Traveling with Pets on VacationPublished July 4, 2008
With the summer upon us, some of us are already making plans for our vacation getaways, to enjoy some well-needed time-off. Since many of us consider our pets to be part of the family, we may want to take them with us. If that is the case, there are decisions that we will need to make concerning our destination, how far we will travel, and what means of transportation we will use. Some pets, of course, may not be the best candidates for travel to an unfamiliar destination. Some pets can become very stressed and unhappy away from home. Therefore, before we get involved in planning, we will need to make a realistic assessment weighing all the facts that we know about our pets. Some pets really are much happier remaining home under the care of a pet sitter, or boarded in a trusted facility. Once we have ascertained that having our pet join our family for a "holiday" is a great idea, we will want to make their getaway time to be as safe and secure as possible. I cannot think of anything that could be more upsetting than losing a pet while away. Here are a few ideas to help insure our fur kids have a great experience. For our canine companions, we want to include a leash, collar, crate, a dog bed, their regular dog food and treats and grooming supplies. For cats, I would suggest a carrier, litter box and litter, familiar toys and their favorite food. I would also include some all meat and broth baby food just in case their appetites are "off." Items in general to be included in your get away bag for pets are; paper towels, cloth towels, cleaning supplies, a first aid kit and a list of veterinarians in the area to which we will be visiting. Other necessary items to include are health certificates, licenses, rabies certificate and any other important paper work. Make sure that the pets are wearing identification tags as well. For cats that are not used to collars or harnesses, I recommend getting them accustomed to wearing them several weeks in advance of the trip. Include a phone number where you may be reached in the information provided on the ID tags, for safety sake. Microchips are always a good idea, to help reunite a lost pet even while we are away. It almost goes without saying that it is essential to check with any hotel or motel at which you plan to stay is a "pet friendly" one. There are many "pet friendly" accommodations available. A good place to begin your search is to visit http://www.petswelcome.com/. Some facilities may require a "pet deposit" to cover any accidental damage that may occur to the room. Never permit your pet to remain in a parked car, unattended, or without running your air conditioner. Overheated pets can expire quickly. While this may require a little extra planning, it is crucial. Always keep your cat in a carrier while traveling. It is far safer for driver and feline as curious cats can easily explore under the pedals, which is highly dangerous. While it may look cute to see a cat perched in the rear window ledge, it is an accident waiting to happen. It is best to feed your pet at least an hour before departure, and to make several "pit stops" along the way for their comfort. You may offer a litter box to your kitty during a stop, providing that you supervise your cat and the car is securely closed. Always make sure to clean up after your pet and obey all animal regulations. Using these safety tips as a guide, we can expect to have a happy and fun filled vacation with the added pleasure of our wonderful pet accompanying us.
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