Jun 08 2011

Vacationing with your pet

Summer’s (almost) here!  It’s already hot as can be, and the kids are out of school.  Time to go on vacation.

If you travel with your pet, it can add an extra dimension to planning a trip.  Making sure you have the right supplies for yourself and a dog or cat can be quite a task.  You also have to make sure they’ll travel in comfort, no matter the type of trip you’ll be taking.

Taking a pet on a plane trip requires more planning ahead than driving, naturally.  Airlines require a health certificate from a veterinarian, which states that your dog or cat is healthy enough to fly.  The timing for these is crucial: they usually have to be done within ten days of the flight.  That means that if you’re staying longer than ten days, you may have to acquire a health certificate at your destination before the return trip.

There are services that fly your pet for you, and you meet them at the destination: http://www.ipata.com and http://petairways.com/ are two examples.   Their flights are a bit limited now, but the search option helps you find out if they have the service you need.  Your furry family member is given more personalized attention than on a traditional flight, and I think this is a service that will become more and more popular.

Driving can pose some logistical concerns.  You have to make sure there will be places you can get out, let your dog do his business, and stretch his (and your) legs.  Cats may be uncomfortable using the litter box in a moving car, not to mention the danger of having litter flung in your eye if you have to stop suddenly.  Making a stop to let felines have a rest and potty break is crucial for long drives.

Some people like to have their pets in their lap when driving, but it’s a pretty dangerous practice.  Not only is it distracting, they can get in the way if you need to react quickly.  If you’re in a wreck and your pet isn’t secured, they could be ejected, or the airbags could severely injure them.  It’s best to keep cats in carriers and dogs harnessed to the seat belt.  There are a lot of products out there, and here are a few listings on Amazon.  Some pets are nervous when restrained in a car, but I’d take anxiety over traumatic injury any day.  Letting your dog stick his head out of the window can cause injury too, from debris getting into his eyes to the split-second decision to jump out to chase that squirrel.

Camping with dogs is lots of fun, but make sure you bring all the equipment you may need and a first aid kid especially for pets, just in case.  If you’re going to stay in a hotel, here is a good resource for finding one that is pet-friendly.

Do you take your pet on vacation?  What are your favorite place to go, and how do you prepare?

dog on beach

Photo credit: Denzil~

ePet Websites Admin | Atlanta Pet Blog, Living with pets

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