(PETS) Many of us are accustomed to seeing dogs driving alongside us with their heads hanging out the window, tongues and tails wagging, but these images are becoming a thing of the past.
Safety concerns are outweighing this popular practice and rightfully so since it can be dangerous for a variety of different reasons. But we can still travel with our pets safely during these excursions while keeping in mind some of these important travel tips.
If you’re traveling for business or leisure and wish to bring along your four-legged best friend, it might be worth considering other options if your pet is less than enthusiastic when it comes to being on-the-go. If you’re hesitant about hiring a pet sitter or considering a kennel as an option, perhaps one of your parents, friends, or other family members could look after your animal while you’re away.
In any event, whenever an occasion takes you away from home and your furry friend becomes your accomplice on an extended adventure, consider a few of these travel tips before you take off:
1) Location, Location, Location
Be sure to do your homework when it comes to your travel destination, whether it’s temporary or long-term. Educate yourself about possible wildlife conflicts and other predicaments including the climate, elevation, terrain, flora and fauna, etc. Any of these could pose potential problems that could adversely affect both you and your beloved pet.
2) Prepare Your Pocketbook
There’s an increasing number of venues that allow pets, from lodging locations to restaurants and rest stops. When it comes to staying and playing with your pet when you’re out and about, be sure to be prepared for some possible added expenses, restrictions, or other potentially unexpected problems.
For example, pet-friendly hotels, motels, and other overnight stops will allow your fur baby to stay with you, but some of them charge an additional fee for your four-legged friends. Some may have size or breed restrictions that could leave your pet out in the cold. Check first before booking to maintain balance in your budget and ensure your travels are devoid of surprises.
3) Plane and Simple
Traveling with an animal on an airline is really complicated and worthy of an entirely different, more lengthy and educational article. But think about this before boarding, let alone booking a flight with your pet. Can they fly in the cabin like a passenger with you instead of being placed in another less-desirable location aboard the airline?
Without going into the whole “service animal” argument, some airlines will allow smaller pets aboard as carry-on luggage inside an approved pet carrier. This could include a specially-designed, soft-fabric pet carrier or a crate that’s small enough to fit safely underneath the seat in front of you. Again, check on all of these rules and restrictions prior to booking.
4) Timing is Everything
Whether you’re flying or driving, arriving at the airport early or leaving prior to your scheduled departure time are both essential and important when cruising around with your critter. Be sure to adjust your pre-departure plans to include potty procedures and proper eating itineraries. Depending on these circumstances, it’s vital your pet isn’t too hungry, and that they’ve done their “business” before boarding or embarking with you on your journey.
5) Last Worthy Mention
For our final heads-up tip, although it probably goes without saying, please have your pet properly checked out by your vet before venturing out. Make sure they’re healthy enough to endure the journey, their shots and vaccinations are up-to-date, and that you have all of their appropriate paperwork on-hand with your other travel essentials.
In conclusion, have fun out there in all your adventures with one of your most favorite traveling partners. Happy trails to you and your pet!
— Amber Kingsley, exclusive to Global Animal
Amber Kingsley is a freelance journalist and member of a pet enthusiast/animal lover group in her city of Santa Monica who has donated countless hours supporting her local shelter within operations and outreach.