We’re knee deep into summer now and many families are getting ready for their summer vacation. For many of you, it’s not really a family trip unless you bring your pets. But bringing your dog or cat along presents some unique challenges and requires some additional planning and forethought on your part.
We wanted to offer up a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years to help make the family vacation fun and safe for everyone, including the pets.
First of all, dogs travel much more easily than cats. Your cats are probably much happier staying at home and having a friend come in and feed them every day. If your cat is trained to walk on a leash, it might be a little easier, but unless your cat is crated, you still would need to watch out for hotel balconies, swimming pools, open windows and other hazards. Leaving them home might be the better option.
Having gotten that disclaimer out of the way, here’s our top tips for traveling with your pet:
1. Make sure your destination is pet friendly. Many hotels and motels accept pets nowadays, although most charge an extra pet cleaning/damage fee. If you are renting a cabin or lake retreat, check with the rental agent on their pet policy.
2. Your pet may need their own suitcase for their essentials. Don’t forget to bring:
- First aid kit
- Water bowl
- LEASH and collar with tags
- Poop bags
- Dog bed or blanket and crate for safe containment
- Sunscreen – yes, pets need it too
3. If you are going to be around water, a life vest for your pet is a sound investment. I’ve seen many a dog walk off the edge of a dock and fall face first into the water, or even jump off a moving boat!
4. Scout out your destination beforehand to find dog friendly beaches, dog parks, hiking trails and other dog friendly restaurants.
5. Plan daily outings for your pet. They will be a little stressed given the new environment, so try and keep to the daily routines, i.e. breakfast, walk, play time, nap.
6. If you’re flying, be sure your pet gets used to their enclosure beforehand. Practice leaving them in it for the same length of time your flight will be. Make sure your pet and your pet carrier are well labeled with your pet’s name and destination. Check out this helpful site for more specifics on flying with your pets: https://www.animalairways.com/
7. If you’re driving, make sure you have proper restraints for your pet, either crated in the back, or harnessed with approved pet safety belts.
8. It’s a good idea to carry their vaccination certificates, especially if you are traveling out of the country.
9. Factor in pet pit stops. You should probably stop to let them relieve themselves and stretch their legs every 2-3 hours. Make sure they stay hydrated and DON’T EVER LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED IN YOUR CAR!!!
Vacations are a great opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and have fun with your family. Having Fido join you only adds to the fun but be mindful of these tips and do it safely.