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Preparing to Travel with Your Dog (or Other Furry Friend)
Posted By Christine Bilger On August 20, 2012 @ 5:16 pm In Family Focus | No Comments
Any animal lover knows that pets are just as much a part of the family as the kids. Whether you have a big bouncing Boxer dog or a cuddly little Chihuahua, bringing your pets on vacation can make any hotel room feel like home.
More and more places are allowing Fido to travel along with the family. Pet-friendly hotels are springing up across the nation, and with cooler temperatures on the way, fall is the perfect doggy travel season.
Bringing your dog or cat on vacation should be fun and not stressful. With some careful preparation, traveling with any animal will be a breeze. Here are some things to know before bringing your furry friend on your next trip!
Most dog-lovers I know have a hard time leaving their furry “babies” at home. Your main consideration when deciding to take your pet on a trip is whether your pet will actually enjoy the trip with you. What kind of trip will you be taking? Are you mainly focused on fine dining and going to the theater? Or will you be enjoying the great outdoors? If there’s nothing in it for your poochie pal, it might make more sense to board him or hire a pet-sitter. If Spot would spend all his time in the hotel room, barking at the dogs on TV, (yes, I know a dog that does this!) you should probably just leave him at home, where he’ll be happier.
Flying with your dog or cat requires advanced booking. Airlines often place restrictions on the number of animals per flight, so you should definitely book in advance, and make sure the airline knows you’ll be bringing along your dog.
Some factors may prevent your dog from flying at all. Here are some conditions under which you may not be able to bring a pet.
There are a few ways dogs can fly. If your dog is small enough, (under about 20 pounds) it may be able to ride along in the cabin. Bear in mind that the dog must be able to fit under the seat in front of you, in a carrier that allows it to stand up and turn around. If your dog is larger, however, they will have to travel as excess baggage in the cargo compartment of the plane.
Flying with your dog is not cheap. As an example, American Airlines charges $175 per kennel for pets traveling with checked baggage. Even if your doggy is your carry-on, you’ll pay $125 per kennel.
Finding pet-friendly accommodations isn’t too hard these days. There are numerous websites out there for booking a soft, warm bed for your lovable canine. Check websites like Pets Welcome or Trips with Pets for up-to-date directories of the best pet-friendly hotels and accommodations.
Before booking, it may be smart to speak with the hotel directly to ensure that the furriest member of your family will be welcome. Ask about any fees or deposits required, and find out if there are size or weight limits.
Since you’ll be traveling in an unfamiliar environment, consider crate-training your dog. Most hotels strongly encourage dogs to be kept in crates, for the safety of the housekeeping crew and other guests alike.
If your furry family member is going to be traveling, a pre-vacation trip to the vet is a good idea. There are a few essential things to discuss with your vet.
First, you need to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations. If you’re going to be flying, most airlines will require a current health certificate.
Second, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, you should ask your vet about vaccinating against fleas, ticks, and other bugs.
Third, if you’re going on a longer trip and have an anxious or aggressive animal, you may wish to talk to your vet about sedatives. Unfamiliar surroundings can cause high levels of anxiety. To keep your pet from hurting itself or others during travel, you may wish to use sedatives.
Keep in mind that while it’s good to plan well in advance, your trip to the vet should take place very close to your departure date. According to Animal Planet, most airlines require that your pet’s certificate of health be no more than 10 days old.
Worst-case scenario: your dog gets lost or hurt in an unfamiliar area. You don’t want this to happen, but it’s entirely possible.
In case you get separated from your animal, make sure they have some sort of identification. Microchips are a smart way to track your animal. If your dog doesn’t have a microchip, make sure they always wear a current ID tag. And in case the unthinkable happens and you lose your furry friend, bring color copies of current photos, so you can get assistance tracking your dog down.
In case your dog gets hurt or sick, make sure to identify a local and emergency veterinarian ahead of time.
If you do your homework and plan ahead, traveling with your dog will be an enjoyable experience. If you’re going out of town for Labor Day weekend or any end-of-summer travel, following these tips will help give your furry best friend the easiest travel experience possible.
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