Traveling in and of itself can be stressful, adding your beloved furry sidekick to the mix and things can become overwhelming, fast. Over the years, more and more people are taking their pets along for vacations. According to the American Pet Products Association, dog owners taking their pets on trips rose from 20% to 40% between 2006 and 2016. As fellow pet owners, we understand how imperative your animal’s safety and happiness are during the trek. We’ve compiled a list of tips to ensure your pet arrives at the desired destination calm and just as excited as you and your family to start the vacation!
Is Your Pet Up For It?
Patricia B. McConnell, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and author of ‘The Education of Will’ gives us expert advice on the topic. “The first thing you want to ask yourself is, ‘Are you sure your pet really wants to go?’“I’ve seen people who believed their dog would be fine or they wanted their cat to go with them, but the animal was terrified of strangers or a wreck in noisy places. So think about your pet’s personality and remember that traveling will involve exposure to new people and changing environments.” It’s also a good idea to consult with your vet to make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel.
Book In Advance
Make sure to book your hotel room or rental property in advance, and be sure to confirm it is pet-friendly! Amy Burkert, co-founder of GoPetFriendly.com tells us, “A lot of times hotels will only have a certain number of rooms available for pet use”. The same goes for trains and airlines who have a limited set capacity for pets, so be sure to book as early as possible!
Identify Your Pet
Make sure to attach a name tag to your pet that has their name, and any necessary contacts. A micro-chip is also a good idea in case Fido gets away. “A 2009 study found that microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owners as non-microchipped dogs”…now that is amazing!
Medical Records On Hand
Any medical information you have on your pet is crucial to bring along on the trip. A list of vaccinations, and any health-related issues need to be documented. This doesn’t just go for airline travel either, driving across state lines may even require your pet’s medical documents.
Invest In The Right Gear
You’ll need to buy an approved pet carrier that follows the mode of transportation’s requirements. You’ll also need to label the carrier with the words “Live Animal”, ensuring it is obvious to anyone handling your pet exactly who’s in there. A safety harness, muzzle, collapsible water bowl and poopy bags are vital. We also recommend bringing along your animal’s favorite toys and bed. Dr. McConnell also recommends traveling with things familiar to the animal, anything that smells like home will calm your pet.
Animals are creatures of habit, so it is crucial to stay on schedule. Make sure to feed them at the time you normally would at home. Oh, and be sure to not overfeed your pet before the trek, thus avoiding nausea. Continue using the pet food your animal is used to, and stick to bottled water- diet changes can cause GI upset.
We hope that some of this information has decreased your stress of traveling with your pet. Safe travels with you, yours (and your furry friend)!