Summer is the most popular time for traveling, whether it's to visit family, go camping on the beach or spend a weekend in the city. Whatever your destination, there's a good chance you can take your pet with you. In order to make sure both you and your pet have a good time on your trip, preparation is key. First, evaluate your pet to see if he's suitable for travel.
Dog or Cat?
Some types of pets are better travelers than others. Dogs are the best when it comes to enjoying new surroundings. Most dogs are easier to train, which means you can teach them how to behave in restaurants, hotels, arboretums, festivals, and special museums that allow dogs.
Cats are less likely to enjoy leaving home, although exceptions exist. Some cats are very social and love to go places. Small animals, such as rabbits and hamsters, however, are best left at home under the care of a pet sitter.
Social or Antisocial?
If you have a dog who loves people and new adventures, he's a good candidate for a trip. Dogs who are shy and fearful may be more comfortable at home. The same goes for cats. Unless you have a super-friendly feline who is used to traveling and doesn't mind being in new places, your cat will probably be happier if you leave him at home.
Vaccinated & Healthy?
Puppies under the age of 17 weeks haven't had all their vaccines yet, so are too young to travel. Exposure to areas where strange dogs have urinated and defecated can be dangerous to young pups because of the risk of disease. At the same time, older dogs who are suffering from arthritis or other health conditions may not be comfortable away from home. The same is true for dogs who are recovering from an illness or injury. Let your dog fully recoup before you expose him to the stress of traveling.
Once you've decided your pet is up for a trip, plan ahead for you and your pet's comfort.
If you're going to be staying in hotels or motels on your trip, be sure the establishment allows pets. If pets are permitted, make a reservation. Don't leave it to chance that you'll find a pet-friendly hotel in the last minute.
Pack the comforts of home.
If you're planning a road trip with your dog or cat, be sure to bring as much of your pet's regular food as you will need, and pack it in a place your pet can't get to it. You don't want to run out of food and have to buy something your pet isn't used to eating because stomach upset will be a likely result. Be sure to pack toys, beds, and any other items your pet is attached to. Having the comforts of home within reach will help your pet feel more relaxed.
The worst thing that can happen when you bring a pet along on a trip is to lose him. Dogs and cats can get out of cars, escape from RVs, and take off when you're not looking. If your pet is wearing a collar with an identification tag, you are much more likely to get him back. Be sure your complete address and cell phone number is on the tag. If your pet doesn't have an identification microchip, have your vet implant one before your trip.