Plan a Pet-away This Season

Dreaming of a vacation? Maybe your pet is, too. When you book your travel details, be sure to take your pooch along. Today it is easier than ever to travel with your favorite companion. Follow these tips for an enjoyable vacation.

Health Checkup

Before you venture anywhere, via car or plane, make an appointment to have your pet checked by the veterinarian. You want to make sure the dog is healthy enough for a trip and up to date on his vaccinations. Ask the vet for copies of all vaccinations and health records, just in case these are needed for travel.

Explore Accommodations

Many hotels and motels allow pets to stay in your room for an additional charge. They may have requirements on the size of the pet, its weight, crating, or leaving the pet alone in the room. Make sure you investigate different possibilities for accommodations and call ahead to learn of their pet regulations. Remember that if you are traveling with a dog, you will need a room that is close to an elevator or ground floor for easy access to the outdoors for bathroom trips and exercise.

Getting There

A dog or cat who is very comfortable riding in a car for a short duration to the park or groomer might behave differently on a long car ride. It's important to see how your pet handles longer trips. Some dogs get extremely anxious in the car or are susceptible to motion sickness. A dog that gets carsick may vomit or drool heavily. He also may get wet around the mouth or have a sick look in his eyes. Make practice trips that incrementally get longer if you plan on taking a long car trek to your destination.

Flying with a dog or cat may differ from airline to airline. Generally, however, some things remain the same across the board. For example, a clean bill of health will likely be needed. A small dog or cat may be able to ride in an airline-approved carrier under your seat. Larger animals will have to ride in the cargo area. Some airlines restrict pet travel during certain times if the weather will be too cold or too hot in the cargo area. Also, airlines generally have limited room for live cargo, so you should call ahead and confirm that you will be bringing a pet along. Label the carrier with your destination information and mark the "UP" side of the carrier. Send your pet with comfortable bedding, food, water, and instructions for the airline staff, if necessary. If your pet is easily exciteable or nervous in nature, your vet may be able to offer a sedative for travel.

Supplies

Remember to pack supplies for your pet. Because stomach issues may ensue due to unfamiliar food or water, you may want to bring bottled water and plenty of food for your dog or cat. Collapsible bowls will allow for space in luggage. Pet beds, a sheet, brush, baggies, first-aid kit, and cleaning supplies are also good ideas to pack along.

Frequent Breaks

If you are traveling by car, make frequent stops to give your pet a break. Always be sure to walk a dog or cat on a leash and have proper identification on his collar in the event that the animal gets away.

Enjoy Your Stay

Plan activities that both you and your pet can enjoy. Be sure to investigate pet-friendly restaurants, venues, and day trip locations. Know the regulations for pets in advance of travel, so you won't risk fines during your stay.

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