Traveling With Your Pet
By Susan M. Ewing
Traveling with a pet can make a great vacation even better, but travel increases the chances that your pet may get away from you and become lost. Make sure that he is wearing a collar with identification tags, and microchip him. The microchip is inserted under the skin, between your pet’s shoulder blades, and contains your contact information. Special scanners at shelters and veterinarians’ offices read the chips.
When traveling with a pet, make sure that he is welcome at your destination. If you’re staying at a campground or state or federal park, find out the rules ahead of time and obtain a record of any required vaccinations. If you’re staying at a hotel, call first to ask about the pet policy. Don’t rely on guidebooks or websites, as these may be out of date. Also ask about any fees for a pet. The fees at some pet-friendly places are anything but friendly.
Carry enough pet food for the entire trip. Your brand may not be available everywhere, or it may not be available in the most convenient size for your travels. It’s a good idea to take water from home, too. If you can’t carry enough for the entire time you’re gone, mix your home water with the local water to help prevent stomach upset.
If your pet is on any medications, pack them too. A first-aid kit is also a good idea. At the very least, take an antiseptic, an antibiotic cream, and some gauze and adhesive tape. An antihistamine in case of bug bites or stings might also be useful.
If you have a dog, don’t forget bags so that you can pick up after your pet. And a few extra towels and a roll of paper towels are always a good idea.
Securing your pet safely can lessen the chance that your pet will get lost. Crating him while in the car keeps him safe, and he won’t be jumping around, possibly obscuring the view or otherwise distracting the driver.
If your dog enjoys taking in the view while in a vehicle, you can also use a harness which attaches to the seat belt, keeping your dog on the seat. One word of warning: Use harnesses in the back seat. A front-seat airbag may seriously injure or kill a pet in the front seat.
For smaller pets who are 12 pounds or under, the a pet stroller might work best for you. The carrier can be detached from the stroller body and used as a soft carrying bag, and it can also fit under an airplane seat. The ventilated design gives your small pet lots of access to fresh air. Small dogs may enjoy the ride too.