More than sixty million families own pets in the US and of those fifteen million take their pets when they travel. Here are our top 10 tips to make traveling with your pet easier.
1. Is your pet used to traveling? If they are not accustomed to travel you should start getting your pet used to your vehicle. Try getting in the car and playing with them. This way the vehicle will not be a strange environment. Make your animal spend more and more time in the car and then try taking a few test-drives. This is a must before taking a long trip with your pet in the car.
2. Make sure to secure your pet while they are traveling in the car. There are several good safety harnesses made for dogs that you can get at your local pet store. If you have a large vehicle, barriers are available that keeps your pet confined to the back of the car.
3. Be extremely cautious in the summertime while leaving your pet in your vehicle. Temperatures that are mild outside the car can easily climb to the high ninties or even hundreds inside the car. Make sure to leave your animal in the car for only short periods of time and keep the windows cracked. Don’t have your windows too low or you risk your pet escaping. You would be surprised at the small spaces most domestic animals can squeeze through.
4. Make sure your lodging is pet friendly. This is an advantage to making your reservations on the Internet. Most establishments show their pet policies on their website. You may want to print out this information in case you run into any problems when checking in. When reserving lodging over the phone you might want to get the clerk to mail you a letter stating their agreement to accommodate your pet.
5. In case you pet gets lost while on vacation it is a good idea to pack a picture of your animal. That way you will be able to show people exactly what your pet looks like instead of trying to explain it. You can also use it to print up lost animal posters to put up. If your pet does become lost take a copy of the photo to the local animal shelters and the ASPCA– be sure to include how you can be reached in case someone turns in your pet.
6. If you don’t already have an RFID chip for your animal it is a good idea to get one. Most vets will implant the chip for about $75 dollars. If you decide against the RFID chip make sure your pet wears an ID tag around its neck with your address and cell phone number. You may want to get a special ID tag made up with where you will be staying while you travel.
7. Make sure you call your vet and get any shots that your pet needs. This is especially true if you want to take your dog hiking or camping, ticks and mosquitoes will certainly be looking to take a bite out of your dog. Make sure your pets rabies shots are up to date and keep documentation handy, some places make you show proof of rabies vaccinations.
8. When you get to your place of lodging, tell the person that checks you in that you indeed have your pet with you. Ask an employee where you are allowed to take your animal and where they are not welcome in the establishment.
9. Once you’re in the room be courteous and do not allow your pet to rest or nap on the furniture. Bring a pet bed or at least bring a cover for the furniture so it is not damaged or covered with pet hair. Make sure you place the animal’s food and water bowls on a non-carpeted surface to make it easier to clean up spills.
10. Inform the desk if you need to leave your animal alone in the room for an extended period of time. It’s a good idea to leave them in their travel container just in case housekeepers enter your room. If you don’t want to leave your pet all locked up then hang a do not disturb sign on your door.