Family vacations are no longer reserved for two-legged children. According to a study by AAA and Best Western International, more than half of American pet owners bring their cats and dogs while traveling.
If you want to travel with your dog friend or cat friend or fly the sky, we have tips to make the trip as smooth as possible.
Road trips with Rover
• Function test. Before embarking on a long trip, take shorter trips to see how your pet reacts. Does he become nervous? Travel sick?
• Buckle your belt. About 30,000 accidents are caused each year by a dog without restraint on the front seat, according to AAA. Animals who wonder about the vehicle are not only a distraction for the driver, but they are also injured in the event of an accident. You can help ensure a safe trip by preventing your furry friend from using a pet fence, pet seatbelt, pet car seat or travel box.
• Keep the heads and paws inside. Your dog may push his head out of the window, but driving may cause ear damage or expose your pet to a lung infection, according to the ASPCA.
• Prepare for the worst. Attach the second tag to your pet’s collar containing the address and phone number of your whereabouts. Also, bring your pet’s medical records in case of emergency.
• Pitstops. The American Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners to stop every two to three hours so your pet can use the bath and move around.
• Hydrates. ASPCA recommends keeping a gallon of cold water on hand to ensure your pet stays hydrated during the trip.
• Do not leave her alone. On a day of 85 degrees, the temperature in a car with broken windows can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes, which can be deadly. If you are visiting a destination where pets are not allowed, leave them in an animal-friendly hotel – or at home – instead of the car.
• For more information, see the MNN Pet Safety Tips.
Fly with Fluffy
• Ready to fly. If your pet is very young, very old or not healthy, it is best to leave the animal at home. In addition, some breeds are not good at cargo, such as camouflaged noses like pugs that are prone to breathing difficulties. Many major airlines no longer allow such breeds to fly in the hold.
• Research. Policies and fees vary by airline and if your pet is flying in the cabin or as checked baggage. Be sure to review the history of the flying animal airline. Cases of lost, injured or dying animals have increased in recent years. Currently, approximately 15 major airlines provide DOT monthly event reports listing pet incidents.
• Consider a pure pet airline. Pet Airways offers air-conditioned cabins with individual crates and a flight attendant inspects the animals every 15 minutes. After landing, the animals are housed in the bathrooms and can be picked up by the owners in the airline’s Pet Lounge at participating airports.
• Papers for pets. When traveling out of the country, find out what vaccines your pet needs and the need for quarantine. Further information can be found in this database on animal imports.
• Prepare the carrier. Buy a kennel that has room for your pet to turn around and stand without hitting his head. If your pet has not traveled yet, take the time to get the animal used to being in the vehicle. Airlines have different box sizes, but the USDA requires food and water dishes, “Living Animal” stickers, vertical arrows and linens.
• Identification tags. Add contact information for your pet’s collar as well as for the wearer.
• Exercise. Play with your cat before the flight or go for a walk with your dog. The more tired your pet is, the more likely they are to sleep while traveling.
• Relax. Cesar Millan recommends using lavender oil as an “association scent” to help your pet fly. In the weeks before the flight, he suggests giving a drop of oil during meals or before going for a walk. Once aboard, “the positive association will allow him to calm down and stay relaxed.”
• For more information, read MNN’s Top 10 tips for flying with pets.
Other travel tips for pets.
• Consult your veterinarian before traveling, especially if your pet has not traveled or if you have health problems.
• Keep a familiar blanket or toy with your pet to make you feel better while driving.
• If your pet becomes nervous while traveling, consider getting a Thundershirt. These tight-fitting shirts target pressure points, and veterinarians often recommend this drug-free option for animals suffering from anxiety.
• Book pet-friendly hotels and look for places to bring your dog or companion. GoPetFriendly.com provides a wealth of information on these topics and can even help you plan your journey on the road.