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9 Tips For Traveling With Your Pets

Summer is here and that means vacation!  Many families travel with their pets.  If you’re taking your cat or dog on a trip with you, or are traveling with them for another reason, take a look at this checklist of things to do.

Make sure your pet is welcome.  Don’t assume that all hotels will accept pets.  Visit for access to lots of tools for planning a pet friendly trip.

Travel with appropriate restraints. Dogs should be restrained in cars with an appropriate pet seat belt.  Pet belts keep your pet safer in the event of an accident and also prevent your dog from wandering around the interior of the vehicle.  Make sure your dog is wearing a collar or harness with ID tags and double check that the collar is tight enough.  If you can pull the collar over your dog’s head without unbuckling it, it’s too loose.  If you need to get out of the car, attach a leash before you open the door.  Even seasoned traveler dogs can get spooked and bolt.

Cats should always travel in cars in a carrier.  If your trip is a long one, plan ahead for breaks to allow your cat out of his carrier to use the litter box and eat.  As with dogs, make sure the cat is restrained-IN the carrier with the door closed–before opening the car door.

Pack food, water and a water bowl.  For short trips, cats probably don’t need to be fed and are unlikely to want to eat in the vehicle anyway.  Dogs, however, will need to drink water regularly.  Make sure you pack a bowl and bottled water for your canine friend, and enough food for the duration of your vacation.

Don’t forget your doggie bags!  Rest stops have designated dog walking areas, but not all of them provide bags to pick up feces.  Bring your own just in case.

Ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s vaccine history.  Travel with proof of your pet’s vaccinations.  If you are traveling by airplane, check with the airline ahead of time for requirements.  You may need to have your pet examined for a health certificate before you fly.

If your pet has a medical condition, make sure you have the appropriate food and medications.  Pack enough medication or prescription food to last several days past when you expect to return, in case of delays.

Consider sedatives or anti-nausea medications. If travel makes your pet anxious or motion sick, ask your vet about using sedatives or anti-nausea pills.  If you have never used these medicines before, we recommend you do a trial run to make sure you understand how your pet will react to the treatment.

Carry a pet picture. If the worst happens and your pet manages to get away from you, make sure you have a recent photo to distribute.

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