Traveling with pets is a growing trend and can be a pleasant experience for both you and your pet if you plan ahead. Family pets are often a big part of the family, and sometimes it's hard to leave those adorable faces behind when you leave town. Failing to carefully plan a road trip with your pet can lead to an endurance ride of hourly stops, nonstop whining and barking as well as a lack of pet-friendly places to stay. By using the internet for researching and planning, you can be assured that your vacation will be pleasurable and relaxing for everyone.
Here are a few things to consider when traveling with your pet:
1. Temperament – Make sure that your four-legged pal enjoys traveling before taking him on a long trip. Take time during the weeks leading up to your vacation to take him on several short trips so that he will be more accredited to the sights, smells and sensations of riding in a car. If your pet is aggressive, ill-mannered or simply terrified of traveling, you may want to consider a qualified pet sitter or reputable boarding facility.
2. Manners – It is only proper and responsible that you make sure that your pet will be a welcomed guest at your destination. You may have a sight for sore eyes for your favorite aunt, but your dog or cat may not be! Make sure that your pet is well-behaved and if you have a dog, make sure that he understands basic commands before going on you trip. Take along some favorite toys to make sure that your pet does not become bored and find destructive ways to entertain himself with.
3. Medical Needs- If you're going away for a long trip, or if your pet is chronically ill, take it to the vet for a pre-vacation check-up. Make sure that all vaccinations are up to date and take the proper documentation with you. In the illegally event that your pet gets into a fight or bites someone during your trip, you'll want documentation that the pet has had its shots. Your vet may prescribe your pet a mild sedative or suggest a safe motion sickness remedy if your pet has suffered in the past. It's also advisable to obtain the names of a couple of veterinarians at your destination just in case of emergency.
4. Accommodations – As more people take to traveling with pets, more and more hotels are catering to pet travelers. By using the search term "pet-friendly" in your query, you will receive a wealth of information about pet-friendly accommodations and destinations, RV parks, dog parks, beaches and campgrounds. Major online travel agencies, like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, allow you to limit your hotel search results to only those who allow pets.
5. Safety – When traveling with pets it is important to ensure their safety and not to do anything that could put them in danger. Always have your dog or cat on a leash and never allow a pet to roam freely in the vehicle, as it could get tangled around the driver's feet or get in the driver's sight of the road. Always crate your dog or cat in a sturdy, well-ventilated carrier big enough for them to stand up and turn around in comfortably. It's a good idea to get them used to the crate a few weeks prior to departure. Also be sure to have collars and ID tags for your pets in the event that they become separated from you. Investing in a microchip may also be something to consider if your pet has a tendency to get loose.
6. Food, Water and Potty Breaks- Pack food and water bowls and avoid chances of stomach upset by packing an adequate supply of your pet's regular brand of food. Switching pet food under any circumstances can cause abdominal distress and can be extremely unpleasant for all concerned … especially while confined in a car! Stick to their regular feeding routine and give the main meal at the end of the day or when you reach your destination. Traveling with pets can also lead to dehydration so it's important to stop frequently not only for potty breaks and exercise, but also to let them get a fresh drink of water. Make sure to keep a supply of "doodie" bags handy so you can comply with local ordinances when necessary.
Preparing in advance for traveling with pets and keeping its best interests in mind on the road will help make it an enjoyable trip for everyone.