Pack Up and Travel with Your Pet
By Diane Krueger
Although it might not feel like it, the calendar indicates summer is right around the corner; and so are summer vacations. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 37% of pet owners travel with their four-legged companions. This is a 19% increase in the past 10 years, and that number is expected to keep growing. While travelling always involves some sort of stress. Travelling with your pet can increase those stress levels significantly. There are great websites and apps available for those traveling with furry companions that can reduce some of the stress and anxiety by providing users tools to thoroughly research and plan a trip with their pets. Here are just a few of the offerings.
Bringfido.com: This comprehensive site allows users to search hotels, restaurants, activities and services (like animal hospitals, dog walkers and pet supply stores) in their desired destination. Bringfido.com also is available as an app.
Petswelcome.com: This site offers a pet-friendly road trip planner. Simply enter your starting location and your ending destination and the sites generates a list of pet-friendly lodging along the route. The search also lets you customize the intervals of your results, ranging from every 10 to up to 500 miles. The site also offers more detailed pet-friendly vacation guides on popular destinations nationwide, including Door County, the Upper Peninsula, the Grand Canyon and Cape Cod.
Takeyourpet.com: In addition to lodging information, this site offers tips for traveling with pets via car or plane, guides on international pet travel and various pet rules and policies at national parks. The site does charge a fee of $1.99, but it does offer its members exclusive discounts on hotels and car rentals.
Bark Happy: This location-based app allows users to learn about nearby dog-friendly restaurants, hotels and parks; provides lost and found alerts, as well as a list of dog-friendly events taking place in the area.
Pet First Aid: Created by the American Red Cross, this app provides vet-friendly advice for everyday emergencies, symptom checker, steps for administering first aid to your dog or cat and contact information for nearby veterinarians. It’s a handy app to have whether at or away from home.
Tips for Travelling with Your Pet
When planning for a road trip, it’s a good idea to prep your pet in advance. The ASPCA recommends taking your pet on a series of short drivers prior to the maiden voyage; gradually extending the jaunts to get your dog or cat acclimated to spending an extended period of time in the vehicle.
Your pet’s feeding schedule likely will need to be adjusted when travelling. Some veterinarians recommend feeding your pet a small meal 3 to 4 hours before departing as it may prevent the onset of motion sickness. In addition, keep some ginger cookies on hand during the journey. Ginger is safe for cats and dogs and can alleviate motion sickness.
When travelling by air, make sure to thoroughly research your airline’s policies on pet travel. For instance, where do pets travel on the plane, crate requirements, vaccination requirements and what happens in a worse-case scenario. If your pet has to travel in the cargo hold of the airplane, tell airline staff you encounter at the gates and on the plane that you have a pet travelling in the cargo area. If they are aware, they are more likely to be able to assist if any special accommodations need to be made.