Pet owners have a lot of decisions to make when traveling. Where will their pet stay? Who will provide for them? And do they want their pet to travel with them?
Depending on the animal, some people may opt not to travel with their pet. Cats are easy enough to leave at home with a pet sitter, and moving a cat out of a familiar environment can be stressful for your feline friend. While dogs can be left with sitters, they require a bit more care than a cat. Still, depending on their personality, a dog may be more willing and excited to travel than a cat! So, canine lovers, your first decision is: do you want to leave your dog in a local kennel or a local sitter? Or do you want your best friend to hit the road with you?
If you do take an animal on the road with you, be sure ahead of time that you’ll be able to interact with your pet. Plan activities and meals on your vacation that will include your dog (or cat). The last thing you want to do is make them feel isolated, bored, or even depressed while in an unfamiliar environment.
The next thing to figure out is, are you flying or driving on your travels? When driving, it’s important to plan ahead to keep everyone in the car safe. Will your animal be in a crate? Will it be secure? Either way, heading to a pet store and picking up seat belt adapters, car seats or cargo barriers will ensure everyone’s safety.
And when flying, it’s always best to check the policies on the airline you’ll be using. Most airlines will accept cats and dogs, but each airline also may have different restrictions on breeds; for example, American Airlines will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats as checked luggage. Airlines may also feature weight or age restrictions.
The third thing to figure out is: where will you and your pet be staying? A lot of hotels are actually willing to accept animal guests along with their humans. The Quality Inn, Red Roof Inn, Candlewood Suites, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Clarion Inn, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Holiday Inn, and Motel 6 have pet friendly policies.
Because each hotel makes its own policies, though, it’s important to check and compare hotel policies before going on a trip. For example, the Red Roof Inn welcomes dogs, but only allows one 80 lbs. pet per room – and even then, if state laws prohibit this, your larger pets may not be as lucky as small best friends. Other hotel chains may not accept pets as larger as 80 lbs. at all. Many hotels do not allow you to leave your pet in the room while you are out during the day. Some hotels may charge a small fee for your canine companion while others, like Motel 6, charge nothing at all!
The best thing to do when traveling is finding several pet friendly hotels near your vacation spot. Make a list of these hotels in the area and compare their policies, rates, and rules. Calling the hotel or checking policies online by state and preparing properly will ensure a spot for your dog in the hotel. Confirm their policies and make sure they know you’ll have an animal when you make your reservation.
You’re not done yet! If you’re traveling internationally, your pet may need a passport! Other paperwork you may need includes vet certificates and various permits. And did you know you can purchase animal insurance? As healthy as any pet may be before you travel, anything can happen on the road. It may be worth looking into insurance depending on where you travel and the length of your trip.
After figuring out all these details, it’s time to begin packing! Taking the right tools is essential on the road. Don’t leave home without a pet carrier, food, treats, water, water and food bowls, a leash, and baggies for clean up. Should
you decide that your cat would love the road, don’t forget litter and a litter box! Also: bring toys and a blanket! You’d get bored on the road if you had nothing to do, plus, they’ll remind your pet of home and decrease their stress.
Once on the road your animal should wear a collar at all times. Check your animal’s tags to make sure all the information is current. Don’t forget to bring a health certificate, current rabies vaccination tag and a photo of each pet when travelling, even if you’re not traveling too far from home. Better safe than sorry!
And of course, be prepared! Bring a first-aid kit with tweezers, gauze and antiseptic to treat any minor problems along the way.
Finally, the day that you head out, feed your animal a small breakfast and keep an eye on them. You don’t want them getting sick on you and ruining their experience!
by Larissa Gula