Most U.S. households have at least one pet — and it’s not uncommon for pet owners to treat their furry friends like any other member of the family. It’s understandable, then, that you might want to avoid bringing your dog to a kennel or leaving your cat in the care of a friend every time you have to go out of town. Whether you’re planning a cross-country vacation or you’re traveling an hour away from Detroit for a weekend, you may want to learn how to bring your canine or feline companion along for the ride without dealing with extra stress. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Do Your Due Diligence
Before you decide to travel with your pet, you’ll need to do your homework to minimize mishaps. Be sure to talk to your vet to ensure your pet is healthy enough to travel and that doing so won’t cause any unnecessary stress. You may also need to schedule an appointment close to when you’ll be leaving on vacation; if you’re flying and bringing your pup along, you might need to obtain a certificate of health for your dog within 10 days of your departure. You’ll also want to check with your airline (and with a state veterinarian located in the area in which you’ll be staying) about the kind of documentation you’ll need. Don’t forget to acclimate your pet to their carrier before you leave. Even if you’re driving, you’ll need to keep your pet safely in their carrier for the duration of the trip. Helping your furry friend get used to their surroundings can make your travel prep go much more smoothly. Going on shorter road trips leading up to your long drive can help.
Always Prepare For the Worst
It’s good to be optimistic, but don’t assume that your vacation will go off without a hitch. Bring a pet travel kit with you that consists of food, water (and a water bowl), a waste scoop and baggies, a leash or harness, grooming supplies, treats, medications, first aid items, and pertinent documentation. You may want to keep back-ups in a separate piece of luggage or in your car, just in case something should get lost or forgotten along the way. Be sure to attach a tag to your pet’s collar that includes contact information for the place you’ll be staying during your travels. If you’re bringing your dog along, take them for a walk before you set out; if they’re tired, they’ll be less stressed. And while you might be tempted to give your pet a sedative, opt for CBD treats or calming drops instead. Talk to your vet if your pet tends to become anxious in the car, as they might be able to provide you with medication or special treats that will help your pet to stay relaxed.
Reserve Pet-Friendly Accommodations
Although 2.7% of the United States’ gross domestic product is attributed to travel and tourism, that doesn’t mean pets are welcome everywhere. You’ll definitely need to book pet-friendly accommodations throughout your trip. Of course, your hotel should welcome your cat or dog. But don’t forget that if you plan on using public or private transportation of any kind, you’ll also need to ensure your four-legged companion won’t be turned away. Be sure to ask about the pet policies for local taxi companies, rental vehicles, and buses before you depart so that you’ll know what to expect. If you’re renting a car, you’ll need to find out about this, too. Keep in mind that restaurants and local attractions may not be automatically welcoming to guests with pets. Although service animals and even emotional support animals might be allowed, many businesses reserve the right to turn people (and their pets) away for any reason. You’ll want to plan out your itinerary well in advance to avoid this scenario.
If you’re like many Americans, you won’t like the thought of having your pet stay home while you’re away. Now that you have a clearer idea of how to prepare for a pet-friendly vacation, you can get to work — and then get to relax!