Summer means vacation time to most people. But whether it's a week at the beach, touring a theme park or visiting relatives, for pet owners, vacations invariably mean extra planning and arrangements. Do you take your pet? Leave it at home with a friend or sitter? Board at a kennel?
The first thing to consider is your pet's temperament and how you'll actually be spending most of your time. If Rover always gets carsick and you intend to drive cross country, you should certainly think twice about bringing him along. But if you have a healthy, active dog and plan to spend your vacation hiking, it might be fun for everyone. Cats tend to prefer the familiar comforts of home, though many pet owners with RVs report that cats adapt nicely to this mode of travel. The bottom line? You know your pet best.
Here are some suggestions for the ASPCA to make traveling easier for all concerned. Bon Voyage!
Car Travel Tips
- Animals should not be allowed to jump around or hang out the window. A strong mesh crate is recommended. It should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down. Line the bottom with old towels.
- Your pet should wear a flat buckled ID collar with its name and your phone number.
- Frequent rest stops should include exercise and water. Always snap on a leash before you open the car door.
- Never leave a pet unattended in a car, especially in hot weather. Car interiors heat up rapidly, and pets are very susceptible to heat prostration. Besides, it's illegal in most places.
- Pack enough pet food and water for the journey and remember a bowl for water.
- If you plan to stay in motels, verify in advance that pets are allowed; policies can change often.
Air Travel Tips
- Have your pet checked by the vet and discuss your travel plans.
- Book a direct flight if at all possible; double check the airlines pet regulations.
- If you're traveling in hot weather or to a hot climate, book a night flight.
- Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate, available in most pet supply stores and from airlines, and line with towels or shredded paper. Get your pet used to the crate prior to departure.
- Write "LIVE ANIMAL" in large letters on top and sides, use arrows to show upright position of the carrier, include name, address, phone, destination on large tag secured to the top.
- Crate must have two dishes for food and water attached to inside. For long trips (over 12 hours) provide extra food in plastic bag attached at top with feeding instructions.
- Feed and offer water to your pet four hours before delivery to the airline.
- Exercise pet before putting into the carrier.
- Make sure crate is securely closed but not locked, so that airline personnel can open in case of emergency.
- Tranquilization is not recommended.