Tips for traveling
with your pet
when the living is easy and families go on vacation. And for many people, family
includes their pets.
While having your entire family, four-legged ones
included, along can make a vacation more enjoyable, it also is likely
to run up your holiday costs.
costs for your pet begin before your trip even starts. Take your animal to the
veterinarian pre-departure. Your vet can make sure your pet is up to travel or
whether a tranquilizer is a good idea to make Felix or Fido more comfortable.
Your vet also can let you know if special medications
are required. For example, if you live in an area without heartworm
or Lyme disease, but you plan to visit a region where these diseases
are prevalent, you'll want to put your pet on preventative medicine.
And if your pet is already on special medications, you'll want to
pick up enough for the trip's duration.
addition, if your pet is traveling with you by car to Canada or Mexico or is flying
anywhere by plane, you'll need proof of vaccinations, including rabies. (Trips
abroad require a whole different set of considerations, primary among them the
potentially long quarantine periods required by some countries.)
Once your pet has been cleared to accompany you on vacation,
it's time to look at how you plan to travel and what that means to your animal.
high gasoline prices, road trips are still a favored way for many families to
vacation. Dogs tend to have the most fun out on the road, but a cat who's used
to a car also can be a fine automobile traveling companion.
general, your pet needs to be restrained while in the vehicle. Sure, dogs love
to stick their heads out windows, but debris can fly into their mouths, eyes and
ears, so it's best to keep the animal fully inside the auto. Once inside the vehicle,
a pet needs to be secured or the animal can become a projectile in the event of
an accident, presenting a danger not only to the pet but also to human passengers.
Some states, according to American Animal Hospital Association, have enacted laws
that require pets to be restrained while in a moving vehicle.
best way to restrain your pet is to have it ride in a crate, one that's large
enough for your pet to stand, turn and lie down. Make sure it has a leak-proof
bottom covered with absorbent material, as well as ventilation on opposing sides.
Once in the auto, securely fasten the container so that it won't slide around
if you hit the brakes hard. If you don't have a carrying crate, your first pre-vacation
stop is the pet store to buy an appropriate one.
If your pet
is a seasoned auto traveler, you might be able to go with a harness instead of
a crate. Pet stores sell various harnesses that can be used in conjunction with
your car's seats. Some extend seat belts; others are separate restraints that
work like seat belts.
Be sure to bring your pet's favorite toy and bedding
to help him feel at home on the road. Your pet's other "luggage"
should include enough food for the trip, a jug of water, a picture
of your pet or other form of identification (tags, tattoo, microchip),
a sturdy leash or harness and collar and plenty of pick-up bags
so you can clean up after your pet relieves himself. Don't forget
towels for quick mop-ups if your animal gets muddy or wet, and some
sheets to cover beds in motels; these will remind your dog of home
and will protect motel furniture.
Fido or Felix
If you're planning to fly, check with your airline about
its pet travel policies before you buy your tickets. Each carrier has its own
rules, but in general most charge less for smaller pets that can ride in a carrier
that fits under your airline seat.
It will cost you more if you have to ship your
large animal as cargo. The exact price for cargo shipping depends
on how large your dog is. The owner of one large breed dog, for
example, shelled out $600 to fly the pet, one way, from Pittsburgh