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The Best Tips for Traveling with Pets

 

For many people, pets are just as important as family members and enjoy the same luxuries, such as vacations and holidays. Animals require a different set of responsibilities, however, and it’s important to remember when traveling with them that they have needs outside of what you might have in mind. For instance, dogs can overheat on hot days just like humans, but the best ways to help them cool down differ a bit from what you might do for a person. Because they can’t let us know how they’re feeling, it’s important to watch for warning signs that they’re tired or too hot and be prepared to help them feel better.

It’s important, too, to remember that pets are much like children in that you’ll need to be
responsible for their behavior and keep them out of trouble. This can be tricky when you’re away from home, so planning well before you leave will be helpful.

Here are some of the best ways to keep your pet happy when traveling.

Stay cool

If you’re one of the lucky individuals who travels to a warmer climate during the holidays, keep in mind that your pet may be confused about the temperature change. Their bodies may show it before their actions do, so watch for warning signs of hyper and hypothermia. If they are tiring easily, shaking, vomiting, panting rapidly, have a bright red tongue or thick saliva, or are having diarrhea, take action immediately. Swimming for long periods of time in the ocean can tire out little bodies and can leave them cold, even on a warm day, so have them rest out of the water and wrap them up in a towel. If you suspect heat stroke, move your pet to a cool or shady place and apply cool water to their entire body to lower their temperature. Offer them a small amount of 
cool water to drink. If they are physically ill, get them to the nearest vet.

Flying

Planning is absolutely necessary before any trip with a pet, but flying is a different beast altogether. It’s important to take your pet for a checkup beforehand and ask the vet about whether flying is advisable. If your animal has a good temperament and is in good health, flying should be fine. You’ll still need to check with the airline to see about breed restrictions and rules about where they can stay during the flight, however. If possible, fly during non-peak hours to reduce the amount of fellow passengers and potential stress if your pet will be in the cabin with you. Arrive early at the airport and bring along any documentation you might need concerning your pet. Trim your animal’s nails before the trip and make sure their collar ID is up to date. Have a photo of your pet handy on your phone in case you get separated, and refrain from feeding the animal for a few hours before takeoff in case they have a nervous stomach.  For much more information on Flying with Pets, please see our collection of helpful articles here.

In the car

Long car trips can be hard for pets, especially if they have to be crated. Make sure they get plenty of exercise just before you hit the road so they can burn off excess energy. According to Cesar Milan, it’s important not to let sadness creep into your voice when placing the dog in the crate; open the door and let him climb in when he’s ready rather than forcing him, and keep your voice and energy happy. “When he’s inside and comfortable, you can close the door. Walk away with good energy and body language. If you affect a sad voice and say things like “Don’t be sad. Mommy and Daddy will be back soon,” your dog is going to think something’s wrong and get anxious,” Milan writes.  For more helpful articles on traveling in the car with your pet, please check out these additional articles.

Pet Sitter
Sometimes it’s just better to travel without your pet. You can always get a sitter if necessary, but traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. With some planning and thoughtfulness, you’ll be able to take a trip with your beloved animal with little to no fuss.

 Written by Jessica Brody

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