For many pet owners, going on vacation is rarely the same without their furry friends around. That’s especially true for trips during the holiday season. And believe it or not, having them tag along can even help the trip go more smoothly.
“They are kind of like our security blanket,” North Shore Animal League America senior director of operations Sylvia Ottaka said. “If you get a little nervous about traveling, you have your pet there with you. You’re also not homesick because [they’re] by your side, so it’s always great to have your pet with you if you’re able to take them.”
Thankfully, more and more places are becoming pet friendly making it easy for owners to bring their buddies along for the fun. But, we talked to the experts and found several precautions to consider before planning any trip with a pet.
Visit the Vet
It’s important to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel and up-to-date on vaccinations, as well as flea, tick and heartworm medication. While you’re at the vet, make sure to pick up a copy of your pet’s medical records (it’s usually required when flying). This will be helpful if your pet gets sick on the trip and you need to see a local veterinarian.
Get a Microchip
A microchip is the best form of identification in the devastating case your pet gets lost on the trip. ID tags are also a must but can fall off the collar. It’s not worth the risk!
Do Some Research
“You want to make sure wherever you go is pet friendly; it’s important to research that beforehand,” said Ottaka. “You never want to show up somewhere where your pet is not welcomed.”
Get the Kennel Ready
Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian with more than 20 years of experience, stressed the importance of bringing the right kennel along for traveling. It should be big enough for your pet to stand up and lay down in. It’s also important to get them used to being inside a kennel prior to the trip if they usually don’t spend time in one.
Once at the destination, the kennel can also be the perfect place for “quiet time,” especially for pets that might get overwhelmed by vacation, said Ottaka.
Make Sure Manners Are Intact
Sure, we might let our pets get away with a few naughty things at home, but on vacation this is a no-no. Dr. Osborne said it’s very important for pets to be obedient on the trip, especially when at the hotel.
“A well-mannered pet should wait at doors for your permission to enter and exit so they don’t run other hotel guests down,” she said.