Summer is officially here! Family vacations are getting underway and, for many people, that includes traveling with their pets. Before you hit the road to or take to the sky, make sure you’ve done proper planning to ensure that the trip is as much fun for your pets as it is for you. These five tips are a good place to start:
1. Follow the rules
If traveling by plane, be sure to abide by all airline rules. That means making sure you have an approved pet carrier. If your pet isn’t used to being in a carrier, take some time to introduce it to him so he has time to get used to the idea of being contained. You’ll also need to make sure you have the proper health certificates or documentation needed for your pet to fly. Some of these can take several weeks, so be sure to work with your veterinarian to complete all needed exams and paperwork in advance of your departure date. If you’re staying in a hotel, be sure you’ve confirmed that pets are welcome guests.
2. Pack appropriately
Make a list of supplies your pet will need so you don’t forget any critical items. This includes food, toys, leashes, poop bags, medication and a water bowl. It’s also a good idea to have a pet first-aid kit and a copy of your pet’s medical records with you.
3. Keep things comfy
Pets like the comfort of home as much as people. Bring your pet’s bedding or other familiar items so he’ll feel at ease in a hotel or other accommodations. If you’re taking a road trip, it’s also a good idea to create a comfortable place in the car where you pet can lie down and relax during the long trip ahead. Pet carriers or harnesses will help keep your pet safe in the car as well.
4. Strategize your stops
Not all places are pet-friendly. It helps to plan ahead so you know what restaurants, parks, etc. allow pets. Remember, it’s not safe to leave pets in the car on hot summer days, so you’ll want to make sure whenever you stop, your pet will be able to get out and stretch his legs, too.
5. Be prepared
No one wants to think about an emergency while on vacation, but it’s best to be ready—just in case. One way you can do this is by identifying a local veterinarian or pet emergency clinic at your destination. This will save you time (and stress) if you need to make an unexpected trip to the vet.
Thinking through the details of travel ahead of time will allow you and your furry friend to focus on having fun during your summer vacations!