On the Road Again - Travel with Pets

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413052.TIFIf you are planning a trip with your family, and some of that family happens to have fur, a bit of advanced preparation will go a long way toward a trouble-free trip.

First and foremost, allow for extra time when you travel with pets. If you are on a tight time schedule, remember that your fluffy friend cannot be reasoned with as a person — and you will have to concede to their needs at times.

Make sure your pet has a clean bill of health. They should be current on all vaccinations. If your pet is going to be riding on an airplane, check the airline rules for pet travel well in advance of your vacation date. Most require a health certificate dated within 10 days of the travel date. If you are traveling abroad the regulations will vary, but can include the submission of entry permits and a more detailed interstate health permit. If there is an outbreak of disease, some places will require automatic quarantine upon arrival. These variables will take some research on your part, so be sure to cover all of the bases so that you do not have any surprises on the day of your travel.

Your pet should always have identification. An ID tag on their collar with your cell phone number is essential. You will also want to have proof of vaccination and proper licenses. It is a good idea to have a few color photos of your pet with you also, in the unfortunate case they get lost.

If you are driving with your pet remember that many pets die each year from heat exhaustion. If left alone in hot cars for even a short period of time, the results can be fatal. As a general rule, if you leave your car, your pet should also leave the car. If you do need to park, be sure your car is in the shade to help keep the temperature inside cool. Never let your pet jump around or hang out of an open window — it is not safe for you or your pet. If you have a strong, mesh crate large enough for your pet to turn around, stand and lay down, line the bottom with a few towels and keep your pet secured inside for the ride. Remember to make frequent stops for exercise, food and water. If your pet is prone to motion sickness, you can give them one piece of sugar candy (not chocolate) which will help prevent vomiting. Try not to feed your pet for a window of 6 hours prior to your trip. If your pet is not accustomed to riding in a car, start with short increments and gradually increase road time over the course of a few weeks.

There are many road side attractions that welcome leashed pets such as Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo, SD. Take advantage of such attractions to see some interesting sights, and give your pet a chance to stretch their legs, too!
Be sure to call ahead about your lodging plans, as policies on pets can vary greatly. Often, the local Convention and Visitors Bureau will have a list of pet-friendly accommodations. Once there, do not abuse the privilege and be sure to clean up after your pet. Try not to leave your pet for long periods of time, as even the most easy going pet can be easily stressed by different noises, smells and sounds in a strange place.

Keeping these tips in mind will make for an enjoyable trip for both you and your traveling pet. If your pet is overly fussy, you may want to consider arrangements to not bring him along. It is not recommended to travel with reptiles, birds and small animals, as they can be very stressed by changes in their environment.

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