How to Travel Safely and Comfortably With a Pet
As a loving pet owner, you want to spend as much time with your furry companion as possible—even your holidays. However, planning a vacation with an animal in tow can be tough. You want to make sure that both you and your pet are comfortable, and that you’re abiding by any relevant rules and regulations. Pet Parents’ Place shares how you can travel safely with your pet, so you can see the world together.
Find Pet-Friendly Destinations
A smooth trip with your pet starts with picking the right destination. Large cities may not be ideal for animals, as they can get overwhelmed by the many sights and sounds. Smaller towns and rural locations are great, especially if you have a dog. They’ll love the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. The Daily Paws provides a roundup of dog-friendly destinations ranging from the coast of Maine to the mountains of Vermont.
Consider Mapping Out a Road Trip
When picking your destination, consider how you’ll get there. For a streamlined experience, consider making it a road trip. Flying with animals adds a significant administrative burden. Even if you’re driving, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. If you have a dog, keep them in a crate or carrier. You don’t want them jumping on you while you’re driving. Also, make sure they have plenty of food and water throughout the trip.
If You’re Flying, Do Your Research
If your chosen destination is simply too far away to make a road trip reasonable, you’ll have to fly. In this case, look up the airline’s policy regarding traveling with pets before you fly. They may have restrictions regarding the types of animals you can bring in the cabin and their size. They may also require certain veterinary documentation proving your pet is healthy. United’s page about pet travel offers a great example of the details to consider.
Choose an Accommodation that Allows Pets
It’s often preferable to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. This gives you greater flexibility. Bonus points if the rental has a yard where your animal can roam. When booking a pet-friendly rental, follow best practices. Confirm that the rental is pet-friendly before you arrive and follow any relevant rules. For example, some rental owners ask that you don’t let pets on furniture and that pets aren’t left unattended.
When in a rental, you may find you don’t have some of the amenities that you would otherwise expect in a hotel, such as an ironing board. Fortunately, it’s easy to come up with some alternative solutions for ironing when you lack one. Tips like this are a must when staying in rented accommodations.
It’s best if you can find accommodations in areas with high walk scores, which means that you and your pet can easily walk to different shops and restaurants. But check with restaurants before you visit. Just because they have a patio does not mean that they will welcome your furry friends.
Pack Your Pet’s Must-Have Items
With your itinerary ready and your transportation and accommodation arranged, it’s time to start packing. Make sure you have all the essentials your pet needs, like their leash, toys, and food. If you’re traveling someplace warm, get your pup a cooling mat to keep them from overheating. When selecting a mat, consider details like durability, cleaning requirements, and size as well as the cooling method used.
Take Steps to Minimize Travel Anxiety
Many animals get nervous when they travel. This is perfectly normal. Do all you can to minimize their anxiety. For example, you might give them a worn t-shirt that smells like you in their carrier to keep them calm. To alleviate your own anxiety, follow a step-by-step pet travel checklist because your anxiety can rub off on your pet.
During your trip, it’s important that you watch for signs of stress and anxiety, like excessive urination, continued scratching, or significant mood changes. Be sure to bring along any medications your pet takes on a regular basis, especially if they take anything for conditions such as hypertension.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Even with advanced planning, emergencies can happen. It’s good to be prepared. Before you leave for your trip, take your cat or dog in for a checkup to rule out any immediate medical needs. It’s better to deal with problems at home than mid-vacation. Just in case, prepare for the possible necessity of veterinary care while traveling. Look up animal hospitals in your target destination, so you know where to go in case of an emergency.
Traveling with your pet can bring you both a lot of joy. However, it does require some advanced preparation. Look for lodgings that will welcome you and your furry friends, and scope out pet-friendly areas that will allow you to bring your pet with you to more places. When things don’t go quite as planned, take a deep breath and try to keep your anxiety under wraps for both your and your pets’ benefits.
If you’d like to connect with a past or present pet owner or foster parent, visit Pet Parents’ Place today!
Article contributed by Jessica Brody, Our Best Friends