Want to go on a vacation with the whole family — pets included? Even if you’ve traveled with your pets before, it can get a little tricky. Here are a few tips to keep the stress levels low, while traveling with pets.
Is your vacation no fun if you can’t take your pet along?
Summer is a fine time for family vacations, and many pet owners want their furry family members to be part of the fun.
According to a study by AAA and Best Western International, more than half of U.S. pet owners take their cats and dogs with them when they travel.
So if a vacation isn’t a vacation if your four-legged family members aren’t with you, here are some tips for traveling with pets.
Drive if you can
Most national train or bus carriers do not allow pes (except service animals), so road travel is easiest if you drive your own car.
- Crate ’em. It’s not recommended that your dog or cat ride on your lap or in the front seat. A carrier or crate can prevent them from roaming the car and distracting you while driving. When driving with cats, a small dog crate can often be less stressful and allow your cat to see the sights.
- Potty break! Plan for plenty of pit stops and bathroom breaks (a litter box in that dog crate can work for cats, but they may choose to wait until you reach your destination). And most importantly, remember never to leave your pet in the car – extreme temperatures can be dangerous for animals!
- Oops. Cats and dogs can get motion sickness, so be prepared with cleanup supplies.
- Test run. It’s good to try a few short trips before you head out on a long trip only to discover your pet would rather be at home.
Taking your dog for a long walk, or playing with your cat and his favorite toy, is a good idea before loading them into the car. If they’ve had some exercise before the trip they’ll be calmer and more likely to sleep!
If you fly
Most airlines are pet-friendly and allow you to carry on or check your pets, but they sometimes require a health certificate from your veterinarian, so check with your airline ahead of time to verify requirements.
Small pets can come onboard in a rigid or soft-sided carrier to be stored under the seat, but larger pets must fly in cargo.
That isn’t always a good situation for the pet, so they may be safer and happier skipping the trip.
Flying can be stressful for animals, so you might consider talking to your vet about a sedative to keep your pet calm while on the plane.
Hotels that accommodate pets
Many hotels offer pet-friendly options – even the high-end chains. Check with individual hotels for pet policies ahead of time, and be prepared to pay an additional fee for your pet to spend the night
Some hotels even offer special treats, food and water bowls, and pet beds for your four-legged family members. Be sure to ask about amenities when you call!
Several web sites provide listings for pet-friendly lodging.
Do you like to travel with your pet? What are some things you’ve found that make traveling with your dog or cat easier? Leave a comment below to share!