Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 21, 2011

Tips for traveling with your pet

What you should know before bringing animals on vacation

Gillian Nicol
CNHI News Service

— Navigating planes, trains and automobiles with your furry family members may complicate your travel plans this summer. If you don’t want to leave Fluffy and Fido at home with the pet sitter, be prepared with these tips for travel.

Come Fly with Me. When traveling by air with your pet, be sure to check first with your airline for their specific requirements. Most airlines have a minimum age requirement of 8 weeks old in order to fly, as well as a limit of one kennel per passenger. Many also require a health certificate issued by a state certified veterinary clinic, guaranteeing that your pet is in good health and up to date on all vaccinations. Experts suggest feeding your dog and providing water four hours before the flight. Although service dogs fly for free, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of your dog flying with you can range from $40 to $60.

Road Trip.  Although many dogs and cats travel well in the car, it is important to keep them safe while doing so. A loose pet is more likely to escape once the car door is opened or to be injured in the case of an accident. Special harnesses will keep your dog buckled in, and cat carriers can also be secured to the backseat. If your cat or dog is prone to motion sickness, your veterinarian can recommend travel-sickness pills or a sedative to ease any discomfort. It is also important to remember how quickly the temperature can rise in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. Being left for even a limited amount of time can be detrimental to the health of your pet and can result in heatstroke or death.

Bus or Train? If car or air travel is not for you, you may want to reconsider bringing your furry friend with you on vacation. While some local transportation businesses and authorities allow pets, Amtrak and Greyhound buses do not, limiting your options for traveling with your pet.

Home Away From Home.  If you’re looking for a pet-friendly destination, many hotels now provide animal friendly options. Check with your individual hotel or on websites that provide information on pet-friendly lodging, like petswelcome.com. Also, be prepared to pay an additional fee to keep Spot in your room at night.

ID Is Key. If you’ve made the decision to hit the road with your pet, be sure that they have the proper identification in the event that they become lost. In addition to their regular collar and ID tag, it is smart to include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. These precautions, as well as insuring that your pet is microchipped, will help reunite you with your pet.

Information from weather.com, petswelcome.com, aspca.com and travelchannel.com.