According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Best Western International more than 50% of all cat and dog owners take their pets with them on vacation.
Taking a pet with you on a vacation will not only open them up to new experiences, but it can be rewarding for both you and your pet. I bet few of you can ever say your dog or cat has flown inside a plane with you or stayed in a hotel with a pool, sauna and a restaurant.
Our family went on vacation a couple of times with our dog Jake, but we kind of did it as a hit or miss thing, i.e. we did not prepare as well as we should have.
I don’t recommend this to any of you. The one time we spent five days in a hotel with her, we weren’t supposed to have a dog but we could not find another place for hundreds of miles.
Let me tell you it was sort of fun, but at the same time nerve wracking trying not to get caught. By the grace of God we never did get caught, and in the long run it all worked out and we had a great time.
The other time Jake flew with us sitting on our laps as a canine passenger in the plane we took to and from our vacation destination.
She was allowed on the plane but we could have planned better for that trip also. Don’t get me wrong, Jake was as good as gold on the plane, but we did not plan very well for our layover at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
Live and learn, they say. Today it is a lot easier to travel with your pet because more hotels and motels are allowing dogs and cats.
Discussed below are some things you should take into consideration before you go away with your pet. Believe me when I tell, you preparation is the key; I speak from experience.
Decide on a Destination
Try and pick a spot that will be more pet friendly than others. Pick a destination that fits your pet’s personality.
For example, busy cities and urban areas are not as well suited for dogs as are smaller cities, rural or suburban areas that have outdoor cafes, dog parks and camping grounds. If you have a cat that is used to staying in all the time, then a city should work just as well.
Many European destinations are also very welcoming of pets. If you do decide to go overseas, you need to do a little bit of extra research to find out what is needed for your dog as far as taking them into the country you plan on visiting and what will be required when you are ready to return.
Once you have decided where you are going, decide on what you will do for accommodations. If you plan on a motel or hotel you will need to do some research to find out if the hotel you are interested in takes pets.
You can find this by searching online, through your travel agency or by calling the hotel directly. Find a place to stay that accept pets and make a reservation.
Pre-vacation Vet Visit
It’s important that you visit your vets before you leave for vacation and tell them where you plan on going.
They will make sure that your dog or cat has the proper vaccinations for wherever you are going. (Some countries will necessitate special shots). You will also need to make sure your pet has up to date rabies shot, and you will need proof that it is up to date.
Get a copy from your vet and make sure you have it with you at all times. Some places require a “wellness report” for your pet and your vet can also provide this. If you are flying, your airline can tell you which reports you will need.
If you and your pet become separated, you will want to increase your chances of being reunited. The best way to do this is to make sure your pet has the proper ID on them.
If you can afford it, the best way to go with this is to have your vet implant a microchip in them with all their information on it. This should be in addition to their collar or harness. Make sure you have an ID on the collar with your name and address on it so you can be contacted if they get lost.
Whether traveling by land or by air you will need a pet carrier. In a car, if you don’t have a harness for your dog you need to have them in a pet carrier.
On a plane, all pets need a carrier; check with your airline for what their regulations are concerning the dimensions of your carrier.
Regardless of the specific guidelines for the airline your carrier should have an ID attached to the outside of it with the pet’s name, your name and address and a phone number where you can be reached.
Make sure you mark it clearly with “live animal” and “this side up.” The crate should be big enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. It should be lined, and if it’s for a cat it should have a litter box.
Remember to get one that is sturdy, waterproof and has handles. Make sure you don’t lock the carrier, and have feeding instructions posted on it in case there is an emergency. Finally, if you have never used one before make sure your pet is used to being in it before you go.