Traveling With Pets

With a little prior planning, traveling with your pets can be fun and relatively hassle-free. We recently embarked on a cross-country car trip with our cat and dog. In our household our pets are part of the family and, if at all possible, they travel with us. Of course, traveling with pets does limit your vacation choices and require a little extra planning before your trip.

Before you leave, check with your vet to make sure you will not need to take any special precautions while traveling with your pet. Even though our dog does not normally need heartworm medication during the winter months, because we were traveling in the South we needed to start her on medication again before we left. Because we were also traveling with our cat we discussed trying Feliway, a natural calming pheromone. We had good results with both the Feliway spray and the electric diffuser. If your pet is not already on flea and tick prevention, you should talk to your vet about that. You will also want to get copies of your pet’s office notes and rabies certificates to take with you on your trip.

There are many web sites that can assist you in finding motels that will accept pets. Three that I consulted are:
http://www.petswelcome.com/
http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/
http://www.1clickpethotels.com/

I would recommend that you also check the motel’s own web site to verify their current information regarding pet policies and prices. I also called the motel directly (not the 1-800 number for chain motels). I explained exactly what pets I was traveling with and asked if they would take us and what the rate would be. Not all motels will accept cats for instance and even motels that advertise that they accept pets will not always take larger dogs. Most motels also require that you not leave your pets unattended in your room or that you crate them if you are not in the room. So be prepared to either stop for fast food before you arrive or order food to be delivered to your room. One word of warning – even if the bed frame seems to be completely enclosed, check all around it to make sure your cat or small dog cannot get under the bed. I speak from experience!

If you are planning a longer trip of a week or a month try these web sites to find homes or apartments that will accept pets:
Vacation Rentals By Owner
http://www.vacationrentals.com/

Be sure to pack a good quantity of your pet’s regular food. Because we had planned a longer trip and weren’t sure we could find our dog’s regular brand of food at our destination, we pre-packaged several days worth of meals. We also brought along a larger quantity of her food that we could mix with whatever food we bought when we arrived. That allowed us to gradually change her to the new brand of food.

Because you need to keep your pets hydrated while you travel be sure to pack a few extra bottles of water in the car for your pets. We allowed time in our driving schedule to make frequent stops at wayside rests. This allowed us to stretch our legs frequently, our pets to take frequent “potty” breaks, and a chance for us to fill a water bowl for the pets.

If you like or need to travel with your pets, plan ahead and have fun!




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