Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pack up Your Paws Pt. 1: Planning a vacation with pets

Welcome to summer re-runs! Today, we'll take a look at how to plan a vacation with your pet. This post originally went up on June 29, 2012. We'll be back with fresh new content on Monday - Happy 4th of July!

Vacations are always much more fun with your best friend. Just because your best friend has four legs, doesn’t mean s/he should be left at home. It is becoming more and more popular for pets to tag along on vacations. With just a bit of research and planning ahead, you and your pet can share the vacation memories together.

If you're traveling this week for the 4th of July, remember that more pets are lost on the 4th than any other day during the year. Make plans for your pets to be safely and securely contained, particularly during the firework displays.

Before you travel anywhere, stop in the veterinarian’s office for a general check-up and to obtain a health certificate dated within 10 days of departure. Make sure you bring along vaccination records, your pet’s medical history, and any medication they will need. On your pet’s collar you should include an ID tag with your name and contact information, as well as your vacation destination. Microchipping your pet would also be very wise. You can read our post on microchipping here.

Traveling can be stressful enough for your pet, so crate train before you leave home. Most likely, at some point during your vacation you’ll need to keep your pet in a crate of some sort, whether that is during travel or once you reach your destination. Pet-friendly hotels may require your pet to be crated at night or anytime left alone in the room. Make it comfortable with blankets or towels on the bottom, and some familiarities of home, such as a favorite toy.

Think about your budget. Traveling with a pet will often save you money by foregoing expensive pet boarding and kennel fees, but don’t think it will be cheap. Airlines and hotels won’t accommodate your pet for free; there’s always a pet fee of some sort.

When planning your vacation, make sure all of your activities include your pet as well. What is the point in bringing them along if they’re just going to be left behind anyway? If you find yourself wanting to spend a pet-free day, find a local pet spa/day care, pet hotel/kennel, or some way to keep your pet safe and entertained during the day. If you’re staying at a pet-friendly location they should have information on local pet-friendly activities.

The planning process is when you should also take some time to consider if your pet will benefit from traveling with you. Many pets love heading out on the road, while others can be very stressed from the change (cats in particular). Know your pet and their limits - and if you are confident that everyone will have a good time, go have some fun!

This is the first of our two-part post on traveling with your pets. Stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!

For more information about pet-friendly travel tips and destinations check out these links:

Pet Hotels of America (

Bring Fido (

Dog Friendly (

Pet Vacation Homes (   

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