Many people wouldn’t dream of leaving Fido or Fluffy behind when taking a vacation. To keep your pets happy and healthy on the road, follow this advice from Paris Permenter, co-publisher of DogTipper.com and co-author of 33 pet and travel books.
Choose a pet-friendly destination
“Make sure the destination matches your pet’s needs,” suggests “Our dogs enjoy hiking and swimming, so we take them to the beach and to parks and we skip congested destinations.” Look for outdoor dining that welcomes pets, too.
Find pet-friendly lodging
“Call the hotel directly rather than reserving online or through a call desk,” says Permenter. “Talk with a hotel employee and explain the size, number and type of pet you will be bringing to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises at check-in.” Along with being accepting of pets, look for properties that are especially welcoming of pets. Ask about weight restrictions. If you’re bringing your cat, confirm that the hotel is specifically cat-friendly.
Visit your vet
Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations. “Your vet can let you know if there are special health considerations where you’re traveling, whether there’s a recent outbreak of canine flu or a particular type of tick that’s a concern,” says Permenter. If you’re flying or driving out of state, you’ll want to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), which USDA-accredited veterinarians can provide.
Pack for your pet
Permenter recommends car restraints for dogs and secured carriers for cats. Her dogs wear GPS units on their collars so, in the event they’re lost, she can track them with her smartphone. Her pets also wear a second ID tag showing her cell-phone number. Bring your pet’s normal food and treats as well as litter for cats. “We carry collapsible silicone water bowls and food bowls and bring a spare collar for each pet and a fixed leash,” says Permenter. Many parks require fixed leashes no longer than six feet.
“For hotel stays, we pack a bed sheet from home to throw over the hotel bed so we don’t leave pet hair behind. We also pack pet toys, dog-waste bags and a small bottle of urine eliminator and spot remover.”
Plan carefully for air travel
“I only recommend air travel if your pet can travel in the cabin with you, riding at your feet under the seat,” says Permenter. “Cargo travel is very difficult on pets. If you have to fly your pet via cargo, talk with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy enough for the journey, and try to make non-stop flight arrangements, if possible.” Summer travel is often restricted due to high temperatures, so check with your airline to and, if transport is permitted, select the first flight of the day when temperatures are cooler.