Overcast   61.0F  |  Forecast »

Pet Care While You Travel

Got plans to hoof it – and furry friends at home? Here's what to do

If your family has vacation plans – and a pet or two – you know it's crucial to find the best care option for your furry friends before setting sail. Read on for options that can help you make the best decision for your pet.

Bringing them by car

It may or may not be a good idea – depending on where you're going and your pet's temperament. Some are better left at home, especially if they don't do well in unfamiliar places or have medical problems or physical impairments.

There are safety precautions to keep in mind if you take your pet, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). When traveling by car, your pet should always be restrained in the vehicle. If your dog is familiar with using a pet safety harness, use that while traveling. Hard-sided kennels that are well-ventilated are also a good choice.

Dogs seem to love sticking their head out of the car window, but the HSUS says to avoid this because the dog could be injured by flying debris. Never transport pets in the back of a pickup truck. Give your pet frequent potty and exercise breaks and avoid leaving them unattended, as severe temperatures can be deadly.

Other 'take along' scenarios

HSUS recommends pets be transported by air only if absolutely necessary. The Airline Transportation Association estimates that every year, around 5,000 animals are killed, lost or injured on airplanes. To blame? Usually extreme cold or heat in poorly ventilated cargo holds, and kennel damage. If you do fly with your pet, take small ones onboard in a carrier that fits under the seat. Contact your airline carrier for specifics.

Most cruise ships and trains don't accept pets; contact them directly if you're considering this. Most lodging facilities also don't take pets, but some hotels and motels do. Research and reserve in advance. And be sure to take all the necessary supplies and an emergency kit with you.

Boarding options

Many folks opt for boarding, or a pet hotel. Before making arrangements, ask your vet for recommendations. Tour the facility, too. Many pet hotels let log on to their website and see your dog through live video stream, which may set your mind at ease when you're miles away. You may also consider taking the pet there for a day before starting the trip, as a trial run.

Pet sitters

You can either find someone to watch the pet in your home, so your pet has more one-on-one attention, or have a sitter visit, still allowing your pet to stay on familiar turf. A sitter may visit as many times a day or week as you like; some will even stay the night. Other services may include dog walking, tending to litter boxes, giving insulin shots and a variety of other in-home services.

Home alone

For others, especially cat owners, leaving pets home alone is an option. Cats can usually be left for a few days with adequate food and water supply. Fish can be taken care of with an automatic feeder.

Experts note that some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety after a vacation, if they're used to being around their owner frequently. These dogs may display inappropriate behavior when left alone, such as digging, chewing, howling or urinating in the home. Try gradually getting your dog used to being without you by taking him to boarding or dog day care, or leaving him with a friend or relative.

Plan in advance

Whatever option you choose, be sure to talk to your veterinarian and have all vaccinations up to date. The key to a happy family vacation, with or without the pet, is prepping ahead!

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Popcorn Treats for Halloween

Popcorn Treats for Halloween

Get popping with these kooky recipe ideas that are perfect for All Hallows' Eve. Learn how to make a white chocolate popcorn skull, popcorn balls and more!

Popsicle Stick Spider Web Craft with Pompom Spider

Popsicle Stick Spider Web Craft with Pompom Spider

Classic DIY materials are a cinch to transform into a darling Halloween decoration! Have kids get involved with this simple project for October.

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

After a Florida mom petitioned on Change.org for the toy store chain to stop selling the dolls from the AMC TV show, the toy store has agreed.

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Turn a white sock or marshmallows into everyone's favorite goofball from Frozen or gear up for snowy evenings with a constellation lightbox and table runner.

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Keep your kids off the couch this winter and get them active and healthy with these family-friendly fitness tips from the community program director at the Macomb Family YMCA.

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Modern flapper era mamas had plenty of progressive advice. But when it came to baby name tips, it was a mixed bag. (And especially tough for poor Lenora!)

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Slice into sweetness with these kid-friendly ideas – thanks to Betty Crocker, Taste of Home and more – that transform pizza into something oh-so-sweet!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement