Whether you are making the most of a long weekend or moving, if you have any furry family members traveling can present a bit of a challenge. Here are some suggestions to help make your pet more comfortable on your next move or vacation!
Preparing your Pet for the Car:
The first step is to let your cat or dog become familiar with the car. Allow them (while the car is off and parked) to explore the inside and become accustomed to the smells and set up of your vehicle.
The second step is to create a safe environment for your pet in the vehicle. For safety's sake, kittens and cats should ride inside a crate while in the car. There are more options for dogs, such as dog seatbelts and harnesses, although many argue that keeping your dog in a crate is the safest option.
Make sure you have a bag packed for your pets:
- Food, water and treats
- Waste disposal (mini kitty litter box, waste bags for dogs)
- Collar, ID tags and leash
- Medical records and medication
- Familiar bed, blanket or toy
- Towels, wipes, etc. for clean ups
Preparing your pet for a Flight
The first step to flying with a pet is to research and know the airlines pet policies. Many of them have different pet transportation conditions, fees and regulations and you need to make sure to have all of the details before booking your flights. Even after checking the airlines policies online, you need to call and receive verbal confirmation ensuring that you have a spot in the often limited number of places for pets. Here is a helpful list of questions to ask the airlines
- Do they allow dogs/cats on their flights?
- Can you bring your dog/cat as carry-on or will he/she have to travel as cargo?
- What types of pet carriers does the airline accept?
- What time should you arrive at the airport to check them in?
- It can be as much as three hours before take-off. Where is cargo
check-in located? It's often in a different area of the airport.
Buy a travel safe crate (one they can easily stand up and turn around in without injury) and familiarize your pet with it weeks before your set travel date. Many airlines also specify the size and quality of kennel needed, so ensure you check before purchasing a kennel. The USDA has laid out universal must-haves: food and water dishes, "Live Animal" stickers, upright arrows, bedding and other necessities. Remember to include objects that the animal is familiar with, like a favorite toy or blanket from home. It is also important to ensure to get your pet's health checked by your veterinarian before traveling. Some airlines require a health certificate less than 30 days old before traveling.
Before you board the plane, ask the staff about your pet, try not to board until you know your precious cargo is loaded. This is also a good time to remind the airplane staff that there is a pet on board!
Finding Pet Friendly Accommodations
PetTravel.com: this site works with commercial airlines to deliver guidelines about travel-worthy crates, pet-friendly hotel listings and tips on clearing airport security.
BringFido.com: a dog travel directory that provides unbiased reviews, detailed pet policy information, and online reservations at more than 25,000 pet friendly hotels.
FidoFriendly.com for travel tips, articles and pet friendly resorts.
Do you have a story to share about traveling with pets? What are your tips and suggestions? Please share in the comments.