You know you deserve a vacation, but ever since you added a pet or two to your household, you are not certain how to manage their care while you are gone. Some pet owners are perfectly content to board their furry, scaled or feathered family members at an appropriate pet “hotel’ for the duration of their trip away from home. Others want to explore the option of bringing their pets along for the ride. Depending on the circumstances this can be as easy as loading Fido into the back seat with the kids or as complicated as navigating TSA or customs at the airport with a crated animal and dealing with laws and rules in another state or country. No matter what level complexity you face, here are some tips that can help your trip with the family pet be fun and successful.
Make Sure Your Accommodations Are Accommodating
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure that the hotel, resort, bed and breakfast or other location at which you intend to stay accepts pets. Investigate whether the lodging has a charge for adding your pet to the list of inhabitants. Make sure you understand their rules and specifications, so you do not find Fido and your entire family sitting on the curb looking for a more pet-friendly spot.
See Your Vet — Update The Paperwork
Before you load up the mini-van or schedule the flight, take time for a check up at the vet. Talk to your veterinarian to ensure you are preparing your particular animal for the trip planned. If you are worried about issues like motion sickness, get medication or advice on how to prevent the animal from being uncomfortable and you needing to clean up a mess. Make sure your pet’s vaccines are all up to date and bring along paper proof in case a question arises.
Seats, Snacks, And Entertainment
If you are taking a road trip make sure your pet will be safely contained. Both for his or her security and the well-being of the driver and the rest of the passengers. You may want to bring along a kennel or carrier to keep them from panicking, roaming under seats, or interfering with the safe operation of the vehicle. Be sure to bring along some food and water, a few favorite toys, and plan frequent breaks. Just like humans, pets need to have their creature comforts during a long trip.
Practice Makes Proficient
Before the big bon-voyage day take a few short trips with your animal to acclimate them to the situation. As they react, you can plan to improve the environment for when the actual trip takes place.
Put Your Pet’s Needs First
Not all types of animals are happy to leave their familiar spaces. Even if it means they will be with their beloved owners. Consider carefully whether your pet will enjoy traveling with you and your friends or family. Watch how your pet handles unfamiliar events and areas and take your cue from what you learn. If your pet seems to be able to adapt and is happy adventuring with you, by all means, take the measure necessary to include him or her in your travel plans. On the other hand, when your pet is miserable away from home or terrified in the car or in strange place consider a pet-sitting or boarding service instead.