If you thought traveling with kids was hard, just wait until you try to get your dog onto an airplane or into a hotel. The sad truth about traveling with a pet is that the industry doesn’t make a lot of concessions for animals. But you don’t want to resign your beloved companion to several days (or weeks) at the kennel. And you certainly don’t feel comfortable letting a strange caretaker into your home while you’re away. So if you’ve got your heart set on taking the pooch along for the ride, here are just a few tips to ensure that you’re well prepared for any obstacles that might result from the presence of your pet.
1. Food and water. Meeting your pet’s basic life necessities should be at the top of your list when it comes to planning for a trip. Although some pets can eat whatever food is handy, most get used to a regular diet. Switching up your pet’s chow can easily cause an upset stomach that leads to a mess you don’t want to deal with. So take the time to calculate how much food you’ll need to bring (or find out if the food you buy is available at your destination). If you rely on special formula foods, you may have to cave in and haul it along. Also, make sure your pet gets plenty of water during the trip (especially if it’s a long drive). You don’t want him to get dehydrated.
2. Medication. If your pet is on any type of medication, you need to do the same thing for him that you’d do for yourself; make sure you have enough to last for the duration of the trip (and then some). You’re responsible for the health of your animal, so don’t neglect this important duty. Also, you may want to talk to your vet about securing medications that are pertinent to travel, such as anti-nauseants, anti-anxiety medication, or even sleeping pills (if he has to go in the hold of the plane). They could save both you and your pet a lot of heartache throughout the course of your trip.
3. Leashes and carriers. Most cities have leash laws, and you definitely don’t want your dog wandering off while you’re in an unfamiliar place. So make sure that he’s always on a leash while outside. You may also need to bring a crate for travel purposes (and potentially sleeping arrangements) or a carrier, if you have a small breed.
4. Emergency preparedness. In case of emergency, you probably have numbers in your phone that first responders can call to inform loved ones of accident or injury (if you’re incapacitated). But what will happen to your pet in an emergency situation? Just in case he gets lost or injured, you need to make sure that his collar has contact and medical information on it. You might even want to include the number for the vet’s office (or at least make sure the number is in your phone).
5. Call ahead. Whether you’re planning to stay at a high-end resort in Maui, a B&B in the French countryside, or a spectacular villa in Paphos, you need to find out if your furry friend is welcome. So call ahead to make sure that your accommodations are pet-friendly and willing to provide amenities for the smallest member of your party.