Tips for traveling safely (and sanely) with Fido
If you’ve ever traveled with your kids, you’re probably familiar with the challenges that you face. Whether driving, flying or finding kid-friendly hotels and activities, traveling with the little ones can be daunting. After a few trips, though, you become a pro at navigating the world with minimal meltdowns from all present parties.
And then there’s the family pet.
Our pets tend to become like any other member of the family, so planning vacations that are pet-friendly may be high on our traveling agendas. But like traveling with kids, our pets require a little extra consideration to make sure everyone stays safe (and sane) during travel. Here’s some ideas to get you from novice to master when it comes to pet travel.
Do your research
Wherever you plan to travel, make sure your destination is pet-friendly. Do they have requirements, like vet records or proof of vaccinations? According to the ASPCA, having your pet microchipped is crucial, as well as having a proper pet collar with identifying information (such as your cellphone number).
Schedule a visit with your veterinarian to be sure your pet gets the stamp of approval to hit the open road or the friendly skies, and locate a veterinarian at your destination in case of emergencies.
Pack a bag
You’ll want to make a checklist of all the pet supplies you’ll need for your adventure. Some are obvious, such as a leash, water and food bowls—but you’ll also want to take along a brush, shampoo and an old sheet or two for covering hotel furniture that your buddy might jump on. This site has a great list of specific things you’ll want to throw in your suitcase.
If you’re flying to your destination, be sure to find out what the airline requires for your pet and that you’ve purchased the approved pet carrier. Most airlines charge a fee for traveling with your pet, so be prepared to buy more than one boarding pass!
If you have a connecting flight, check to see if the airport has a pet relief area, and try to schedule layovers that are less than two hours if possible. Your pet (and your flight attendants) will thank you.
Be road safe
Planning a road trip? If you haven’t taken your pet on longer car rides, plan to take them on a few short drives—gradually increasing the length of each trip—to ease them into road life. Make sure your pet is safe and secure in the back seat, never in your lap while you drive. Bring food, bowls, a leash and waste bags. It is wise to feed your pet three to four hours prior to your departure (this lowers the likelihood of needing to clean up any accidents along the way).
And though it may seem like common sense, it bears repeating: Never, under any circumstances, leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Especially on hot days, this can easily lead to heatstroke or death.
Get a dog sitter
Depending on your plans, sometimes the safest bet is to leave your pets behind while you vacation. As much as we love them, they’re not always suited to take on the stress of travel. Having a family member or friend watch over them while you’re away is a great idea (think of it like leaving the kids at grandma’s house!).
Word of mouth is a good way to find trustworthy individuals that are willing to keep an eye or stay overnight with your pet. If your pet is a social butterfly, there are many boarding facilities around the country that offer great lodging and playtime to keep your pets safe and entertained while you’re away. Asking your fellow pet lovers and veterinarians for recommendations is a fantastic way to find the right solution for your furry friend.
Whether you’re taking the family on a road trip or flying to an exotic location, taking along Fido is a fun way to spend time. Taking a little time to do research and pack the proper supplies is key to keeping all adventurers safe and sound, whether they’re human or canine. Safe travels!