According to the American Animal Hospital Association, more than two thirds of pet owners traveled with their pets in 2000.
First, make sure your animal is in good enough health to make it as long car trips maybe to stressful for an older pet. Make sure vaccinations are up to date and you have adequate supplies of any medications or special foods.
Make sure ID tags are up to date including rabies tags, and current addresses and phone numbers.
Check hotels to see if they allow pets, and whether there will be extra charges for pets.
Riding in the car
If your pet is not use to traveling in the car take some practice rides before your vacation. If your pet continues to get nervous, agitated or sick; call. Some medications can help with motion sickness and anxiety.
Feed your pet at the end of the day or after you arrive at your destination. Bring lots of water and a water bowl, and some familiar toys and bedding. Stop every 2 hours for exercise and fresh air.
Buckle your pet up – some states even require that pets be restrained in moving vehicles. Sometimes the best restraint is a pet carrier or flight kennel. You can secure carrier with a seat belt.
Never leave your pet alone in a car during the summer.
Stop by for a health certificate as some states require documentation of vaccinations.
Flying with your pet
Take some time to consider whether your pet will tolerate the flight. Some pets find plane travel very stressful while others are resilient and could complete a trip with ease. Consider health, size and temperament.
No food the morning of the flight; this will make the pet less likely to vomit or need to defecate during the flight.
Water is a must during travel; The cup that comes with the kennel that hooks on the door is adequate. Many times water will spill out, so we recommend freezing water in the container the night before or obtaining ice from one of the fast food restaurants at the airport the day of the trip. Try freezing water in the kennel cup the night before your pet’s trip.
If your pet is small, many airlines now allow you to bring on board as carry on baggage, but remember to call ahead of time for size or weight limitations (crate should be small enough to fit under your seat).
Larger pets are often checked as baggage or use cargo shipping. This can mean that your pet could be exposed to extreme changes in temperature. Again, different airlines have different policies, so call ahead.
Crate size – The airlines request that the pet be able to stand up and turn around comfortably. They also want holes for ventilation on all three “non-door” sides. Be sure your kennel is airline approved.
Most airlines require something absorb-able in the bottom of the crate. We recommend that this be thick and soft, for instance use a blanket or thick towel to give your pet comfort. This will also provide warmth if needed.
No tranquilizers are available to ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other exotics. Tranquilizers are unnecessary for most pets. As they have drawbacks, we only use them for pets that are fractious and could hurt themselves in the crate.
You should have 2 copies of the health certificate; one for yourself and another to tape on top of crate to help hasten your trip through customs.
Leaving your pet at home
If you leave your pet with a friend, write out instructions for care including amount to feed and your veterinarian’s phone number.
If your pet stays at a kennel make sure to book your reservation in advance of major holidays and find out what preventive health measures the kennel requires your pet to have.
Look for a pet-sitter so your pet can stay at home and someone can watch your house while you’re on vacation. Look for personal recommendations and make sure your sitter is insured or bonded.
Take some time off, but when you do, don’t forget to plan your pet’s vacation too!