By James D. Kelly
Many of us will be traveling by car or air to celebrate the
Holiday season with family and friends. If you are planning on taking along a
furry friend, some advanced planning will help to make your travels safer, more
enjoyable and fun.
Following are a few tips to make your trips as trouble free as
* If you pet isn't use to traveling, take your pet on short
trips to the store, park or a friends, or even around the block, each time
increasing the travel time.
* Don't let your pet loose in the car, you wouldn't consider
letting a child ride in your car without a seat belt, your pets should be given
the same consideration. You should, at the minimum, provide a crate for your
pet, or even better, fit your dogs with a safety harness attached to the
seatbelt system, such as the Roadie Canine Vehicle Restraint System. We
recommend they ride in the back seat for added security.
* People have been seriously injured, or worse, when animals
have become projectiles during sudden stops or accidents. Also, if they are
loose they may escape and create even more of a traffic hazard for themselves
* Don't wait until the last minute to purchase your carrier or
crate! You should familiarize your pet with his travel carrier early, by leaving
it open with a favorite toy or blanket inside, so that it will think of it as a
" home away from home". If traveling by air, the carrier must comply with strict
airline regulations. Check with the airlines you are considering, for carrier
dimensions that they will allow. Remember, most will quote you the size of a
"hard sided" carrier, so also check on the underseat dimensions, our site lists
most major airline numbers and web sites specific to pet travel.
* If you are flying, remember, for your pet to travel in cabin
(which we highly recommend), it cannot exceed 22 pounds and must be 18 inches or
less in length and 11 inches in height.
* If traveling outside of the country, contact the embassy or
consulate of your destination country at least four to six weeks ahead of time
for papers you will need and any quarantine or health requirements. Also, ask
about any health risks your pet might face at your destination, so you can get
any special vaccinations or parasite control products in plenty of time for your
* Its always a good idea when traveling to carry a current
health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 7 to 10 days from the
date your are planning on traveling, especially if flying. It's also a good idea
to take along a record of vaccinations and veterinarian records. It is even more
important to take records along if you pet has any medication or special needs.
* Make sure you pet has ID-tags, with your home address and
phone number, its also good to have an additional tag with the address and phone
number of you destination, you may also want to include your cell number.
* If carrying your pet in a soft carrier never leave it alone
when closed, they may become panicked and could harm themselves. It's always a
good idea to have an absorbent liner, besides airlines require it! * Take plenty
of your pets' regular brand of pet food. You may want to try new cuisines during
your trip, but it isn't a good idea for your pet!
* You should feed your pet a light meal 5 to 6 hours prior to
departure, Don't give her water within two hours of departure. Also, it's not a
good idea to feed her in a moving car; you may regret it more than your pet!
* Walk him before you leave for the airport and if possible,
before you enter the terminal. If driving, give your pet the chance to relieve
himself every three to four hours, or sooner, especially if he is a puppy or an
older pet. And, remember be a good neighbor, always pick up any "deposits" that
your furry friend may leave!
* If traveling by car make sure you bring along plenty of water,
she may not be use to the water in a different locale, if you are staying for a
long period it is a good idea to slowly mix the two drinking sources.
* If traveling by air, you may want to freeze a small bowl of
water and put it in her carrier, remember, you are not suppose to let your pet
out any time during the flight or in the terminal. * Some final thoughts: Before
you go through all the trouble of taking you pet with you, the first thing to do
is make sure your pet will be welcome when you arrive. We know our pet is the
best there is, but strangers, and even some relatives, or the pets of your
friends or relatives, may not welcome her with open arms!
Your pet may be confused or upset upon reaching your
destination, so one of the first things you should do when you get there is to
make you pet comfortable with its own crate, blanket or toy from home. Also take
along a "Do Not Disturb" sign for your room, so people will know you have a pet
in the room and won't be surprised upon opening the door. RELAX and enjoy your
trip, your pet will sense if you are having a good time and act accordingly.
Some other products you may want to consider to make your
Holiday travels easier.
The Dog-Gone Device, A Backpack your pet can travel in in
comfort while leaving your hands free. Great for shopping, camping or hiking!
A Pet Car Seat or Booster. For added fun and security. A great
place for your pet to ride in the back seat with his harness.
A Pet Tote for our smaller furry friends. Great for keeping your
little friend from underfoot and in full view while visiting friends or a
James D. Kelly is the owner of Travelin' Pets, a web site specializing in
providing information and quality products for traveling pets and their owners.