Before packing for your next vacation this summer, consider these important tips while traveling with your pet.
1. Will my pet be comfortable and happy during the travels? Some animals simply prefer to stay at home and a “homesick”, possibly motion-sick pet will ruin everyone’s trip. In such a case it’s probably wiser to leave your pet with a friend or relative or hire a “pet sitter”.
2. If you decide to take your pet along, you must take as much care with the preparation of your pet’s trip as your own. If you plan to travel by plane, bus, train, find out if your pet will be welcome and, what kind of reservations and transport arrangements must be made. If you’ll be staying at hotels, motels or campgrounds, you must check if animals are allowed or if kennel facilities are available. If your staying with friends or family, make sure that your pet is also invited.
3.Ensure your pet ALWAYS wears a collar with complete identification and a license tag. Microchipping & Registering your pet is the way to ensure you will retrieve your animal should it be lost. Have your pet examined and vaccinated, if necessary, by your veterinarian before a long trip. If your pet must travel in a crate or carrier, be sure it is strong, large enough for him to stand and turn around, has a place for food and water, is well ventilated, has a leak-proof bottom and closes securely.
4. Contact the airline you wish to fly well in advance-each has its own regulations and reservations for your pet will be necessary. Be sure to ask about the airline’s rules for pet carriers. Try to book a direct flight, or one with a minimum if stops. The airline may allow your pet in the passenger cabin if your crate or carrier can fit under the seat in front of you. If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, be at the airport early, place him in his travel crate yourself and pick him up promptly when you land. Establish that your pet will be in a pressurized area of the plane. Cargo holds can get very hot or very cold without environmental controls.
5. If your pet is not used to being in the car, take him or her for a few short rides before your trip. Your cat will probably be most comfortable in a carrier. Pets should NEVER be allowed to put their heads outside the window when riding in a car. Dirt particles can cause injury or infections and cold air taken into the lungs can lead to illness. Plan “snack”, exercise and rest stops about every two hours if you’re taking a long drive. Give the main meal at the end of the day. Dry food is most convenient, but if your pet needs canned food; dispose of any unused portions if they cannot be refrigerated.
6. It is not recommended that you leave your dog or cat in a parked car for a prolonged period of time. If you must leave your pet in a parked car, lock all doors and open windows enough to provide good ventilation, without allowing her enough room to jump out or get her head caught. On hot days the temperature in a parked car can rise to dangerous levels in just minutes and your pet could die if heat stroke.