Sunday, May 27, 2012


Well, summer is almost upon us and a lot of people will be hitting the road, the sea or the air with or without Fido or kitty. This is a huge topic with lots of ground to cover (no joking here) and plenty of thought must go into your decision to travel with your pet or leave your companion behind.

If you have fish, rodents or reptiles you will need to get a family member, trusted friend or a reputable service to come in and care for them until you return.  Always make sure you leave written instructions, plenty of food, name, address and phone number of your regular veterinarian, 24-hour veterinary emergency service and your contact information with the sitter. Do the same for your dog or cat if you decide to keep them at home during your trip. Other options for dogs and cats staying behind are boarding at a kennel, with a pet sitter or a pet hotel.  If your pet has a chronic medical condition, another option is to board at your veterinarian if they offer that service or arrange with your vet for someone to come in to administer medications/treatments.

If you intend to travel with your dog or cat  there are more pet-friendly hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts in the USA than ever before. Now we ask those age-old questions "What do I pack?" and "How do I handle leaving my pet alone in the room?" That's easy if you prepare a check list and stick to it.

  • Food, supplements, medicines
  • Make sure you have access to bottled water to avoid stomach upsets
  • Toys
  • Leashes
  • Accessories (favorite blanket, pet bed)
  • Dog tag with your cell phone number (added to the collar)
  • Recent medical records
  • Address and phone numbers of a veterinarian, groomer, daycare and pet store closest to your vacation spot to use in case of an emergency
  • Give your cell phone number to the front desk in case of an emergency when you're out but your pet is occupying the room
  • Leave the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door at all times to prevent hotel employees from accidently letting your pet escape.

Research airlines thoroughly. I'm not comfortable with putting pets in the cargo hold which is something you have to do if your pet does not fit in a carrier under a seat. Pick your airline based on your research and the needs of you and your pet.  Try to keep travel time to a minimum; use direct flights. There are pet airlines on the internet. I've never used any of them but if this is something that appeals to you verses a traditional airline, by all means do your homework and check them out.

A little bit of extra legwork will guarantee you, your pet and the entire family will have a wonderful summer vacation.

To identify pet-friendly accommodations, check the following websites:

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