Traveling with Pets - What you need to know
Scheduling a trip can be a complicated process: deciding whether to drive or fly, making hotel arrangements and even figuring out how you'll pay for it all. With all of the required planning, something that can get overlooked is what to do with your pet while on vacation.
It’s one of the hardest decisions to make when contemplating a trip: should you take them or should you board them? The first thing to consider is whether your pet's temperament is right to go on the trip. Do they travel well in a car? If not, it may be best to leave them with friends/family or board them to minimize the stress on both you and them. Here are some suggestions to help with your decision.
Traveling by car
When traveling by car there are a number of steps you can take to make sure it goes smoothly. If they don't often ride in your car, take them on a series of short, fun trips to get them acclimated to traveling. It's also a good way to check to see if they have problems with motion sickness. If they do, check with your veterinarian for possible alternate traveling solutions. To help prevent carsickness, feed your pet a light meal about four to six hours before departing, and do not give them any food or water in a moving vehicle.
Make frequent stops, usually every 2-3 hours or so, to allow your pet to go to the bathroom and to get some exercise. Always make sure your pet is on a leash before you open the door. When driving, make sure to properly restrain your pet in the car to prevent injuries to both pets and passengers. Cats should always be transported in carriers, for their safety as well as yours. Another tip is to bring along a familiar blanket or toy for the trip to help put them at ease.
A long-distance solution
When you have to travel with your pet for a long distance but do not want them confined to the cargo area of a plane or stuck in a car for long stretches of time, one solution is to call http://www.petairways.com/. Billing themselves as a "pet daycare in the sky," your pet travels in the main cabin of the plane and is transported carefully and lovingly.
What not to do when traveling with a pet
Do not let your pet ride in the back of a truck. If your pet must ride in the truck bed, they should be confined in a protective kennel that is secured to the truck to prevent injury. Pets also should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside the vehicle window, as road dirt and debris can enter their eyes, ears or nose and potentially cause an injury or infection. Finally, NEVER leave an animal in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open, as temperatures can quickly climb to unsafe levels inside a vehicle. Pets should not be allowed to ride on the driver's lap or near the driver's feet. Small pets should be confined in crates or in travel-safe dog beds, and larger pets should be appropriately restrained with harnesses attached to the car's seat belts.
If you are going to be staying with friends or family, let them know that your pet will be coming along and make sure they are a welcomed guest as well, which is especially important if someone at the house has pet allergies.
If staying at a family member's house is not an option, check out a pet friendly hotel. To make it easier on your pet, try to minimize the amount of time they will be left alone in the room. If you need to leave your pet alone, inform the hotel and place a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Make sure they have your contact info if there are any problems.
With a little foresight and planning, traveling with your pet can be an enjoyable process. Keeping everyone's needs in mind when planning your next getaway will go a long way to ensure a good time is had by all.