Summer Pet Travel Safety

So you want to join the “Traveling with your pet” craze this summer? GREAT! You might save money on a pet sitter and have your best friend with you to enjoy your vacation too. But if you’re bringing Fido or Fluffy along, please take some time to get them ready for the trip so that they enjoy it as much as you do.

The first pit stop with your pit (or any pet) should be the dreaded vet. They may hate it, but you need to make sure they have a clean bill of health and are up-to-date on shots and vaccinations. Getting sick on the road is no fun for anyone.

Next thing on the check list is to check ahead with the airline and/or hotels to assure they’re pet-friendly. Many airlines, but not all, will let you bring your smaller dog/cat in an airline approved carrier onto the plane. This is preferred over flying your pet in cargo. Summer and winter are absolutely the worst times to fly with a pet in cargo due to the temperature extremes. The Center for Pet Safety is an excellent resource for more information about flying safely with your pet: http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/air-travel/

And watch the sleeping aids! Tranquilizers can also raise body temperature and blood pressure while in the air. Check with your vet!

Also, do a little training. Get Fido comfortable in his or her carrier before you leave on the trip by having him log some time inside the carrier and, if you’re driving, inside the car too. Invest in a crash tested dog seatbelt or a crash tested crate for your animal’s safety. The Center for Pet Safety is an excellent resource, listing test results for a variety of products they recommend: http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/

And of course, NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN THE CAR!!

And remember, old food is road food. While we are justified in eating chips, candy and soft drinks on a road trip (hey, it’s vacation right!), your pet wants his same ole same ole treats and food. And make sure they have access to plenty of water. Some experts recommend your pet eating wet food to get more moisture. But if your pet isn’t used to that, then switch it several weeks ahead of time to make sure they like it!  You also may not want to feed your cat right before flying as he may get sick. Aside from the food, toss in some familiar toys and blankets, and your pet is road ready!

Once you’ve arrived at your pet-approved hotel room (remember that whole checking ahead thing), try not to leave them alone. If you absolutely have to go out on the town without them, then put them in, you guessed it, the carrier. Maids bust into the room regardless of how many door signs you hang, and that can startle your pet (heck, it startles us!) into trying to get out.

Take some time to cover all the bases of traveling with your pet, and you’ll have a vacation that you AND your pet will appreciate!