships that allow pets, check with the cruise line to find out whether kennels are available

Accommodations - There are many chains of hotels that allow pets.  Call ahead to reserve a room and make sure you confirm a few days before your trip, stating again that you will be with a pet.  There are a few websites such as http://petsonthego.com/ that can tell you what places accept pets. 

Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful experience, and with some preparation - can be accomplished with ease.  Choose your destinations wisely and planning ahead, you can find plenty of places and activities to enjoy with your pet.